Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An Argument for Federal Paid Time Off Laws

Ask people from other countries what they think of a typical American, and I’m certain you’ll hear a few responses saying that we are lazy.  And it’s difficult to argue against the viewpoint.  With 35% of the American population obese, our nation far outranks all others.  And people who are obese are lazy.

But wait one second.  That last sentence there isn’t all that accurate.  It’s hard to argue the definition of obesity, but laziness is something else entirely.  When I picture a lazy person, I visualize some guy sitting on a couch, his pot-belly hanging out under his shirt, munching on Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew and watching one television show after another that he’s recorded on his DVR (this may or may not describe me…….).  But I also picture this guy doing this all day, non-stop.  During evenings.  On weekends.  Pretty much any time he’s not working, this is what he’s doing.  So that’s definitely not me.  I enjoy television, and I’ve been known to sit and watch a few hours at a time, but rarely do I get the chance to do that!

Yes, sitting on a couch all day will make a person obese, but just sitting in general will as well.  And for the millions of office workers in the U.S., our jobs are partially (maybe mostly) to blame for our big butts.  Read a few of my earlier posts for more evidence toward that.  It’s very VERY difficult to be active when you are glued to a chair and a computer screen for eight hours a day.

Yet ask any office worker—or any worker for that matter—in America about taking time off to take care of themselves, and they’ll say it’s simply not possible.  I read an article about a new strain of norovirus (stomach flu) that is making its way around the U.S.  This part is a bit gross, but it is spread through fecal matter, and people who aren’t washing their hands thoroughly after using the restroom are contributing to its propagation.  Food workers, in particular, are tossing fuel on the fire because they may be ill, can’t take the time off to recover because most of them don’t have ANY paid time off, and thus are spreading these germs into the food that we eat.  Yum!  You can read more about it here: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16739631-norovirus-why-washing-your-hands-isnt-enough?lite

Here are some stunning facts on America’s PTO and vacation policies (source http://modernservantleader.com/servant-leadership/americas-struggle-with-vacation-and-paid-time-off/ --author of the article cited CNN):

America vs. Other Country Vacation Standards
America trails other countries when it comes to vacation.  The facts speak for themselves (source, CNN.com):
- Only 57% of U.S. employees use their entire allotted vacation time (Reuters/Ipsos)
- U.S. Employers are not obligated under any federal law to provide paid vacations
- More than 2 dozen industrialized countries require employers to offer 4 or more weeks of vacation (2009, Mercer)
- Finland, Brazil, and France guarantee employees 6 weeks of vacation
- Approximately 25% of U.S. workers do not have access to any paid vacation

So in other words, one could argue that we are working ourselves to death.  We get sick, we go to work.  We have a baby, our mothers go back to work when the child is only a month or two old, and our fathers are lucky to have any time off at all.  And even when we do have time off, we STILL work.  I was off for a week last week, and yet I still logged a half a dozen hours of work.  On days that I take PTO, I find myself checking my emails every half hour or so on my phone, and often times I’m finding myself remotely connecting to the office to take care of one task or another.  Some bosses even frown upon workers who use PTO, so much so that many are afraid to use all of their vacation days.  Doing so can be seen as a sign of weakness, of laziness, and even disloyalty to an employer.  And at best, workers who don’t use all of their PTO days wear it proudly like a badge.  “Oh yeah.  Look at me.  I only took off three days last year.”  The notion is just silly, is it not?

We have created a culture in America where we can’t relax, recuperate, or recover.

What else causes obesity, aside from inactivity and overeating?  Stress.  What increases the risk of chronic heart disease?  Stress.  What can lead to hair loss and/or gray or white hair? Stress.  And what causes stress?  Working too much.

Don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy working.  There are times when I need to exercise my brain, and I do that every day while on the job.  But there are times when I need to exercise my body, and there are times when I need to allow both my brain and my body to relax and recover, and those times are rapidly diminishing in our American society.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Miracle!

