Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Internet Questions With A Social Media Savy Person

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Adam: What is your name and what do you do (Professionally)
Austen Hawthorne. I am a Patient Account Representative at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Emergency Room. My duties include: collecting demographics from patients, financially securing emergency room visits, and various clerical responsibilities.

Adam: How many hours a day do you spend online?
Including both personal and work use, I estimate that I spend around eight hours per work shift and an additional six hours for personal use. That includes cell phone data usage when I am away from work and home.

Friday, December 30, 2011

10 Internet Questions With Someone That Has Cancelled Their Social Media

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      Adam: What is your name and what do you do (Professionally)?
      
Cree Potorff. I run a Personal Assistant business, Creber Associates.

Adam: How many hours a day do you spend online?One or two hours a day online, including my phone, mostly on email.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

10 Internet Questions With An Internet Entrepreneur

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Adam: What is your name and what do you do (Professionally)
Ben Anderson. My official job title is Director of Data Services for CampusTelevideo.  My primary duties are in leading the data division for CampusTelevideo.  In addition, I travel to colleges and universities and asses the school's need for data services (wireless in the residence halls, faster internet connections, better infrastructure, etc)

Adam: How many hours a day do you spend online?
Nearly everything I do for my job is online.  I'm usually online the majority of the work day (8 hours) plus 2-3 hours online personally.  At most I would say 10-11 hours per day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

10 Internet Questions with A Facebook Fanatic

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Adam: What is your name and what do you do (Professionally)?
 Cindy Clark Hudson. I am a secretary at an insurance company.  I've worked there for almost 15 years, so I am pretty effecient at the work tasks.  Also, stuck at the desk all day, with internet :)

Adam: How many hours a day are you online?
Cashier to calculate how many hours I am not.  I have an android, so I am connected almost always.  I do sleep though, and haven't figured out how to plug in while unconscious.  Although, I do keep my laptop open by my bed, so I've been known to check in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

10 Internet Questions With A Librarian

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Adam: What is your name and what do you do (Professionally)
Erica Earp. I do a lot of things. I teach a class for the public on how to use a computer, I answer questions at the reference desk (occasionally they're actual reference questions and not just "where's the bathroom?"), I run a group for adult writers twice a month, I fill in when needed at the county's law library, I managed a project getting a computer dedicated to web cam usage at my library, right now I'm working on a project coordinating book club kits (copies of a book plus some background material, discussion questions, similar books, etc, in a bag that book clubs can check out). Also, tonight I got to call the police because we had a person trespassing on library property!

Adam :
How many hours a day do you spend online?
I sit in front of a computer pretty much all day at work, so I would estimate that I spend about 10 hours online each day (including using my phone at home).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Nicole's Response

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Adam
            Thank you for such a kind letter. I might be good at writing thank you cards, but I find it quite admirable to dedicate a whole month to thanks. I remember that basketball game that you and Leigha came to. Now look at you and Leigha with two children, a house and a dog. You are living the “American Dream”, as some like to say. I wish we lived in Iowa so that we could all see each other more often. Be thankful that you live in Iowa where you can see family all the time. You and Leigha have a love for one another I always dreamt I could have. Luckily, I found that love and hope to raise a family as beautifully as you and Leigha are. I hope you are able to come out to Florida soon.
Love,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Vincent's Response

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Hi, Adam,

hope you are well! Thank you so much for your letter!!! I really didn't know what to say, I just loved reading it over and over again. It is actually a really good idea to send the people you love such letter. If time allows, I will do so also.
I may add that also you are a big contribution to my life, as when I was over in `93/´94, I, for the first time, felt something like a family and only after a short while you were not some stranger to me but a real brother.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Panhandle

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            A panhandler is defined as somebody that begs in a public space. This may come as a surprise, but people aren’t too fond of panhandlers. What people may not know is that there is a long-standing connection between religion and begging. In a much nicer sounding synonym, alms are given to others as a religious virtue. Nuns and monks have been living off of alms for centuries. In fact, this is how Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism lived.
            For seven years I was the Store Manager of a Blockbuster Video that sat at a busy intersection that was frequented by panhandlers. I had worked there long enough to be able to identify the regulars. During the summer I would let Mike and John come in and get a drink from our water fountain. They were always respectful, thankful and usually drunk. One day I walked outside to give them some expired chips that we were supposed to throw away. I found out that Mike was a true hobo. He travelled around the country by hopping on trains and hitchhiking. But John, on the other hand, owned a house larger than mine.  As it turns out, John was fired from his previous job. Directly in front of where he started to panhandle. He told me that because he didn’t have any taxes taken from him, he made more money on the corner.
            “AND…” he said as he turned to stare down the building of his old job, “I can drink while doing this.” Needless to say, I no longer gave him handouts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Driving Range

