Longing for Adventure 

Wow, trying to figure out how to post again on WordPress. I guess it has been a little bit over a year. Too much happening or just binge watching “Game of Thrones.” I wanted to post another poem from my daughter for comment. I enjoy them so, and will polish them up is she lets me. This one she didn’t. She was inspired from our Friday night Dungeons and Dragons game. (The pic is my son and I shooting rockets several years ago. As you can see my wife’s overzealous safety measures)

Longing for Adventure

Longing for adventure we sit in this room,

ticking past minutes as day reaches noon.

We will no longer be kept trapped up in here

as we set out for adventure in our very best gear.

Armed with swords, arrows and spears,

We sneak out of the room as dark soon nears.

Hidden by shadows the dark reaches night,

As we plan to be back before the first light.

As we reach the courtyard we sneak past the guard who’s too busy to even care

Continuing there, it’s too late to be scared.

In the stillness of the night, around the corner and under the trees,

We crouch down low to crawl on our knees.

Snickering, punching, and stifling laughter,

we narrowly avoided a grave disaster;

A mother scolding her child for being out at night,

As they left we saw the most wondrous sight;

Of fireflies blinking in small specks of light.

We head back knowing that dawn will soon strike,

wondering and preparing for what to do the next night.

We sneak back into the room holding a new secret of something to do,

next time we’re longing for adventure.
Please comment. Thanks.

The Day I Lost my Innocence 

I remember it like it was yesterday. I came home from a grueling day of baseball practice proceeded by an even worse day of school. “What’s for dinner mom?” I shouted as I blasted through the door with my dog Chase at my side. “Red beans” mom said, “and go wash up” I heard as I was running to the bathroom. I was so hungry, it seemed like forever since I last ate. I ran to the table and sat down at my place. What was this? I thought to myself. This did not look like red beans. “Mom, what is this?” I said as the hunger pains were welling up in my stomach. “Why these are baby red beans” she said as coolly as a used car salesman on a Detroit auto lot. I looked back down at my plate. Could it be? Was this some exotic legume I did not know about? OK I thought, succumbing to my hunger. I took a bite. “Do you like them?” mom said. “They are alright, don’t taste like red beans though.” I replied. As I ate, the hunger soon faded and I decided I wasn’t much into dinner anymore.  “Go clean your plate and get ready for bed” she said with a grin of a Chelsire cat. I took my plate and what was left to scrape off into the garbage can. The horror, oh the horror, there in the garbage staring up at me were two empty cans of field peas like some severed head to be discovered at the scene of a crime. I turned to my mom, the innocence of my youth tattered in ruins, “you lied to me” I said with a tremble in my voice.  “Oh don’t be a baby” she chuckled, “now go to bed.”

As always, comments are appreciated.

Call of the Wild and Leadership

I must admit, I’ve been away from WordPress for quite awhile. Things get hectic and work’s been a absolute bear. And with work comes leadership training.  One requirement for the leadership course was a book essay. I took a different path from the regular leadership books and read and wrote about Call of the Wild. I’d thought I’d share.

Call of the Wild

A Leadership Perspective

Jack London 1903

1 Minute Summary

The story Call of the Wild is written from the perspective of a dog named Buck. Buck is a porch dog of Saint Bernard and Scottish Shepard mix who watches over his master’s estate in California. He is kidnapped one night by a servant and sold to traders to be taken to the Northern territory to work as a sled dog in the harsh conditions in the 1800 Yukon gold rush. Buck has to overcome many obstacles and hardships. He learns of cruelty and survival. Through the course of the book, Buck shows his tenacity and leadership. He becomes part of a team, eventual leader, and faces insurmountable challenges. He is eventually saved from a certain death and becomes loyal to his final owner. Buck is drawn to the Arctic wilderness and eventually becomes leader of a pack of wolves and fully evolves from a domestic dog to answer the Call of the Wild.