My second son was born last Friday, January 18, 2013.  I'm just completely amazed and awestruck by the fact that two people can create a life together, and when he entered the world right at 5 PM that day, you can only imagine the smile plastered across my face.  This adorable little creature is a part of me, an extension of me, and some day I hope he grows up to accomplish twice or three times what I will have accomplished in my life.

Of course, the entire delivery almost was a catastrophe.  My wife was induced at 7AM, and we literally sat around waiting and waiting and waiting until mid-afternoon.  They broke her water at around 1 PM, and at 2 they ordered her epidural.  We then waited and waited some more.  At 3:40, the nurse said she'd check her out again in an hour, and so I drove the 12 minutes or so back home to check on my eldest son and see how he was doing under his grandmother's care.  I was there for a brief 20 minutes when my wife called and told me to hurry back.  As soon as I walked back into her hospital room, the nurse asked her to start pushing, and fifteen to twenty minutes later, baby Benjamin greeted us.

My wife and Ben were discharged from the hospital last Sunday, but Ben became jaundiced and had to be readmitted on Tuesday for phototherapy sessions.  Definitely not fun having a child in the hospital, but luckily he did well and was discharged on Thursday.  We then spent a nice quiet weekend at home adjusting to life with our new little bundle of joy.

So that's where I have been the past couple of weeks--enjoying our little miracle.  I will pick back up posting here on a more regular basis now that things are finally settling back into a routine.  Of course, being woken up by a crying baby 4 times a night isn't all that fun (or very conducive to writing thought-provoking material), but I could stay awake for days staring at that beautiful little face, and that means I'll just have to work and try harder to entertain my readers while dealing with sleep deprivation.  I'm up for the challenge.

So yes, a busy start for me to the new year.  What have you all accomplished in the past four weeks?  Nothing yet?  Well then, get busy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Was Einstein an Alien?

In Back to the Future Part II, Doc Brown illustrates to Marty how his nemesis, Biff Tannen, used the DeLorean to travel back in time in order to change his life.  Biff gave the 1955 version of himself a sports almanac from the future and instructed him to bet on all the winning teams, thereby changing history and making himself wealthy.  The history that Doc Brown and Marty knew leading up to 1985 had thus been changed, and therefore they had to return to 1955 and stop future Biff from giving the almanac to his teenage counterpart.

If you’ve read my book, Paradox, you’ll notice some similarities.  I love time travel and the Back to the Future movies.  Sure, there are some glaring plot holes in Back to the Future—like the fact that Marty’s mother, Lorraine, falls in love with him in 1955, and that alone should have immediately eradicated Marty from existence—but we love fictional works on time travel because it’s such a mysterious and wildly speculative subject.  It’s something we’ll probably never achieve, because if we will, wouldn’t we be meeting all sorts of time travelling fellows from the future?

Perhaps we already have though.  While waiting for my wife at one of her appointments this morning, I was reading about how a recent experiment supports Einstein’s theory of a cosmological constant.  Scientists studied alcohol molecules from a galaxy 7 billion light-years away (don’t ask me how—still scratching my head on that one), but they discovered that the mass of protons and electrons were pretty much the same as they are on Earth.  Because the galaxy observed is 7 billion light years away, that means that the measurements taken come from a time 7 billion years ago (the time it took light to travel from there to here), and thus the mass has remained unchanged for over half the life of the universe (estimated at 13.7 billion years old).  The article went on to talk about dark energy and the implications of Einstein’s theory, but what I took from it was that Einstein was one heck of a smart dude to theorize all of this stuff and have it confirmed time and again.

Although here’s something I bet you didn’t know: Albert Einstein was NOT the smartest man in history.  His brain was collected prior to his cremation by a pathologist who then studied it along with numerous others.  The Sylvian fissure separating his parietal lobe was tiny, thereby making the feature approximately 15% larger than average.  The parietal lobe is responsible for visualizing in three-dimensions, spatial recognition, and, naturally, mathematics.

Einstein never took an IQ test, but his IQ is thought to have been around the neighborhood of 160.  That’s very high by most standards and comparable to another great scientist, Stephen Hawking, but there are plenty of others who are known to have IQs as high and even higher.  Dolph Lungren, yes the actor who will “break you”, has an IQ of 160.  The actor James Woods has an IQ of 180.  Jimmy Carter, Sharon Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and even adult film actress Asia Carrera are all known to have very high IQs.  And none—NONE—of those people have contributed to the human race like Albert Einstein.

