Discipline Check-In

I’m a little short of a week into Sober October. In addition to the obvious requirement of no beer or booze, I came up with a list of 15 tasks that I need to complete every day. Here is a status check of how I’m doing after six days:

Wake up before 6 a.m.                                                                        2          /           6
Make bed                                                                                            6          /           6
Shave                                                                                                  6          /           6
Five minutes of meditation                                                                 6          /           6         
No fast food                                                                                        6          /           6
Eat 30 carbohydrates or less                                                               6          /           6
Go to gym                                                                                           6          /           6
Drink 200 oz. of water                                                                        6          /           6
10,000 steps                                                                                        6          /           6
Write 200 words                                                                                 6          /           6
Read 25 pages                                                                                     6          /           6
Track food and exercise                                                                      6          /           6         
18 hours of Fasting (Six-hour feeding window)                                6          /           6
Stay up until 9 p.m.                                                                             6          /           6
DON’T BEAT MYSELF UP IF I DON’T DO A TASK                   6          /           6
                                                                                                            86        /           90

“Pretty pretty pretttttty good!” [Larry David voice]

The one things I slacked on was the wake up time. Since I’ve been trying to keep myself on the go throughout the day, I have been a lot more tired so I haven’t had the energy to argue with the body and get myself out of bed at 6 a.m.

But the most important task – DON’T BEAT MYSELF UP IF I DON’T DO A TASK – has been flawless and I am proud of that and I know I can keep that going throughout the rest of the month.

Start fast and FINISH STRONGER.


“Parkland: The Birth of a Movement” Book Review

No matter what your age, you can make a difference.

“Parkland: The Birth of a Movement” by Dave Cullen is this year’s University of Wisconsin Alumni Association Go Big Read selection.

It is great that the “March For Our Lives” kids came together and took charge of changing how we here in the United States of America approach gun control and how we legislate laws that can bring sanity to fire arms and save lives.

I also thought about how no matter what your age, you will have detractors. I remember Jordan Peterson’s appearance on the Jocko Podcast where he took it upon himself to play gatekeeper about who’s allowed to have an opinion and make a difference. I believe he said something along the lines of they haven’t been through and accomplished enough in life to feel entitled to such a loud and emboldened stance on what should be a common sense stance.

Maybe these kids haven’t gone through divorces, been able to rent a car or have a foreclosure slapped on their home, but do you know what they have been through?

Being pinned underneath desks in their classroom for hours while a former schoolmate sprayed the freshmen building with bullets.

They’re entitled to their opinions.

Football and JCVD … What more do you need?

Happy Football Sunday to all! For some reason, it doesn’t seems as exciting to me without the fans and “juice’ pumping through gridirons across the country.

Maybe it’s because the Chicago Bears’ offense seemed to have disappeared like the fan base, but

But I wanted to get silly for a moment to end the weekend …

Top Five Jean-Claude Van Damme Movies

JCVD has received a bit of a cultural reboot lately and with YouTube content like this, he can’t be ignored.

So I thought it would be fun to break down my top five favorite Jean-Claude Damme “films.” These are in no particular order. How can you choose between such a competitive field of great movies?!


In one of the greatest cheesy ‘80’s movies ever [that’s redundant], Frank Dux wins a bunch of no-holds barred matches in a row to win the kumite. Overcoming a “foreign substance” to the eyes in the middle of the final match against Chung Li is how legends are made.

And you can’t get too far into Bloodsport without recognizing Ray Jackson.


Revenge continues to be a theme here for JCVD as he switches gears to muay thai and takes down Tong Po in what appears to be an ancient tomb.


The French Legion has never been prouder! He took down Billy Blanks. EPIC.

Hard Target

Noted marksman Wilford Brimley saves the day!

Death Warrant

The Sandman is one of the most underrated villains of all time.

Questions and Contradictions

What is so difficult about wearing a mask?

If is a matter of ensuring public health, sanitation and hygiene, what is the big deal of taking a few precious seconds out of your daily routine to grab that little slab of cloth and hook the two straps behind your ear lobes?

If establishing regulations to improve public sanitation and hygiene is oppressive, why don’t you hear Republicans blaming Democrats for having to drive below 75 miles per hour on the interstate? Why don’t people clamor about lack of freedom when strapping in children with seat belts?

Why are some people always on a mission to find contradiction or pick a fight? If I say down, they will say up. If I say black, they say white and the cycle continues. There is a balance to found here. Trolling is a great pastime to build comradery with your friends or establish connections with other. The sense of humor and creativity in this new label of sarcasm is an outlet I enjoy, but like most things in our society, there are segments of the population who take it to extremes on either end.