Buck’s Leadership Qualities and the Team He Leads

Buck changes throughout the story from a pampered Southern house dog into the leader of a pack of sled dogs. Buck proved that he could become a leader by adapting to his surroundings and situations, learning from his teammates, coordinating his team of sled dogs, and by attempting to accomplish his given tasks regardless of the effort it might take. Buck demonstrated his ability to adapt both mentally and physically, with examples being his use of creativity to defeat Spitz and needing to eat less as time passed with him in the Yukon. Buck was capable of learning from both his situation and his teammates to survive in his new environment; his usage of sleeping in the snow (which was first practiced by his fellow sled dogs) is an example of this capability. Buck showed leadership skills in coordinating his team of sled dogs after taking over Spitz’s position as lead dog, as before he accomplished this task the dogs were not working together productively. Finally, Buck demonstrated his determination when he was owned by the Scott, heedless of the weight of the load he was pulling or of the distance he had to travel; Buck never gave up or stopped working.

Buck constantly had to deal with change. Even at the end of the book, Buck went through a transition phase where he would go back and forth from the wild to his domestic life until finally reaching the point in which he makes the decision to stay with his wolf pack.

The Team

Just as we all have served on diverse teams, Buck too was no different. His team consisted of: 

Spitz: Original dog sled leader and Buck’s rival who lead with fear and intimidation.

Curly: Buck’s first friend on the team and a bit naive.

Dave: Another of Buck’s first companions and one of the most knowledgeable sled dogs. Dave comes to life when he is in the harness, motivated and takes pride in his work.

Sol-leks: Like Dave, he is aloof until attached to the sled. He has suffered poor treatment in the past.

Billie: Good-natured and sweet, shows Buck how to make a bed in the snow. Billie is a friendly and helpful member of the team.

Joe: Billie’s brother and is always snarling and defensive.

Pike: Often referred to as “the malingerer.” He rarely gets up on time, steals food and generally undermines the expedition. When Buck becomes leader, he forces Pike to shape up and become a helpful member of the team.

Dub: The awkward goof ball of the team.

When we examine all the members of Buck’s team, we can relate each of them to similar people who have served on teams with us.

Biography of Jack London

London is a San Francisco native, born in the late 1800’s and was a traveler and adventurer in his youth. London not only traveled on trains and ships, but also participated in the Yukon gold rush. London used these experiences for inspiration in his stories. Writing and getting published greatly disciplined London and because of this, he made it a practice to write at least a thousand words a day. Jack London is recognized in literature more for his inspirational stories about man and nature than for his literary prowess.

Why I chose the book

While helping my son study for his English courses, we came into the discussion of the book Call of the Wild. I had remembered the book from school when I was younger, but I didn’t think I was ever required to read it. In our talks, I developed a fondness for the book and put it on my list of “Things to Read.” I had always heard the book mentioned when people discussed leadership, so I took the opportunity not only to read the story of a dog named Buck and his call to the wild but to use it to discuss life’s lessons and leadership.

Happy Hallowtween

Here I am, both my kids are tweens and trying to find their place with the holiday.  I think they are getting a little old for Halloween (it seems to be centered around the little tykes) but I can see their struggle with still wanting that bit of childhood.  Maybe I just wanted to sit at home with a big bucket of popcorn and watch scary movies this time. We still had the dilemma of picking that perfect costume. Over the years we’ve been bugs, princesses, pirates, ninjas, witches, fairies, zombies, Roman soldiers, and the Grimm Reaper. The corn mazes seem to be done but we are slowly moving to the haunted houses. (with much trepidation) Any other readers at this phase? How do you do Halloween? Maybe it’s time for house parties and sleep overs?

Black Holes and G-Waves

Packed up for a day trip and took the family out to Livingston Louisiana for Science Saturday at the LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory. I have to admit, my family is a bunch of Astro-nerds who don’t mind sitting in a science lecture, so this was pretty much up our alley.