Any Star Trek fan knows about the Prime Directive.  It basically states that the United Federation of Planets can have no interference in the development of an alien civilization.  And that sounds great and all, but seriously, that would likely never happen.  If we ever found another alien life-form or even civilization, you bet your bananas that we’d be trying to communicate with them, contact them, sending probes and cameras and postcards and episodes of I Love Lucy and whatnot to them.  And if they were technologically advanced enough, they’d probably be doing the same back.  For all we know, we could have Mars rover-like probes all over our planet already!

So for Albert Einstein, whose estimated intelligence wasn’t anything super-special, it’s certainly plausible that this guy was either from the future or from a distant alien race.  Both could explain the anomaly in his parietal lobe.  Both could explain how his theories keep holding up time and again—which is impressive considering all the work that has been done to prove him wrong.  Perhaps he was sent back from a future generation in an effort to speed up our scientific discoveries and whatnot.  We always say to ourselves, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”  Wouldn’t it be great to be blessed as a teenager with the knowledge we have in our thirties or forties or eighties?  Maybe that was his role—to travel back and “propose” theories that future generations know in fact to be true.  And if that's the case, and if he was just a messenger, maybe his intelligence is/was just average compared to the rest of his kind.  Wouldn’t that just be crazy?

Or maybe he was an alien, sent to Earth to gently push us along in our plight for answers to the universe and meaning of life.  You know, kinda like (illegally) teaching your kids how to drive when they are twelve so that they ace it when they turn sixteen.  My dad did that for me--mostly so that I could drive our car back to our wood shed to load up wood into the trunk in the winter so that he didn't have to--but I was well-versed in driving by the time I was old enough to do it legally.

If Albert Einstein was a time traveler or alien, perhaps he's even still somehow alive--smiling in on us from whatever dimension or planet or future he's residing in now.  If that's the case, thanks for all the theories!  Oh yeah, and live long and prosper!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Baby Watch

Well, my wife is due with our second child in a matter of days, and the baby watch is on.  The crib is set up, the new and hand-me-down clothes have all been washed in Dreft, boxes of diapers are standing by, packages of bottles are at the ready.  And here we are, just waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.

With my first-born, things were a bit different.  We were sleeping one night, nine days before her due date, and at one point my wife got up to go to the bathroom.  She came back, snapped the light on, and said to me, “I think my water broke.”  She then called the doctor while I went to use the restroom (having no clue when I’d get the chance to go again), and so at 2:30 AM we made the drive to the hospital.  We arrived without much ado, made our way to the baby floor, and were given our room.  Her pain gradually became worse, and after an hour or so we ordered an epidural.  An anesthesiologist came and administered it to her (although he was rather rude about it—luckily he was in and out and never to be seen again), and from that point on it was rather smooth sailing.  Baby Adam was born at about 10 til 10 AM, a 9 lb 2 oz monster with a full head of black hair.  I’ll never forget that moment in my life (I’m sure no father would), but as I put my finger down to his tiny little hand while he rested under the heat lamp, he grasped my finger.  Such a proud moment for any Pappa.  Anyway, we were out of the hospital within two days, and other than needing a bilirubin blanket for a few nights that first week, that was it.  Easy peasy.

Now with child number two, we are waiting.  I guess we just assumed that this little guy would come early like his big brother, but he seems content hanging out in Mommy’s womb.  She’s showing no signs of giving birth any time soon, and we suspect that her doctor will discuss inducing labor at her next OB/GYN appointment.

