Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Dead Birds, One Lump of Coal......

     I appreciate bumper stickers.  They are a tiny bit of entertainment during an otherwise frustrating ritual that is morning and afternoon traffic.  I saw one this week on a Dodge Ram truck that was outfitted with some nice offroad tires and a lift kit that read: "My footprint is bigger than yours".  Typically in these situations I go for the obvious sarcasm's, like "he must wear a size 14 shoe to put that kind of sticker on his truck"...but I'm sliding past that and acknowledging the jab he was throwing at the environmentally concerned of Denver.  Right off the bat I was upset....because he was probably right!  I bet his footprint is bigger!  I'm a competitive guy, and deep down that got me thinking...how big is my footprint?  For added mental complexity--for me--I had at the time been mulling over my legacy....what about me stands out? What will people remember me for? What have I accomplished so far?  And it gelled in my mind....I will beat this guy.  I will increase my footprint to an incredible level, one possibly visible from space.  I win and I create a legacy, really accomplish something of merit.
     This sounds easier than I think it will actually be.  How inefficiently can I live on a day to day basis to ensure that I amass more carbon emissions than everyone that surrounds me?  Well, for starters, I'm typing this naked because I've turned the heat up in my house to 106°.  Sounds hot, but it's really just comfortable because I've opened half my house windows since it's snowing and chilly outside...you should see the steam rising off the roof, it's crazy!  Nothing like a warm, crackling gas fire place raging in the middle of the day too...boy it feels like the holidays!  Speaking of that...Christmas lights.  These babies are never getting turned off...in fact, I need more--Clark Griswold, show me your way!  Once they're all up, they're staying up all year...it'll look like a fancy Mexican restaurant in Texas around here!   I've already got every light on in here, and right about now I'm regretting the switch we made to those "high efficiency" mercury poisoning inducing lights....too efficienct, totally against the grain here, just bad timing.  But there's more than just keeping the meter spinning (I'm proud of myself, I stopped typing for a while and came back again just now--and left the computer on!).
     Vehicles...I think I'll need to keep them running 24/7, which is really a win/win since it's 19° outside.  Nothing better than getting into a warm car when it's freezing out.  I think I'll fire up the generator and lawn mower while I'm at it and just let them idle....with the garage door open of course...I'm not reckless.
     I have to think of this as a year round venture, so there is the classic juxtaposition--A/C units--contributing (allegedly) to global warming while cooling it at the same time.   I think this summer I'll buy as many window units as I can fit in my truck.  Then I'll plug them all in and fire them up in the backyard....so I'm ensuring a huge footprint while ironically cooling the atmosphere just enough to offset the potential "damage"...my own carbon credit of sorts.  I'm not sure how this is all going to be documented or shared with the world, but my legacy will live on through my kids at a minimum--and not just genetically.  I can see it now, everyone sitting around talking about dear old dad someday....."Remember what he did to the house?  What a freak, I never slept in that stupid house, too many lights on....but I did enjoy the soothing buzz of air conditioning units going non-stop just outside our bedroom window."  "Want to decorate for Christmas this year?"...."No."
     Ah, to be remembered.  The harder part is going to be finding that dude in the Dodge to rub it in his face....but then again, I might not want to....especially if all he meant was that he had huge feet, which also relates to a huge fist.  I'm competitive, but I'm not good at confrontation.   Man, I didn't think of that.  I need to rethink this whole thing.  It's hot in here....um, forget I said anything.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tebow or not Tebow....that's...a dumb question.