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I have always thought of golf as a sport of riches. In fact, golf is the world’s richest sport. The winner of the FedEx Cup wins a cool ten million dollars. That is the highest individual payout for any sporting event in the world. To reach this point, a golfer must end the regular season ranked within the top 150 players. In 2011, Bob Estes was the lowest seeded player in the tournament. He ended the season earning $594,000. Needless to say, if you make the FedEx Cup, you are the rich getting richer.
There are a lot of costs associated with playing golf. There are the clubs, the balls, and the cost of either becoming a member of a course or just paying to play. And let’s not forget the cost to buy silly checkered, plaid and striped clothes that can only be worn while playing golf. There is one problem; I am cheap. Because I have always associated golf with wealth, I have never associated myself with the sport.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Build a Model Car

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         When I was seven years old, my daycare decided to have a Secret Santa gift exchange. When it was my turn to open my gift, BJ Stoltze got really excited and started to hop on one foot.
            “You’re gonna like it,” he told me, eliminating the “secret” element. I pulled the wrapping away from the present and revealed a red plastic garage with two toy cars inside. This was surely not a Thundercat, He-man nor Transformer. “Pretty cool,” he told me. I felt like crying.
Model cars first appeared in the early 1900s as plaster or iron toys. They were designed for children and had no moving parts. In the ‘30s, popularity with the cars was at a fever pitch with military vehicle replicas. Then car companies started to build scale models that showcased their new product lines. In the 40s, banks started to give away model cars when somebody opened a new account. On the bottom, many read: “To help save for a rainy day, or to buy a new Chevrolet.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks Recap

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The idea of having a month of thanks came to me one day when Leigha and I got a thank you letter from her sister, Nicole. I’ve always been impressed that she writes these cards/letters/notes. I think of this as something that people did fifty years ago, before the onset of the internet. It made me start to wonder why people, in general, don’t write them anymore. The only thing that I could come up with was that technology has made it easy to de-personalize. Why take the time to hand-write a letter when you can just e-mail it? Or even more, text it to them. So I decided that I should take a month where I write a letter a day. With Thanksgiving being in November, it made sense to do it then.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:Tate (Son)

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Dear Tate,

            As I write this letter, I am lying in your bed. I am here because you decided to sleep on the living room floor for no reason at all. I love that, and I hope that I never discourage you from being spontaneous and random. You remind me so much of myself that I get worried sometimes. You are energetic, caring, compassionate, sensitive, funny, competitive, excitable and such a good kid. You are just like your old man.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:Meghan

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Dear Meghan,
            Do you ever find yourself sitting at work and think to yourself, “I miss parking”? Me too. The more I think about it, the more that I’m amazed about that job. What a perfect job for a college student. You sit in a box and study, listen to music or watch movies. All the while making money hand over fist. Plus, the longer we worked there, the more we got paid to do less.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:April (First Girlfriend)

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Dear April,
            You were the first person to take a chance and date me. We had just graduated high school and I had neither a job nor a driver’s license. I wasn’t accepted into the sole University that I had applied. I was preparing to go to a community college while staying at home with my parents. Who know why things didn’t work out with us as a long distance couple as you went to the University of Nebraska?

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: A Response

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Adam,
            So, one day I was talking on the phone to Corey while he was on his way to work. I asked him the usual “what did you do today” questions and he said “I got a letter from Adam today. When you get home, you should read it.” I was curious. So when I got home, I found your letter and explanation as to what it was about. I asked Corey if he was going to respond, to which he said “maybe”. Well, this is me, taking the liberty to write a response. Or thank you, for the letter you sent. By the way…he has no idea I wrote this.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:Marie (Foreign Exchange Student)

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Dear Marie,
            It has been more than ten years since we imported you. I would love to know what was going through your mind as you got your typical tour of Des Moines on the way to our house. Here is some corn. This is the state capital building. This is where people would live if Des Moines was a bigger city. You were either too polite or not strong enough with your English yet to say anything disparaging. Thanks for that.
            It wasn’t until half way through the school year that you showed me a picture of your house. Or chateau, or whatever you want to call it. You told me that you didn’t have a room, but a floor. At the time, my room was a converted hallway with a clothes bureau blocking an open doorway. If you ever complained about being placed in a household that had eight people living in a house that was really a two bedroom house, I never heard it. It seems as if you approached it as an adventure.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Janet