As an IT guy, I see having a baby somewhat like having a good disaster recovery plan.  I have lists and processes and procedures all mapped out for that impending moment.  I’ve initiated several steps, including having my sister on stand-by to pick up our eldest son from school if need be, having bags packed and ALREADY IN THE CAR, etc.  But things never quite go as planned, or else you can never really be one hundred percent prepared for everything.  Just as long as we’re not having a baby on the side of the road, or in the elevator on the way up to the baby floor…

But as you can imagine, I don’t have much time to write or blog right now.  So please pardon me if my posts become sparse over the next week or two.  As soon as we can get back into an established routine, I’ll get back to giving you all a piece of my mind on a regular basis!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Writer's (Lego) Block

I think I’ve hit a wall with my writing.  I pounded out three novels in a matter of eighteen months.  I had a fourth that I began to write, then put that one on hold and switched to another of a slightly different genre.  I’ve been working on the “other” book now for the past six months or so, and I have a decent concept but no direction.  I can’t figure out where I want my characters to go, how I want it to end, or anything in between.

It’s not that I have writer’s block.  At least I don't think.  I can write on and on aimlessly for hours and hours upon end.  I’m sure if you are a regular reader of my blog, that’s quite apparent.  My problem is that I can’t seem to put more than a few paragraphs together without getting distracted.  Or bored.  I’m thinking it’s probably time to put this one up on the shelf for a while as well and start a new concept, but I hate starting things and not finishing them.

It also doesn’t help matters that I had this brilliant idea in late October about a new book.  This thought spawned from a very real saga that I alone became witness to, and while the saga ended without much ado, it would play out wonderfully as a work of fiction.  Ever since that point, I’ve struggled on with my current novel, trying to hammer out some new ideas and give my characters more identity and purpose and plot.  But my thoughts are constantly trailing back to this other idea.

It's more like I have writer's Lego blocks.  I started on a magnificent castle, ran out of the pieces I thought I needed to finish, then examined the other options I had and started something new.  I'm sure the pieces were all there in my giant Lego block tub, but I either couldn't find them or needed a fresh perspective.  Maybe my castle needed another tower or levels or something of the sort.  Maybe if I come back to it in six months or a year, I'll look at it completely differently, get that spark I need, and create something amazing.

So that’s it.  I’ve decided, today, that my current novel is on hold while I pursue this new idea.  I’ll now have two half-novels, each about 25,000 words so far, sitting in my Google Drive waiting to be finished.  But why waste any more time working on something that only half interests me when I have a new project that I’m overly-excited to delve into?

I think everyone has this problem from time to time, and probably more often than most would admit.  We fear change.  We avoid the unknown.  Yet sometimes that’s exactly what we need.  Otherwise we keep moving along, beating a dead horse, going through the motions, etc. etc. etc.

Lack of inspiration is a common problem among writers and artists and creative types.  That’s probably why many of them tend to be “starving”.  They get so far with their work, become uninspired, and then either keep piddling with it for months or years or ultimately quit.

I will finish those two novels.  But I’ll finish them after this new idea—one that I’m fairly confident I can write in only a few short months.  Wish me luck.  And good luck to you if you ever find yourself in the same boat!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Not Down with the Sickness

Wow, it seems that nasty germs have been infecting anywhere and everywhere these past two weeks.  It’s as if all the stress of the holidays finally decided to take their toll on the immune systems of the masses.  Numerous people at my workplace have been out due to illness.  My son’s daycare/preschool had 6 kids out.  Luckily I have been spared, for the most part.  My son and mother though have not.

My mother actually got sick before the holidays, and luckily she has since recovered.  It was a nasty little virus that caused her to cough and wheeze for weeks though.

My little man seems to have acquired the flu.  I read that the flu shot, which he got 4-6 weeks ago, only covered 90% of the strains this year, and I really think he ended up with one that was in that 10%.  It began Saturday night with a high fever, chills, complaints of pain in his tummy and mouth (throat).  The doctor said our little monkey didn’t show signs of an ear infection, and he tested negative for strep.  The doctor was fairly certain a virus was at fault.  He didn’t actually say it was the flu, but I can’t imagine any other virus causing this much havoc.

As a parent, seeing your kids in pain is one of the worst things to experience.  Your child is like a mini little extension of you—one that needs to be nurtured and cared for and educated so that he or she may some day turn out, hopefully, twice the man or woman that you  are.  You literally will do anything and everything for your kids.  But when they are sick, it’s one of the most helpless feelings in the world.

