Self Reflection

Moxie – more than just a killer word

Moxie. Yeah man Moxie. Moxie is my motto for 2016. Moxie moxie moxie. Pop quiz – do you know the origin of the word “moxie” without looking it up? Vigor, stamina, determination, a go-getter, a little bit of umph. These are but a few of the words that define moxie for me. It’s a killer word. Turns out it was injected into the American english language from a freaking soda! (Apologies if I’m the only person in world who didn’t know this already, none of my friends did. Ok I only asked one, but he is an important friend. He’s like the lord of friends. Lord Friendy – I’m gunna start calling him that. K bye)

The drink has been around since the late 1800’s! While the soda did not grow in popularity like Coke or20160101_004410 Pepsi – no one is ever going to say, “I am going to live life full of Coca Cola.” Well maybe somebody said that, but they are probably really fat and unhappy. At least if your only plan is drinking Moxie until you die, you can say “I am going to live my life full of Moxie” – and everyone will just think that you have some new found confidence and not that you’ve given up. So… Yeah – I am going to rock up 2016 full of Moxie! The soda or the ideology may you ask? No. No you may not. 😉

Soulbook – Come On Eileen

My wife is somewhat obsessed with the old tune Come On Eileen. Part of me is like “Come on Wifeen, really – this song?” Shortly there after the violin hits and I’m losing my mind jumping around the room with her.

For the purposes of today’s writing I am going to collectively give western society the name of Eileen.

I was out on a job recently where I spent over 12 hours with people I had never before worked with, seen, or ever heard of. Because of the type of work, we were forced to be together in a number of different circumstances. Eileen was showing herself in some varied colors. One trend I noticed I find a little troubling.

I’m a fairly social dude, and with my psychology background – I am interested in people. I am interested in what makes people tick, how they find happiness, and how they endure challenges. I don’t walk up to people and say “Hi, my name’s Wes, I like Cheetos and Art. What makes you happy?” I do however try and be polite, and talk to people. Nothing weird here, just your everyday courteous conversations.

keep-calm-and-come-on-eileen-3

Here is what I noticed as I tried to engage in conversations this day: People are very happy to talk about themselves. No one seemed bothered by picking up a conversation with me at all, in fact – many people talked my ear off. Which was great. It made the day go by fast, and I got to learn.

However, in all of discussions I had with many different people that day, not one person asked me anything about myself. Not one person in over 12 hours! Now, I don’t offend easy – I don’t really care that no one asked me. It is however a troubling trend.

I fear that our Facebook/social media culture is getting us in the habit of demonstrating as follows:

Look at what I eat
Look at what I don’t eat
Look, I’m on the beach
Look I have freaking cute kids
Check out all the weight I’ve lost
I am so fat
LOL I just saw Daniel Radcliffe at Starbucks
I am unfriending all the haters in my feed
I am so tired right now. I totally forgot to post something about myself because I am so tired, so I’m going to tell you that I’m tired. Ha I’m funny when I’m tired.

“I!”

Could social media be effecting our already self-centered society for the worse? I sure as crap think so. The name says it all – FACEbook. Other variants: VAINbook, MEbook, Ibook (Don’t get me started on Apple products 😉 ). Really, shouldn’t it be SOULbook? Soulbook would focus on others. Isn’t it funny how the best way to improve the health of your soul is to take the path of selflessness? It’s hard to be selfless when combined with a cell phone addiction and relentless posts about yourself.

Maybe my day with strangers (all folks perfectly happy to talk my ear off about themselves without a care in the world about the stories of those around them) is not indicative of Eileen in her entirety. But, my gut guess is we are far more self-centered than we used to be. Technology and social media can help spread goodness – but it can also easily and naturally take you down a life of “I”. So not much else to say other than Come On Eileen!! We can do better.

Carbonated Waters – A Chubby Mans’ Tale of Defeat

I’m a big dude. Take the copious quantities of calorie-containing-caffeinated-carbonated-concoctions (CCCCC), mixed with fried bread, pizza, and other processed delights out of the picture and out of storage from my body – I’d still be a big dude. Don’t tell me I am using the “I’m big boned” ideology as a crutch either here Sally. My feet for example are size 13, and they are so bloody wide I can’t fit into most shoes. Isn’t this interesting? No – no it’s not. But, this is one of the rare occasions I am going to use this public place of writings as a way to take some accountability over my life and set in stone some certain decisions I’m making right now. Maybe it can help someone out there take charge of some aspects of their life along with me.

So now – lets set the tone. Take off your pants and get comfy. Or don’t and call me a pervert.
Like most everyone, I can’t claim to remember much of my very early years. I do however think my family followed the jacked up mentality prescribed in this picture:
cola

Do yourself a real favor – don’t listen to messages from advertising.