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Dear Janet,
            For as long as I can remember, you have always been the fun aunt. I’m not sure if that is because of your rabid fandom of teeny bopper music, your general knowledge of pop culture, or because you’ve never talked to me as a kid. Not to say that you were never kidding. In a way, you are like my mom with a sense of humor. And not obsessively crazy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Dave (Step Dad)

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Dear Dave,
            Of anybody on my list, our past is the most checkered. I was just beginning my life as a teen when you and mom got married. I remember getting ready, putting on our tuxedos together. I also remember trying to enjoy the botanical center, only to keep getting bumped by the photographer.
            I know that things were strained between you and your sons due to distance and the normal strains of divorce. But I must tell you that I never blamed you or though that you were taking away my mom or replacing my dad or really any of those things that you see happening in after-school specials.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Evan

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Dear Evan,
           
            You were the first person that I ever considered to be my best friend. As I’ve been writing these letters, I’ve realized that I don’t often remember meeting people for the first time. I don’t know how or when you came into my life. When somebody is a year ahead of you in school, as you were ahead of me, it is really difficult for young kids to socialize. But it seems like that didn’t matter as long as we lived close to each other. Thanks for always willing to play made-up games with me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Sabrina

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Dear Sabrina,
            Do you realize that for about five years, I spent as much time with you at Blockbuster Video as I did with my wife at home. Or, I suppose, she was my girlfriend/fiancĂ©e for most of that time. It seems to me that most of that time was spent laughing and having fun more than working. But that was something that you did a really good job of as a Store Manager; being productive while having a good time. I tried to do the same thing for the years that I was in charge, too.
            Thanks for promoting me to your second in command. I remember the day that you had asked me (no interview needed). I had thrown a cover box to a movie across the store and broke the plastic display of a movie poster. I always thought that was funny that those two things happened on the same day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Emery (Daughter)

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Dear Emery,
            When your mommy got pregnant, one thing that worried me the most was how healthy you and your brother would be when you were born. I had always heard people say that they didn’t care if they were having a boy or a girl, as long as they were healthy. I never believed this until I became an expecting father. I really worried about you having messed up feet because of me. The thing that I was the most curious about was how you would look. To this day, I am baffled about how I could have a daughter that is, without dispute, a beautiful little girl. With blue eyes and blond hair, unlike both of your parents.

Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Ella (Step Mom)

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Dear Ella,

            It isn’t very common for a person to have known their stepmom their entire life. Its not like Dad was rich and you were the nanny. When I tell people that you were my next door neighbor growing up, they jump to conclusions. Don’t worry; we know that it isn’t true.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Jeremy

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Dear Jeremy,

            When we were in middle school, you moved in across the street from me. I remember when you guys set up a basketball hoop, thinking that I needed to get to know you. At that point, my parents had recently gotten a divorce and I was still fairly new to the neighborhood. Although there were lots of kids around, I was never quite able to incorporate myself into their groups. I remember sitting outside one day when you and your dad were playing basketball. I crept from the porch to the lawn to the curb, to your yard and eventually to playing with you. Thanks for that. And the friendship took off from there.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: John (Father In-Law)

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Dear John,

            You are exactly the type of man that I try to be. You are fit, active and would do anything for your family. From day one, I have felt that you and Lori have accepted me as part of the family.
            You do so much for Leigha and me. Thank you for that. You are always looking out for our best interests, whether it is watching the kids while Leigha and I can go out on a date, or getting us football tickets. Or even swiping our cards at the casino so that we can receive prizes. I can never really tell you enough, so thank you.
    As a person that has never really done much vacationing until I was an adult, I think that it is great going with you once a year. So far, we’ve been to Myrtle Beach, Tennessee/Mississippi, Florida, Pennsylvania, not to mention a Caribbean cruise. I’m fairly certain that I’ve traveled more with you than my own parents. Thanks for always inviting us along to make some fun and inexpensive vacations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Corina (Foreign Exchange Student)

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Dear Corina,

            When you came to stay with my family, I was a freshman in college. I was going to a community college that I didn’t want to go to while my friends were going to Universities that they had gotten accepted into because they had applied themselves. You and I would sit around in your room (with the door open) and talk about missing our friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:Brett