We hadn’t been here in a while but wanted to see what was happening with the recent wave discovery they had. For those of you who really aren’t into science or hadn’t paid attention, the science world was rocked with the detection of gravitational waves caused by the collision of 2 black holes in a distant galaxy over a billion years ago. One of them was 36 times as massive as the sun, the other 29 times. As they approached the end, at half the speed of light, they were circling each other 250 times a second. The two holes coalesced into a single black hole with the equivalent mass of 62 suns. All in a fifth of a second, Earth time. That event rippled through space time and was detected at LIGO.

Freakin Awesome! I guess Einstein was right. 

This was a great time for kids and adults. The exhibit hall was very nice with lots of demos and the staff was very friendly and knowledgable. The lectures were very informative covering the history of LIGO and the discovery of the black hole wave. It was nice to see the large crowd and the interest in the facility.

Mike the Tiger 2005-2016

This is Mike VI, the mascot of the LSU Tigers. He was euthanized today because of inoperable brain cancer. I didn’t intend to write this today, but as I was driving home from work I heard the news. This picture of Mike is one my daughter took with my phone while he was sleeping. Like many fans of LSU, we often take our children to see Mike on the LSU campus hoping to instill a sense of pride and devotion to higher learning and education. Many may not know but Mike was a rescue animal when he found his home in Baton Rouge.  I spent many a hour just being a dad with my kids in front of his den trying to get a good look. He had one of the whitest faces of any tiger I have ever seen. My kids and I will miss him.

App-ally Distracted 

In my house, spelling test can be a problem, and in my daughter’s case, you would have thought I asked her to cut off an arm instead of writing her spelling words. Such a drama queen. Lucky for me, I found just the app I was looking for. “My Spelling Test” was an app that allowed me to input her spelling words into my tablet and then it would call them out for her to spell. At the end, it would give the score. You can practice over and over with no pressure and make a game out of studying for spelling. Check out the apps, there may be the right one for you.

The 7 reasons I hate you Franklin Covey

There I said it. Someone had to. Anyway there are way more than 7 reasons. In fact, I won’t even give you the satisfaction of making a list. You call it Leadership, Keys to Success, Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, Myers-Briggs and some sort of “Color” I turned out to be.
I call it Labeling, Subjection, Compartmentalizing, Formulation, and Brain Washing. You want me to have “Skills for Good Program Management” Then leave me alone to do my job. 

You know, maybe it’s NOT the way I formulized the question; maybe my co-worker is just a dumbass.
Not everyone is always on the same page. We are all different with different goals. I am not some variable that can be plugged into a formula to get an expected outcome. Shame on you.

It’s like anything in life. Some days you’re the lion and other days you’re the zebra.

What makes a good leader? It’s simple.
It’s when others see in you a path that can get them to where they want to be.

“You want to be a leader?” Then shed the shackles of conformity and blaze a new path. I’m sure George Washington didn’t know his MBTI type.

Author’s Note: This diatribe was formulated on the way to yet another mandated Franklin Covey training session. Like leadership can be bottled up and packaged like Coca-Cola. (insert sarcasm here) A bit ironic that the future leaders are being lead into training like lemmings heading off the cliff. Now I know there are some of you who follow and believe in this method, it’s just not me, and we too have a voice and a difference of opinion.

Poem

I must say, still being new to the wordpress.com community, I am pretty impressed with all the writings that people have posted, especially the poetry. Now I’m not a big English Lit guy and have long put my books away only to revisit now and then in my children’s schoolwork. This brings me to today’s blog. Every year in the spring, my children’s Montessori School puts on a “Mother’s Day Tea” in which the children recite a poem from memory for all the moms in attendance. My daughter, not to be outdone by her brother who could memorize Hamlet if he had to, wrote her own. It was a pleasant little poem that only needed a bit of tweaking from a loving dad to have a nice transition. She wanted no part of my intrusion and quit talking to me for a couple of days. We have since made amends and here is the poem.

Blow a Kiss

Blow a kiss to the sky
Every night your dream flies by
In the morning as you wake
Another chance you will take
To make that dream come true and then
When the night comes once again
To dream a dream that you will fly
Very high above the sky 

Hannah at age 8