How a hardcore rap album helped teach me about financial responsibility

This is not a post I was proud to write, publish, and share with the world forever. But it’s something I wanted to document for myself and for the future.

Twenty years ago today was the first of several times in my younger adult years that I truly experienced what it was like to be broke. While this is not an anniversary I look fondly upon, it did help me begin to learn financial lessons that have proven invaluable.

Many will read this story and roll their eyes because it is, admittedly, a #whitewhine or #firstworldproblem. But it was an eye-opening experience for a college freshman who grew up in a firmly middle-class family and whose parents sacrificed a lot to provide their three sons with the expensive shoes, toys, and experiences that kids gravitate toward.

What could have caused this feeling? I was attending a swanky, private college two states away from home, had a dormitory roof over my head, and a meal plan with so much credit available that most days I struggled to spend my allotment.

Brace yourselves for the horror: I did not have the cash in hand (nor the credit, but we’ll get to that) to purchase Cypress Hill’s “Temples of Boom” album during its release week.

Continue reading How a hardcore rap album helped teach me about financial responsibility

Finally! A high quality version of a childhood favorite

It took years and years of (very) occasional searches, all of which came up fruitless. A couple times I came across a low-quality version that temporarily satiated my appetite for childhood nostalgia, but it was never good enough.

Happily, times have changed. Today I am happy to announce that I am now the forever-owner of a high-quality version of the “Two-Fisted Slopper” video that was shown on the Milwaukee County Stadium (RIP) scoreboard during Milwaukee Brewers home games during the 1980s and 90s!

(h/t to the Cait Covers The Bases MLB blog for posting this video, and for allowing downloads!)

Celebrating One Year of Self-Employment

I originally wrote this piece for my business website, but decided it also was very appropriate for this site. Plus, I don’t get to post here as often as I’d like, so yada yada yada two birds, one stone …

Wow. That’s all I can say about the past year, and that’s a wonderful thing.

It was 12 short months ago — June 1, 2013 — that I officially launched Why The Fuss? Technical Solutions with nothing more than an idea, a loose plan of what I wanted to do and accomplish, and a small loan from our savings account.

You better know who you are
And where you come from
Lay the path to the place where you belong
From the day you were born
To where you trod on
No one holds you to limitation

— Steven Rene Jacobo | Tribal Seeds

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Firing up the Wayback Machine

I always have been amazed by how much of my day-in, day-out life is lost over time in the clutter of my memory. Yet, a gentle reminder can trigger such a flood of recollection it’s almost as if the events and memories are suddenly fresh in my mind. And, more so, how said memories, viewed in this context, help me understand where I have been, how far I have come, and exactly how I came to be the person I am today.

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My newest adventure

I realize I haven’t written anything in this space for quite some time, and I apologize; however, there is good reason, which I will get to shortly.

From an early age I always have had something of an entrepreneurial spirit. I recall being 4 or 5 years old and trying to sell my (and, most likely, my brothers’ …) “surplus” toys while the next-door neighbor held a garage sale. A few years later, buying/selling baseball cards and yard work were my main hustles. It just seemed like I always had some great, new idea by which I thought I could make money.

At some point, I lost that instinct; or, rather, it was suppressed for several years while I was busy trying to succeed in a “real job” in the “real world.” Unfortunately for me, this all too often required me to sacrifice who I was in exchange for a paycheck. It never sat well with me, but at the time I believed that it was what I had to do in order to “make it” and please those around me.

Then came the spring and summer of 2012, during which I faced some of the most significant challenges and hurdles — both personal and professional, physical, mental and otherwise.

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I absolutely adore Jennifer Lawrence

I love my talented and beautiful wife more than words can express. That said, I have to admit that in my mind, Jennifer Lawrence comes in second (a distant second, mind you …). I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about her, but her “I’m a normal person, just like you” persona is a big part of it.

5/22/2014 update: The original video wasn’t working, so I thought about taking this post down altogether. Then I saw the clip posted above and deemed it to be even more perfect than the one originally placed on this page!

Easter Sunday baseball memories

Easter Sunday 1987 was spent riding in the car, returning from a spring break trip to my grandparents’ home in southern Minnesota. We had been there a few days and I was only able to follow the Brewers’ season-opening win streak via the daily newspaper. It wasn’t ideal (especially compared to today and the ease of following things via the Internet) but I knew they were going for 12 straight (and free George Webb burgers for all!).

As soon as we got close to La Crosse I began feverishly searching the AM dial, looking for the broadcast. I remember the Crew not doing so well and the car ride taking FOREVER. I was left to sit and think about what might have been.

Then, as we passed through Madison and hit Highway 12 east, fortunes began to change. The Crew mounted the historic comeback we all remember.

When Rob Deer’s ball left the park (and I believe Uecker initially said it traveled completely over the County Stadium bleachers) we were approaching Cambridge.

A few batters later, when Sveum went yard to win the game, we were riding through downtown Cambridge and tears began streaming down my face. It was the first time baseball caused me to have that sort of reaction — I was too young to know what was going on in 1982 — but it certainly wasn’t the last time.

I love the Internet for many reasons; the ability to instantly relive great memories is just one!

‘The Shot’: Five years later

Drake BulldogsIn life, there are moments of sheer, exuberant ecstasy, when it seems as is the entire universe is bowing down solely to you. Conversely, there also are moments of devastating, gut-wrenching disappointment. Rarely does one get to (or, perhaps, have to) experience both of these extremes in a matter of minutes.

But five years ago today, I did. And I have refused to allow myself to re-live that moment (intentionally, at least) since. Today it is time to put all of that to bed and finally make peace with something I will be reminded of each March until the end of my time on this planet.

Continue reading ‘The Shot’: Five years later