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Dear Brett,

            The jig is up, buddy; I found you. Ten years ago, we met at work and starting hanging out all the time. Eight years ago, we became roommates. Six years ago, you were one of my groomsmen. Five years ago, you disappeared, without contact. Your telephone number was recycled (I assume) to “Rainbow Productions”, which I can only assume is a gay porno production studio. Three and a half years ago, you popped up at my work and we met for breakfast. I haven’t seen you since then.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Vincent (Foreign Exchange Student)

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Dear Vincent,

            You were my first legally sponsored alien. I was in 8th grade when you ducked through the doorway of my life. I remember thinking that “they make ‘em big in Germany” when I first say you. Over the next school year, you became a brother.           

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Tyree (Cousin)

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Dear Tyree,
           
            They say that people shouldn’t have a favorite child or sibling, but there is no such saying for cousins. You are and always have been my favorite cousin. My first memory with you is when we were at Aunt Linda’s for some get-together and we were taking turns pushing the other down the stairs. I remember thinking that it was a lot of fun at the time. But it is one of those moments that you look back on and are equally confused about the fun and the absolute and total lack of parental control.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks:Arrick

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Dear Arrick,
           
            When we first met, we were freshmen and I was coming to visit Josh during my Spring Break. As it was midterms week for you guys, it wasn’t the most eventful week. The good thing was that Josh didn’t go to too many classes in those days. I remember going to your room, ordering pizza, playing some video games and spraying a fire extinguisher out of the dorm room window.

30 Days Of Thanks: Ragan

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Dear Ragan,

            You are the closest thing that I’ve ever had to a little brother. The first time that I met you was on the infamous trip to Rolla. That weekend, you turned 19. We all took turns playing drinking games and intentionally losing when we were your partner. I don’t see it as hazing, because we weren’t forcing you. There are a few things that I feel like I should tell you. Firstly, at that point in time, you were definitely more experienced than I in the drinking department. I was just bigger and more convincing. Secondly, you know how we drove in two cars? Arrick drove (and crashed) Josh’s car and I Josh drove…my car? Ever wonder the reason? I just got my license the day before and I still wasn’t the most comfortable driving on the highway. That also explains why I didn’t know that the car leaked oil and gas. Thus all of our clothes in the trunk smelling like gas. Then later running out of gas. I didn’t know that my low gas light actually said “check gauges”, so I didn’t know that we were low. Sorry about that.
           

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Lori (Mother In-Law)

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Dear Lori,
            There are plenty of things in life that people feel thanks for, but don’t actually give their thanks. Thanks for being such a good parent. Leigha and I have been together for nearly nine years. You’ve treated me like a son from the beginning and thanks for that.
            One thing that I’ve always been impressed with you is how you’ve built a loving and meaningful conversation with your daughters. I’ve never been as close to my parents as Leigha and Nicole are with you. You still get calls from the two of them nearly every day, which still amazes me. I hope that when my children are adults, that we can have that level of closeness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Mom

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Dear Mom,

            It has been nearly 32 years since the most deformed of your children was born. Thank you for not giving up on me or giving me up. I don’t often think about my club foot and even less about my jaundiced birth. While the second isn’t that uncommon or that big of a deal to fix, the foot was quite an ordeal. Thank you for making the weekly trips to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to help me get to the point where I don’t HAVE to think about my foot.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Corey

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Dear Corey,

            Did you know that you were the first friend to come and visit us in the hospital when Tate was born? You would probably say, with genuine modesty, that you were already by there (the hospital) for work. But I can tell you that it meant a lot to me.
                       You know how sometimes when you meet a person and you start talking and you find out that you had met before? It seems like we met each other for the first time four or five times over. I don’t remember where or when we first met or who introduced us. I assume that it was Brett and we were at Parking. It doesn’t really matter, it seems as if we just starting hanging out one day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Nicole (Sister In-Law)

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Dear Nicole,
            When I first met you, you were sixteen years old and playing a basketball game. I though that it was great every time that they said your name. Nicooooooole Knooooooll. To be honest with you, it has been weird to watch you grow up. My little sister, Heather and I are close enough in age that I never noticed or even paid attention to her getting older. I never felt compelled to offer advice or assistance. When I got a new little sister with you, I got to see you not only grow up, but mature.
    I was proud of you when you graduated college in four year; something that I never even tried to attempt. I remember one day, jokingly, telling you that we could go travel through Europe, as I had done it only a year or two previously. I am glad that while I didn’t go, you still traveled the world on your own. England, Japan, Korea. You’ll never regret that you did it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Arik (Brother)