What would happen if the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement created its own version of the flag of the United States like a ‘Thin Blue Line’ or ‘Thin Red Line?

The questions and contradictions in our culture are endless, but I know we can come together to find a resolution.


Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Perceived lack of confidence has always seemed to be my downfall in the eyes of others, whether it is during a job interview, an important meeting or a date. Worry about why other people don’t like me, don’t think I’m good at my job or think I’m attractive has been infused into my veins like my brain is tethered to a never-ending IV therapy bag dripping negative thoughts. I’m pulling the tubing right now. I’m done wasting my time and energy focusing on the preconceptions of others, which are often misconceptions. If I slump my shoulders when trying to relax, sweat during an awkward social situation or misspeak, people have written it off as a lack of self-confidence. I’ve tried to change it my whole life, but it’s just how I’m wired.   Whether it is self-confidence, confidence in my ability or my creativity to build and present great ideas, the mental gymnastics I have put myself through my whole life to appear more confident has simply just been in the way. From this point forward, I’m going to simplify and streamline my thought process and close the negative feedback loop. My internal roller clamp will only infuse positivity at a rate of 100 gtt per minute.     

Sober October 2020

Another go-around with #SoberOctober. Here are my goals for this month:

  • No alcohol
  • No fast food or delivery
  • 10k steps per day
  • Workout 5x per week
  • 200 oz. of water per day
  • 18 hour-intermittent fast every day
  • Eat 30 carbs or less per day
  • Write 200 words
  • Read 25 pages
  • Five minutes of meditation

And here’s how I did on the first day (Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020):

  • No alcohol: Done. Stayed away from the booze
  • No fast food or delivery: Done. Cooked my own food
  • 10k steps per day: Done. 75-minute walk on treadmill
  • Workout 5x per week: Done 75-minute walk on treadmill
  • 200 oz. of water per day: In progress. At 160 oz. as I type …
  • 18 hour-intermittent fast every day: Done. From 9 p.m. 9/30 to 3 p.m. 10/1
  • Eat 30 carbs or less per day: Done. Ate 30 carbs on the dot.
  • Write 200 words: In progress. You’re reading it right now.
  • Read 25 pages: Read 26 pages of “Grant” by Ron Chernow
  • Five minutes of meditation: Need to do.

What are your goals for the month? I hope this helps me develop a routine and will build the foundation for me to build more healthy and productive habits.

Do the Right Thing

… and watch “Do the Right Thing” for free on all streaming platforms until June 29. The Spike Lee joint is a favorite movie of mine and the message behind it has endured and is particularly applicable in today’s cultural climate.

“It’s gonna be hot today” is one of the first lines delivered by Mookie.

I love how the humidity and lighting of a hot summer day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn seemed to grow more intense to match the tensions between characters in the film. As is a natural occurrence, the characters seem to wear down as the heat intensifies and the likelihood of acting on impulse and emotion seems to grow as fatigue drains their energy. The Public Enemy-fueled soundtrack by Chuck D., Flavor Flav and Terminator X energize the characters and embodies the intensity and passion of the conflict between them.

Here is a breakdown and my reading of some, not all, of the fundamental characters:

Mookie                       The Neighborhood Leader
Intelligent. Articulate. Street smart. A hustler. He is a popular guy with everyone yelling out “Hey Mookie” at the beginning of the film. He attempts to bring both sides together on many fronts throughout the story. Yet by the end of the night, he had had enough and sets off the destruction and chaos of the riot [SPOILER!] by unloading the contents of a metal trash can onto the street and launching it through the window of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. He is on a mission to “get money” throughout the entire movie and seems to be talking about “I gotta get paid.”

Radio Raheem         LOVE and HATE
The big man had the gold-plated knuckles to reflect man’s eternal struggle, but when hate finally managed to overpower love, he lost his life in tragic fashion. I love how they capped the hydrant to make way for him as a sign of respect. He wins his first conflict of the day when he faces off in a boom box battle.

Tina                            Scene Setter
Mookie’s girlfriend sets the tone for the entire movie with a solo dance session to “Fight the Power” with a contrasted silhouette of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the background.

Smiley                        The Photographer
With his speech impediment, he relies on photos to get his message across. His references to Malcolm X keep the spirit of cultural change and revolution in the face of conflict alive. As any good photo journalist would be, Smiley always seems to be in the background of each pivotal scene.  