A dumb question yes, but I bet it's the first blog of mine you've bothered to click on......the dude is that big.  He's a polarizing, compelling stud....love to hate him, or hate that you love him, either way you probably have an opinion.  That fact alone is interesting since no one really knows the guy...we don't have 15 years worth of NFL seasons to see, and there's not that much out there from college unless you're a sports nut or from Florida.  We know he wore eye black with bible verses on it in college...and they told him not to do that....which is silly and sad.  We know he's an outspoken Christian and extremely competitive.....which is a combination that I'm sure scares a lot of people in this country under the age of 50...which is also sad, and silly. 
Here is a guy who won the Hiesmann, National Championships, and was then a top draft pick into a backup situation....third in line in fact.  He's been told his whole career he wasn't NFL material, but his frame and prowess served him well at the college level.  And yet....
He's been generating headlines all year and of late things have gotten pretty interesting.  He's had articles lately promoting him for MVP, his stats have been broken down to show his "yards per touch" as being in the top 4 or 5 in the NFL.  And there's that whole "Broncos Win Streak" thing....from 1-5 and the cellar to 7-5 and first place.  Today "The Onion" had a headline story that joked that his story has inspired more teams to start bad quarterbacks...to paraphrase.  
The thing I wonder about while I look at Tebow's story develop is, why do people take such an issue with him?  The only people that have a legitimate concern or a say in his ability as a quarterback are the folks paying his salary, and they seem like they've had the least to say--other than they're going to ride this train until it stops.  I don't understand someone who, like me, works in a completely unrelated profession and has the kinds of things to say about Tebow's skill set or personal life.  The silly thing when you read the stories or overhear the water cooler conversations, is opinions are just being recylcled everywhere without any new revelations....he's just plain offensive to some and the best thing since sliced bread to others.....it's clearly political.  It's political, it's emotional, and it rubs up against peoples core because he's the biggest name in a long time that's forcing people to accept that good guys still exist...that somebody out there really is better than most of us....and that you can have it all and not be a jerk to get it. 
Some of my friends will appreciate this question based on conversations we've had....but try to answer it honestly--what is so offensive about a white, male, outspoken Christian?  Now tell me he's not popping up in the news because of personal or political views....
There are probably 5 people that care about his footwork in the pocket, legitimately.  There are probably as many that stay up late analyzing his arm motion during the pressure of a two-minute drill.  But there are lot more that care about him unashamedly bowing for a quick prayer....Tebowing--a national phenomanon.  Picking on someone for praying in public--wow America, way to represent.   An irony in this country, especially with younger generations, is that everyone wants to be an "individual" but systematically accepted, wants everyone to accept everyone else, but are completely offended when other's actually express something they've accepted for themselves....especially if it isn't the same thing that they themselves believe...which in the end kills true individualism....sad and silly.
There are those, however, that just don't care about any of this....don't care about football, don't care about Tim Tebow.  That's just fine, a nice little spark of individuality there, keep it up.   Not me though, I'm a fan.  Football is a great game, another great American gift to the world.  Frankly, so is Tim Tebow.  No pressure Tim, but it's more important that you "hold the line" off the field than on.  You've stepped into an arena few have walked into and succeeded and for all that is good, I hope you never falter.  Winning games is great, but winning in life is better, and we need some success stories.  So keep it up Tim, the kids are watching, the media is leering and waiting, and everyone else is talking. 
Hmm, I guess I answered my dumb question for myself at least......I say Tebow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy This.....

So, to beat a dead horse, I thought I'd throw out a little social commentary on the "occupy where ever" movement...if you can call it a movement (frankly I think it's a politically charged extension of camping season and a good excuse to have "craft time" with fellow hipsters making signs and urban wigwams and wikiups).  Hey, their getting traction though, got to hand it to them....and if you can't beat em, join em...of course if that were true, the cops all over the country would be trading badges for tie died uni's and we'd have no control over anything anymore...so beat away I guess.  Just kidding you baby.
I'm not opposed to anyone's right to protest, in fact, it's just another snapshot of what makes this country so great, and it is great despite the problems that exist that apparently charged up these groups of seemingly disgruntled citizens--at least I think they're all citizens.  I don't think they're checking voter ID's to protest yet.
The thing that has me a tad irked about the whole "lets ruin our city parks and social spaces and hollar 'they made me do it!' thing", is that I have no idea what they are all protesting...what is the agenda and the goal with it all?  I wonder what changes besides increased polarity, beafed up arrest records, rapes, fights, general mayhem, etc.?  This is movement? 
It reminds me of baseball...when I played in high school we had a coach that almost took pride in running out to argue a play with an umpire.  Granted, there are times I think you can get something out of that ridiculous display of belly bumping and hat flipping--namely if the ump is notoriously bias, blind, or you need to fire up your boys.  However, it has to be accepted before hand that you, ultimately, are not going to win this fight.  I can count on my hand the number of times an umpire has changed his call....actually I could count that on a hand with no fingers at all, because it's never happened...not once.   When I was coaching, I never argued with an umpire (you can flash looks and yell some things), not on the field of play--for a couple reasons.  1.  It looks ridiculous.  2.  He's not changing the call.  3.  It just puts them on the defensive and will probably work against you moving forward in the game.  4.  Bad example for the team--who looks like they are out of control in that situation?  Who needs to be "in charge"?  I think you forfiet some of that when you whine.
I didn't allow kids to argue either, they look even worse.  Until you can take charge of your own situation, you're never going to present much of a case to whoever it is you want to argue with. 
I don't mean to throw the baseball analogy out there to beat down the protesters and say that they are fighting a losing battle and it's a waste of time and that they look ridiculous and that they are embarrassing themselves with their tactics and lack of a gameplan, but......
Maybe the news is to blame since I'm just not seeing anything about the movements "mission statement" or goals, and certainly nothing about legit accomplishments--all we hear about it the fueding and destruction of morals and public property--maybe we need better coverage?  I don't know, but it's a mess they need to clean up if they hope to garner anything positive from it.   As far as I can see so far, it's just a chubby pitching coach looking for a fight until the Legion hall opens for happy hour. 
 