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Dear Arik,

            Did you know that I didn’t eat chicken for years because of you? Or that I had an early penchant for Asian girls because of you? We all know that you picked out my name and I thank God that you weren’t a fan of a comic book hero like Plastic Man. I might have ended up with a name like Trojan, or something. I had never really thought about it too much, but a level of idolization is inevitable when you are seven years older than me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Heather (Sister)

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Dear Heather,

            For as long as I can remember, we have fought like brother and sister. Sometimes I forget that you are my younger sister because your friends were always older than me. You learned how to tie your shoes and got a driver’s license before me.
            I don’t know if it is our mere two year age gap that had us butting heads for so long. Maybe it is because my teasing and testing nature doesn’t mesh with your “no B.S.” persona. You have never been reserved and always been more than happy to tell me when I’m wrong. Maybe that is just the way it is supposed to be with siblings. I’m sorry for the countless fights that I’ve started with you over the years. How were you supposed to know that you were grinding your teeth in your sleep? I was out of line for hitting you then. I just want to let you know that even as I was punching you on your back, I still scaled back on my abuse. I.e. a few days before Christmas when you punched me in the mouth. Remember all of those awesome pictures that looked like a I had a cold sore? Thanks for that.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Josh

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Dear Josh,
            If there was ever anybody that would qualify as an adopted sibling, it would be you. I remember a time when I hoped that you would marry my little sister so we could officially be brothers. But then I realized that marriage doesn’t make anybody closer than an existing relationship of brotherhood. Plus, Heather always thought that you were gay.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Dad

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Dear Dad,

            You have always inspired me to use my imagination and I thank you for that. I have talked to you many times before about people wanting their kids to have a better life than their own. I am not passing any judgments on Grandma Williams, but thank you for moving up and out of the chicken shack. I believe that my kids don’t have to worry about mice eating their cereal or people breaking into our house. So progress is in motion.

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Cree

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Dear Cree,
            One thing that has always bothered me is when people insist that their kids call their friends “aunt” or “uncle”. To be honest with you, it wouldn’t bother me if the kids did start calling you Uncle Cree. I remember when Leigha first went back to work and you would come over every week and help me watch Tate. More often than not, we would watch movies or play video games as he slept. It has now been nearly five years, and both kids get excited every time that you come over to visit.
       I am both happy for you that your business is going well, but it is unfortunate that it means that we don’t really get to hang out anymore. I miss the days that you were available during the daytime or whenever my random schedule was free.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Amber (Sister)

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Dear Amber,
           
            There hasn’t been anybody more supportive and helpful to my blog than you. I really can’t thank you enough for reading through my first draft of everything that I write. It is amazing every time that I open up an envelope from my per diem editor. There are times that I feel a little guilty sending writing that is so roughly written and not completely thought out. Then I get it back and you feel as if little needs to be changed. Then there are times that I think that what I’ve just sent you is the best thing that I’ve ever written only to realize that it needs to be reorganized and polished. I am not sure if you do, but I really appreciate your Masters in Teaching. By the way, if you send this back edited, I won’t post it.
                         For as long as I can remember, I have thought of us siblings as two pairings. I think that Arik and Heather have similar sensibilities whereas the two of us are equally similar. One thing that I have always admired about you is that you don’t sit around and dream about what could be, you make a plan to make it happen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Grandma Wilson

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Dear Grandma,
           
            I have heard that youth is wasted on the young. As I think about when I was younger, I realize how much I underappreciated you. Maybe I was too young to capture your wit and humor. All that I could see was a little old lady. With awesome earlobes. Now I realize that through all those years, you didn’t really get upset with me when I would twiddle your earlobes, you were merely playing along.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks: Leigha (Wife)

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Dear Leigha,

            For the blog, I’ve decided to hand-write a letter to thirty people that have been important and influential in my life. So I’m starting at the top. There are two things that people can’t hear enough. “Thank you” and “I love you”. When we first started dating, you worried that I was telling you that I loved you too much as if it was diminished each time that I said it. I think that you’ve lost that fear and know that I mean it each and every time that I tell you that I love you.
     