Sal                              The owner of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria
He had plans of handing his business off to his sons, but his quick temper and emotional response could not help him prevent his franchise from being charred to the ground.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1540389a) Do The Right Thing, Danny Aiello Film and Television

The Mayor                 The Experienced Naysayer
As the elder statesman on the block, he is largely ignored and unable to calm down the chaos at the end of the movie. It is sad that the younger people do not ask him for his views and about what he has been through. He is not respected because he is poor and asks Sal for a tip to sweep the sidewalk in front of the pizzeria. When he gives Mookie advice based on the title, “Always do the right thing,” he just shrugs it off and goes about his business. Yet when asked by the cops about who sprayed a car with water, he sticks to the code and says “Those who know, won’t tell. Those who tell don’t know.” It is also interesting to note that the three older gentlemen who sit and complain about the police and Korean American-owned businesses, they are largely ignored until the end of the movie when destruction seems to be their only course of action.

Mother Sister            The Patient Adviser
As the elder stateswoman on the block, she is a keen observer of everyone who goes past her stoop. She seems to have a calming effect on everyone within her circle, but is also quick to offer her opinions to everyone.

Pino                            The Hot Head
The older son seems to be the main source of conflict within the family. Whether it is with his father, Mookie, Vito and any other person he comes into contact with, it seems like he is looking for a physical fight or verbal confrontation throughout the movie. In a one-on-one confrontation with his father, he brings up the idea of selling the establishment and reveals his true colors. His anger and hatred is just the kindling for the fire that is about to burn down the business. And when his idea is rejected, he ends up taking his anger out on harassing Smiley.

Vito                             The Younger Brother
He tags along with Mookie and seems like he is influenced by him to conflict. “Vito is down” as Mookie put it. Yet there is no shortage of conflict with him either. He debates favorite athletes and struggles to earn respect from Pino.

Buggin’ Out               The Original Protestor
After a back-and-forth exchange with Sal that seemed innocent enough, Buggin’ Out [I never caught his given name] sits down for his slice and escalates into a conflict by pointing out the absence of African-American celebrities on the wall. All of this led to Buggin’ Out calling for a boycott and threatening Sal. His initial attempts to organize and get people to sign a petition were rejected. He remained persistent, but needed Mookie’s action to spur on some action.

Love Daddy            The Observer
Samuel L. Jackson gives a play-by-play from his radio booth and sends out announcements filled with rhymes. He attempts to be the voice of reason after the montage of racial slurs delivered by people throughout the neighborhood with his “That’s the double truth, Ruth” rant, which has always been a favorite of mine and seems to be even more appropriate during our time. His roll call of influential artists on WELUV radio also helps set the scene of what people were listening to during the late 1980s.

A Blog A Day …

keeps the doctor away.

As we are in the midst of this historic pandemic that has changed our lives, I reflected on one of my 2020 New Year’s Resolutions. I had a goal of writing 1,000 words per day, but like a lot of plans and goals made for this year, it has not gone according to the plan. That’s okay. I know I’m not alone.

I have to stop worrying about what others may think of I write down and just allow myself to write about whatever I want. It doesn’t have to be perfect or polished. I just have to write.

A journal. A diary. Whatever you want to call I want. I just know I want to get my thoughts down on record on a much more frequent basis.

Carrying on about Covid-19

I have been working from home as the Media Specialist for the Division of Online and Continuing Education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since mid-March.

It feels like a time warp. It was so long ago, but then it also seems like it was just yesterday. Working from home was always something I fantasized about low key. The thought of a 30-second commute and having fewer disruptions removed from the office on campus at Lincoln Hall was always attractive to me and it has been enjoyable most of the time. I feel like I’ve been able to concentrate more in-depth on projects. However like most things in life, this arrangement is not without drawbacks. I miss the instant communication of being able to walk down to a colleague’s office for a quick pop-in or to set up a meeting. Being able to read someone’s expression and body language is definitely something I miss. It will be interesting to be a part of ‘Titans Returning’ to campus in some form or another in September.      

Since going into quarantine in March, I have gained 20 pounds and I get winded way too fast so it’s time for me to cut the malarkey. I know I am not the only one, but it has to be addressed. I have a history of being too hard on myself, but here is my simplified three-objective plan of daily goals moving forward. I am done dwelling on the past.

Daily Goals
Take 10,000 steps
Eat less than 150 carbohydrates
Drink 200 ounces of water

The quarantine/shut down did prompt me to invest in my home office setup. It was long overdue, but I now have a professional configuration in my apartment where I can create and flourish: heavy duty computer chair, an executive desk and lamp with charging station. 