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm taking it to the next level....

So, I finally jumped in with both feet.  I'm fully committed to making this thing work and I'm ready to show the world.   Let me back up just a minute to clarify....
I've written previously about the things people do to their cars, the stickers they paste everywhere to show who they voted for or what kind of a mood they tend to be in, or, and I like these, the ones that tell you "if you're close enough to read this....".
I'm okay with all of it, it's your car, your life, and if you don't care that much about resale or that it was a rental and you paid the insurance deposit anyway, so why not...but I've discovered something I had never imagined I would do as well.
Stick people.
Daddy stick man, Mommy stick woman, and little kiddo stick people--one in a stick stroller...which, I guess couldn't really be illustrated in much more detail than sticks anyway, so I guess it's legit as is.
Stick people stickers are as ubiquitous as hybrids anymore, like bumper weeds....they spread like wildfire. 
I had an idea that it would be really fun to come up with my own line of stick people stickers....the white trash version....Chubby stick dad in a stick recliner w/ empty beer cans, raggity looking stick mom, prego, frazzled hair, stick baby on her hip....
I think they'd sell...maybe not in the right parts of the country, but then again, they wouldn't stick to the rust there anyway.
But, let me circle back to the point.....commitment.  These stickers, I think, are better than wedding rings...is there a more clear cut message about your status than driving around with a little advertisment about your family structure?  So, I did it.  My Yukon now proudly displays little stick respresentations of the Poppenhagen clan....I am fully committed.  No one will be pulling up next to me saying, "hey, wonder what the story is with that dashing gent in the driver seat?"  They'll know....he's mortgaged, tired, overworked, and lives for 18 holes on the weekend because it's "daddy time". 
I think I might have to kick off another line of stickers for young singles.....but my trial runs at putting six pack abs or high heel shoes and huge hoop earrings on stick people just look funny.   I have a lot of other ideas, but I'm not going to tell just yet....I'm doing market research, trying to take care of that mortgage you know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The complexities of masculinity and going gluten free.

Hi blog, it's been a while....Megan's commitment to the blogosphere has inspired me again...that and the voices in my head. 
So I've got a legitimate question for everyone...do girls still want boys to open the door for them? To stand up when they leave the table?  Should boys be so comfortable playing Barbies and growing up to enjoy a nice pedicure...not that those are necessarily linked, but...
I'm just confused about the new masculinity, how to raise boys to be boys in an era where gender lines aren't so clear cut anymore.  Understand, I'm not bashing anything here, I'm legitimately confused by the new expectations the world puts on boys now.  What belongs to "boys" and what belongs to "girls"? 
Bottom line for me as a parent of two boys, is that I don't want the world to raise them, but they do have to function in it, and it's a wierd place anymore.  I'm not going to pump the ways of the 50's or anything, that's not my goal at all....we're still struggling with things that should be easy to figure out, like EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK....how hard is that? 
I guess I'm just in a weird place...I'm not the bread winner...Kelli has always made more money, so that whole gender stereotype is out the window here...but I don't want to raise boys thinking they should "marry up" like their ol' dad did :)....but if you can....
It's just wierd the images you see portrayed of guys on TV or in ads or anywhere....we're always the bad guy, or the dumb oaf, or something....it's not okay to be dominate, aggressive, successful in popular media unless your a girl...then you're just awesome like Mia Hamm beating up on Michael Jordon (yeah right..still think that commercial was ridiculous).  Heard a quote...."If you belittle a woman, you have a fight and potential lawsuit on your hands....if you belittle a man, you have a Hallmark card in the making".    
What's the point?  I don't know, don't really have one, just want to make sure I raise my boys to be the best  boys ever I guess?  Parents have to think about everything before their kids get to point to where they need something, then your just ready for it...right?  Are we ever ready for it?  
As far as I go, I'm hoping it's not un-masculine to be on a "gluten free" diet, feel like less of a man..."want some pizza?"  "No, sorry, can't handle gluten"  Death by wheat...ridiculous.  I'd hate for my boys to think ol' dads got a weak gut, so I'm hoping an increase in energy and few trips to the camode will offset any feeling of loss from not pushing for more fried foods on the weekends.  
Eh, I guess it'll all work out if I just hang out with them, teach them stuff, tell them we're proud of them, that we love them....they're smart right?   I hope for their sake, that when they're my age....they can still eat pizza when they want, that's a big win right there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pirates, Peanut Butter Cookies, and Jesus.