Monday, October 31, 2011

30 Days Of Thanks

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For the month of November, I decided to give my thanks. I have hand-written 30 letters to thirty different people, while enclosing the following printed note:


Friday, October 28, 2011

Lubed Up and Ready To Go

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Although I had never done it on my own, changing the oil in my car has always seemed like the car-oriented task that anybody could figure out how to do themselves. I thought it ranked slightly higher than adding gasoline on the difficulty scale. This is a bold statement from somebody that has little to no natural mechanical proficiency. That has never changed his own oil.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beat the Heat; Sleep Outside

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Thousands of years ago, sleeping outside was a way of life, not an option. As the human race has become domesticated, we have moved back outside for entertainment. Perhaps people wouldn’t feel the draw of sleeping under the stars if it wasn’t for our ancestors. Camping didn’t become popular until the early 20th century. This is, perhaps, because of the rising affluence of Americans, or because of the institutionalization of the national parks and recreation programs. These days, camping is usually associated with Boy Scouts, retirees, the homeless and people at music festivals. Not people that you would normally lump together.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Apathetic Patriot

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"Oh my God! The second tower has just been hit, too." Those were the first words that I heard on September 11, 2001. I reached over and hit the snooze button. I had worked late the night before, and wasn't ready to wake up. I went back to sleep before the words could penetrate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Enjoy Watching A Sport That You Don't Care About

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When I was eight years old, my dad took me to an I-Cubs game, a rare sporting event in my childhood. The I-Cubs are an AAA team that is the testing ground for the major league team, the Chicago Cubs. During the third inning, I turned to my dad and asked him when the game was going to start. That, in nutshell, describes my relationship with baseball.
            When I was twelve, I decided to join little league. I didn’t really know anything about baseball, but the concept was simple: hit the ball and run around the bases. Basically it was kickball with more danger. The first meeting was at a public park with dozens of kids. Granted, the neighborhood wasn’t too nice and I did notice that the grounds and fencing were a little shabby. What I didn’t notice was a drug deal happening on the corner as we were dividing up into teams. Needless to say, I didn’t get to go back. My baseball career ended before it had even started.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spend The Night In A Police Car

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University of Iowa Police
            Officer C G has been a police officer for six years, but we’ve been friends for more than a decade. In college we worked together at the parking department. In fact, my wife trained him. In my five years working the student job, I jumped back and forth between being a cashier and a student supervisor. At the end of my tenure, C became one of four managers in the department. While he was technically my boss, I never saw him in that manner. This is not a slight towards him, but more his position. He was just doing the full-time duties of what I did. I got paid to sit in an office with him and watch movies or play poker on a homemade table fashioned from an overturned garbage can with a board on top of it. This was a stop-gap job for C. The occupation that he really wanted was that of his father, a police officer.
            At on a Tuesday night, C and I met in the parking ramp that housed the University of Iowa Office of Public Safety. This encompasses three branches: Security, Police and Fire. As I approached him, C was standing at the cab of his truck wearing mesh shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. Inside the station, I waited in the lobby, a small area with several plastic-backed chairs, a counter filled with pamphlets about last year’s crime statistics, rape victim advocacy and paperwork for pressing charges. While I was sitting there, C got a privacy form for me to fill out. The entrance wall was glass, giving me a sense of self-awareness. People could watch me as they stood outside this wall. I assumed that someone was watching me from behind one of the glass partition windows labeled “Records” and “Police”. C came out of the office and handed me a sheet of paper, telling me to fill it out while he got ready. On one side was a waiver, absolving them of any liability. On the other, there was a confidentiality agreement. That being said, all names have been fabricated to protect their identities.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Relax With Straight Razors

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            I don’t know a single person that enjoys shaving, outside of prepubescent children. To me, shaving is bi-weekly preventative maintenance. What does it prevent? It prevents me from looking unkempt, disheveled and homeless. Although I had never heard of a hot towel shave, I was excited when my brother-in law, Mike offered to treat me to one. It was the last bit of maintenance on his wedding day. While there were four of us (Mike, his dad, Big Mike, my dad and myself ) that participated in the shave, only two of us (Big Mike and myself) were full participants, as to the fact that the other two were sporting a full beard.
            The place that we went to was called Floyd’s. In my mind, this immediately gave an old-timey feel. I imagined a small, dusty, dirty shop with only three barber chairs. The kind that has a pedal that you pump to raise the chair and a second pedal to release and lower the seated. This metal chair would also have a knob next to the hip of the person sitting down that allows the chair to lay flat.
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