An interesting development for my entertainment habits has also occurred during the stay-at-home period. I have started watching gamers on Twitch. I admit that it is bizarre. I watch someone else play video games, but it really comes down to the personalities that are on the face cams, the smack talk and the chats that interact with each gamer creates a fun and energetic virtual community. There is a wide variety of content on Twitch, everything from Call of Duty: Warzone, NBA 2K20, NCAA Football 14, Madden NFL to Just Chatting.

Call of Duty is my favorite non-sports video game. I wish I was better at the game. I got embarrassed when I tried to play online with friends a few years ago so I have not tried since. It feels like my senses get overwhelmed with my competitors and the sounds and images of the game so my reaction times are slow and the snowball effect just rolls downhill from there to the point where I cannot read a map or think about what I’m doing.

I believe my embarrassing video game history is why I enjoy just watching … for now. I’ll let you know if I ever decide to try again.

Here are a few of my favorite Twitch Streamers:

Doctor Disrespect: His persona and the production value of his streams just make me chuckle. The ‘violence, speed, momentum’
bravado and swagger is just hilarious. He has a bunch of catch phrases like ‘firm handshakes,’ ‘let’s get involved’ and celebrates with a ‘Whooo’ like Ric Flair of Ashley Shaeffer. With the wig, bulletproof jacket, sunglasses, flip phone and goatee, it’s like he is a method actor straight out of Top Gun, Night Rider and other 80’s hits sticking to the script for hours on live TV every day. It is also a bonus that he seems to have a Digital Millenium Copyright Act deal with a few artists
who provide a retro soundtrack for musical interludes between games. It sounds like it could be taken from the movie Drive, just simple yet cool melodies and catchy choruses.    


ATL770er: I love his authenticity and enthusiasm for the game of basketball on the court and in real life. I relate to the subject matter a
lot more than Call of Duty: Warzone so I know what they are trying to
accomplish. He’s not the best at the game, but he talks the most and has the most personality. It also sounds like he came from a tough upbringing so I really want to support him. I cannot lie, it is also very entertaining when he cusses out a teammate.


TimtheTatman: He is more of just a regular guy who happens to be a content creator on Twitch and Call of Duty player. He loves metal music and seems to be a great guy. He interacts with his chat in the ‘Just Chatting’ section for an hour every time he streams and just seems like an authentic person. The Tatman Army in the chat is also a source of amusement with their own language of catch phrases, acronyms and emotes. It took me a while to get into the swing of it, but when I caught on, it’s almost like I have grown addicted to watching the chat messages scroll up the bar on the right-hand side of the channel.


            Barstool Big Cat: Duggs Nation has captivated … the nation. I look                  forward to the Coaching Carousel on Sunday nights when he                            announces his new destination. Hopefully, Wisconsin will be up


Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

My “new normal” Father’s Day included a pretty regular one-hour, 45-minute trip down to Janesville, Wisconsin to visit my parents today to talk about memories, discuss current events in politics and reminisce about watching Chicago Cubs baseball.

Tuning in to WGN-TV or ABC-4 for a Sunday afternoon matinee had become a Father’s Day tradition since I moved back to the Midwest in 2016. I look forward to chopping it up with my Dad about who should hit leadoff, why center fielder Albert Almora has been in a slump or why reliever Brandon Morrow couldn’t stay healthy. Sports has always been a huge part of my bond with my Dad and not virus will be able to break it.

This morning on 670 The Score’s Talking Baseball Show hosted by Matt Spiegel, Laurence Holmes talked about his project where he interviewed his Dad because he wanted to have something on the record about their life. So to get my mind going and to get the ball rolling on my own personal project, here are some ramblings about the most-disciplined and hard-working person I know, my father.

After eight years of experience scrambling through Transportation Security Administration security lines, squeezing into seats of aluminum frames with polyurethane foam cushioning on planes, cramming into rainbow-carpeted buses and checking in to hotel rooms with NCAA Division I programs but I still remember, I tagged along with his teams. Riding a yellow school bus up to Brodhead, Wisconsin for a Friday night football and getting to stop at McDonald’s after a win. Boarding a Greyhound bus with the Beloit College Buccaneer football team on its trip to Knox College. I felt like a part of the team and pulled for my dad’s teams to win even more.