Oil is over $100/bbl again, the Middle East is in turmoil, everyone in Africa is revolting, somolian (they don't deserve capital letters) pirates are kidnapping and killing anyone within 300 miles of "the horn", New Zealand is getting rocked by 7.0 earthquakes.  Gold is over $1400/oz., gas prices are heading over $3/gallon again, and the market keeps on a tumblin'...down a few hundy in the last couple days. 

All that going on, and the fact that there's a Starbucks by my office keeps me feeling safe and secure.  Not that I have one everyday, but it's nice to know it's there, like a security blanket on a dark, cold night.  Even better than having just a Starbucks, there is a joint called the "Santa Fe Cookie Company"....just throw a dollar in the bucket and leave with hot and fresh muffins or cupcakes or 3 cookies of assorted types....brilliant.

I think, if Jesus was physically walking the earth today, and we were hangin' in Denver, (you know how when people are asked, "name 3 people from history you'd like to meet" they always say Einstien and Jesus?), he'd pop into Starbucks and the Cookie company too, probably get their peanut butter cookies....and then I'd know for sure I was safe and sound.  As is, I'm sippin' a coffee, eating a cookie, reading the news and thinking....He's not here yet, but He might be booking a trip on Expedia pretty soon, and I'd like to be ready.  I hope He hits Africa first, that place is a mess....I guess it's true, once you leave home, it's never really the same when you come back.  I can see him cruising around thinking, "Wow, this place has gone down hill fast!  Why wasn't anyone calling me about this?"  Of course, he could say that about a good chunk of humanity, but to list calamity by country would take years. 

...and thus my point....God Bless the midwest....we're remote and still converse with God.  Also, no water for pirates...just coffee.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Bumper stickers!"

I think that sounds like a good substitute curse word, "BUMPER STICKERS!!"
Wow, one sentence in and already a tangent.....I saw a bumper sticker a few days ago that stuck in my head..."Annoy a liberal--work, succeed, be happy."
I thought, now there's a blog topic that would fire everyone up on some level...so I think I want to avoid that, I'm not good at confrontation.  I'm not even sure if the three things mentioned on the sticker are mutually inclusive of each other.  I think I know more people that are unhappy because they're working all the time to "succeed".  Oh well, it was funny. 
Then I tried to think, what would the antithesis of that sticker be?  "Annoy a conservative....".
I'll let you come up your own endings, everything I thought of annoyed me.  
The larger question to me was,  "What is success really?"...no, that wasn't it...the larger question to me was...."What kind of person feels the need to put stickers on the back of their car that explicity express their political leanings? "   Then I thought, probably just about everyone, since nothings really personal anymore anyway.   From rainbows to "W" to the Bob Marley Obama posters....we're all little driving billboards.  I'm guilty of it too, but mine are school stickers for the University of Wyoming or the little oval with AK in it.  I think maybe the UW stickers might elicit more pity than anything if they pay any attention to college football. 
I think it's funny the way we've all evolved.  We're a lot more comfortable throwing personal information around these days...facebook, blogs, myspace, linkedin, webcams in our houses.  In fact, I think you might be perceived as a little prudish if you're not at least facebooking, like you're holing up in a tech free cave or something.  
I remember when we weren't supposed to talk to strangers, now we're online constantly with millions we'll never see in person, but they can see what we did for summer vacation and how good we look (or don't look) in our swimsuits.
The only things missing on our facebook profiles are "annual family income" and "blood type"....I'm pretty sure they know I'm a donor somehow. 
And that reminds me....what is "success" really?  Probably making enough money to afford a car?  If so, put all the stickers you want on it....you've earned it.