The few early memories I do have consist of my grandma and grandpa each having a can of pop a day. Well, my grandpa had “secret” stashes all over the house. His accurate count was probably more like 4-5 cans a day, and the numbers increased with age because he forgot that he had already drank 15 cans previous to the next and so on.
Mmmm. Bubbles. Cold delicious sugary bubbles. I am so hard wired to love soda I can’t even explain. I can feel my brain turning on sexy jazz music when I hear the sound of the carbonated glory hitting the bottom of a ridiculous over-sized American cup. (Which by the way being American according to Carl’s Jr and Pizza Hut means putting hot dots into unholy places. Being an American is disgusting apparently. I’ll probably try these monstrosities anyway. I don’t want to be considered un-American after all 😉 )
I’ve stopped drinking soda a quarter of a billion times in my life. I’ve quit for ten minutes, all the way up to my longest stretch of about 2 months. Why stop? Because in reality its sugar crap poison bubble water. You know it’s true – and you can tell yourself what ever fabrication you want about it – I’ve probably said the excuses more times than you ever will. Doesn’t matter if its diet or not. All sodas are full of chemicals and junk that I doubt we were genetically fashioned to be consuming. I make this assertion while looking down at my stomach which is at least 65% soda generated. “Wes you’re an idiot. Everything is fine in moderation.” That might be true grumpy lame-o, but I don’t do soda in moderation, and really even if you can do the “one can a day” thing – do you really want 12 ounces a day of crap in your body? This leads to a much bigger discussion about why you would even care about your body and take care of it, but let me tell you why I care.
My biggest motivator right now are my kids. The reality of my life right now is this: My wife is hot, and if I were to die it would be hard on her – but she’d be ok. She is very talented and she would make it. Taking care of the kids would be hard without me, but again she’s great. But my kids! Holy mother of England. My kids, especially my 3 year right now – if I were gone it would be awful. They need me, and I want to be there for them more than they will ever know. Maybe you don’t have kids or loved ones to think about? Then do you love yourself? Another big topic – but hopefully you can at least get along with yourself a little bit to realize you are of worth. People have inherit worth. Otherwise why would murder be such a big deal? You have worth, no matter how sucky you think you are.
Drinking_glass_00118So this is what I am trying to do – when I am tempted to do something terrible I ask myself something like “do I love this Dr. Pepper more than my family?” Obviously the answer is clear! I am at the very beginning of this journey – but so far so good. This is a one step at a time health change. First step – kill cussing soda out of my life. However I gotta be realistic too.  We are talking about over thirty years of a lot of sexy jazz music bubbles. Sugar is this generations most addictive drug. So here is my plan and my commitment: On special occasions, say my Birthday – sure I’ll rock up a Mt. Dew. The rest of the time I simply do not drink soda (or booze) :). However I will be drinking a hoover dam’s worth of plain carbonated water everyday (I dig it with a squeezed lemon wedge).
Go do the research, plain carbonated water is just as hydrating as regular water – and the only real side effect for some people is becoming a gas pot. I can deal with farts – I have children. In fact I lik.. never mind. This gets rid of all the sugar and crappy chemicals and believe it or not, it is also telling my soda brain that I got what I am hardwired to need. So there is my first little health tip. Maybe my last, because writing about health makes me feel all weird. I really think saying adios loser soda will stick this time, but just in case ask me in a month. Thanks! Cheers

It’s growing like a banshee, and it may kill you

Disclaimer #1 – I am unaware nor have I researched how quickly banshees grow, but I bet it’s freaking fast.

Disclaimer #2 – Maybe your mom can help.

Disclaimer #3 – But, I doubt it. Depends on your mom.

The other day I pulled up in my entirely non-automatic truck (no power steering, no power anything. I hope the whole your car represents who you are bit isn’t true. Wes Lapioli: No Power Anything, is pretty pathetic) and I saw this:

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Woah. What the crap is that thing? It seriously grew out of nowhere. The kicker is – we didn’t plant it. This was a couple weeks ago too. It’s out to the sidewalk, and it has about 20 pumpkins growing in there now.

While kinda cool – it is also freaking me out. Could there be vigilante gang bangers that  go around secretly planting huge plants in people’s yards? Hardcore gang. They’re called The West-side Greens – and they will jack up your yard man.

This whole plant coming out of nowhere caused me to put on my Descartes/Kant/Nietzsche hat (pick your flavor of philosopher).

Wes-face-self-reflection-race-thing BEGIN!

Is there perhaps something growing inside of me that isn’t me at all? Something I don’t want to cultivate? Something I really don’t want to be, become, and something I definitely did not plant? If I really take sometime and think about who I want to be – I sadly find a whole lot of uncontrollable pumpkin plants.

Chalk it up to culture, media, weakness, family history or the West-side Greens – it doesn’t matter.  This stuff is a part of who I am, and I don’t want it to be. Anybody manufacture any good soul weed (crazy unstoppable plant) killer?

What do you do to try and kill unwanted characteristics/patterns in your life? As a dude interested in human behavior I’d love to hear. If you don’t know – lets figure it out before these banshee plants rip our faces off.