I remember him taking me to my first baseball game in Milwaukee County Stadium with the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey, Jr. going 5-for-5 at the plate and digging a cleat into the center field wall to rob the Milwaukee Brewers of a home run. I also remember Dan Plesac getting booed off the mound in a blowout loss.

His favorite saying is “This too shall pass.” It has become my mantra as I have gone through some trying times in the last couple years. And we have a multitude of sport sayings like “Never miss on the back of the rim!” when a free throw attempt on the hardwood hits the heel of the iron.

My Dad taught at Big Foot High School for 30 years and never took a sick day. I repeat … NEVER … took a sick day. He never had a cold and called in. He never got too drunk the night before and called in. He never just felt sorry for himself after a bad day and took a sick day because he wanted to avoid the issue. I can imagine the anxiety piling up of facing a room full of smart aleck teenagers who think they have all of the answers.  

I lived in a small town and went to a small high school (enrollment of 500) so it didn’t take long for word to travel about anyone and reputations spread like wildfire, but I never heard anyone say anything bad about my Dad. I never sat for one of his courses at BFHS, but I can only assume he was demanding, but still related well to students. He wasn’t the most popular instructor, but you could tell he was respected. That is the only way to avoid having your name being dragged through the mud by the inhabitants buzzing about the foyer and red lockers of 401 Devils Lane in Walworth, Wisconsin.  

His passion for the game of football is unmatched. Three years after hanging up his coaching whistle, he still has a wipe board and grease pen in the holster of his recliner at the ready to doodle out schemes and formations of gridiron schemes.

As a youngster living in Walworth, Wisconsin, I remember getting out of bed on more than a few occasions and tip-toeing down the hallway to the living room and seeing my Dad pantomiming out the footwork of a quarterback and whispering the terminology of whatever offense his team was running (had to be the wing-T!) to himself. At the time, I remember thinking “What is he doing?”

The summer before I started eighth grade, he introduced me to the weight room at Big Foot Union High School and I know my playing career would not have been as successful or enjoyable if that didn’t happen.

It was a $1 bet between the Portland Trailblazers and Detroit Pistons in the 1990 NBA Finals that really sparked my interest in sports. I lost the bet that year, but came back strong and got my dollar back the following year in the 1991 NBA Eastern Conference Finals with the Chicago Bulls taking out the hated Pistons.

A friend of the family paid my Dad the ultimate compliment. Her son joined the football team for the first as a senior and you might have considered him a “geek,” but let’s just say he was more concerned with academics than extra-curricular activities. But she told me that he treated everyone the same regardless of whether they were “jocks” who had been on the football team for four years or “geeks” who are new to the team. She said that my Dad went out of his way to talk to him and get to know him as a person and that made me more proud than any victory on the field.

He is the man who has helped me out of more jams than I care to admit. I can always depend on him to do the right thing and that’s something I still strive to on this day at the ripe old age of 36. I know how spoiled and lucky I am to have him in my life and I want to make the most of it.

I Take Pride in Minor Accomplishments: Top 19 Highlights from 2019

In college, some friends of mine started a Facebook group called ‘I Take Pride in Minor Accomplishments’ so here’s a look at what I’ve done this year. I’m just being silly with the title, I know I had a good year and 2020 is going to be better.   

  • Settled into new position at UW Oshkosh
  • Went to EAA AirVenture
  • Started counting my carbs on Nov. 11, 2019
  • Began experimenting with intermittent fasting
  • Doubled ‘Likes’ for @UWOOnlineDegrees Facebook page
  • Created two videos for UW Oshkosh OCE YouTube channel
  • Completed Sober October
  • Found a gym I like in Oshkosh
  • Covered UW Oshkosh Discover Firefighting Academy in July
  • Cut the Cord: Eliminated cable TV and the bill that went with it
  • Reconnected with friends during late summer trip to Salt Lake City
  • Went to Lil’ Wayne and Blink 182 concert in Salt Lake City
  • Covered two commencement ceremonies at UW Oshkosh
  • Attended Utah at BYU football game
  • Attended WIAA State Boy’s Basketball Tournament
  • Attended Michigan at Wisconsin football game
  • Went to Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game
  • Attended Green Bay Packers’ Family Night at Lambeau Field
  • Finally watched Breaking Bad

Looking ahead, here are the 2020 New Year’s Resolutions. See my previous two posts for two additional resolutions:

  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Drink 200 oz. of water every day
  • Go to the gym five times per week
  • No soda
  • Track all food and exercise
  • Five minutes of meditation every day
  • Eat less than 150 carbs per day