For the past four days we’ve had to administer acetaminophen and ibuprofen to keep his fever at bay, alternating back and forth.  These two drugs are like a half a can of Pepsi or Coke compared to a triple espresso or two cans of Red Bull.  The acetaminophen does work, but it takes about an hour to kick in and lasts only a few hours.  The ibuprofen kicks in within 15-20 minutes, and he would go about 5 hours before his fever came roaring back.  Unfortunately you can’t give ibuprofen over and over, I’m assuming due to side effects.

When the medicine wears off, my son goes from a happy, go-lucky kid to being ultra-sensitive and super clingy.  He’s getting too big to pick up and carry around, yet that’s all he wants.  If you tease him or try to make him laugh, he bursts into tears.  He’s incredibly uncomfortable, and man does it just tug at your heart-strings.  I’d gladly trade with him and take the virus from him if it were possible, because seeing him that way is just awful.

He is doing better now.  He even made it through a full day of school.  Some little guys and girls aren’t quite so lucky.  A coworker’s one grandchild has been down for two weeks with this fever-causing bug.  I can’t imagine!

But as easily susceptible as we are to tiny bacteria and viruses, we really are strong creatures.  Unless we are older or very young or our immune systems are out of whack, our bodies seem to overcome the invasion and we get better.  We heal and live on to fight another day.

And for those of us who aren’t sick, we always try to help out the others, don’t we?  I personally think caring for each other is an innate behavioral response.  Some choose to ignore it, sure, but most of us will lend a hand or care for those who are sick or hurting.  Look at the public responses to Katrina and Haiti and Sandy, and you can see that people REALLY DO CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER.

Sometimes our world seems full of doom and gloom.  But for all the mass shootings and war crimes and terrorism and everything else we hear about in the news every day, there are hundreds of millions more acts of kindness and bravery that go unnoticed.  Doctors are treating sick children in impoverished states.  Firefighters and police officers and Armed Services members are putting their lives on the line every day to save lives and help those in need.  Sometimes it seems that there’s an awful lot of hate in the world, but maybe that’s because we all just haven’t opened our eyes wide enough to notice and appreciate the good.

Friday, January 4, 2013


So a teenager is driving along with his adult father in the passenger seat and two teenage siblings in the back seat.  He hears his cell phone chime, indicating that he has a new text message, and takes his eyes off the road to check it.  He has done this before and is rather careless behind the wheel--something his father probably knew about already, only this time he T-bones a van occupied by six people.  All six are injured, a few critically, but all will make a full physical recovery.  Emotional and mental scars may last forever, but they all lived.  Lucky for the teenager.

He’s arrested and charged, and the judge suspends his driving privileges for a period of 15 years.  Prosecutors want the adult father charged as well, and the police and prosecutors and entire judicial system goes back and forth on whether or not the father has committed a crime.  The father claimed he had no idea why his son reached for the cell phone—he hadn’t even heard the text message—and so why should he be at fault?  Prosecutors still push, and he is ultimately arrested and charged with negligence and is awaiting trial.

Several months after all this happens (but prior to the father being convicted of any wrongdoing), the father gets a letter from his insurance company.  The letter barely mentions the teenage driver, and instead states that the father and his two other children who were merely passengers in the car will now be forced to pay $20,000 per year, and that this is a mandatory fee.  They will also never be permitted to own cell phones, will always have to drive with both hands on the steering wheel, must only drive lime green 1994 Geo Metros for a period of four years, as well as several other unreasonable mandates.  Failure to do so will result in a complete and total ban of insurance by both the insurance company and any other insurers.  In other words, if they don’t comply, they can all kiss their driving privileges goodbye.

The father has money, and he knows that if he fights the insurance company and loses, his children will suffer.  Trying to minimize damages, he pays the fee and buys lime green 1994 Geo Metros for his two other technologically-deprived teenage children.

Yeah, this would never happen.  It’s just too bizarre, right?  Not for Penn State students, faculty, and alumni.  I don’t care much for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and his politics, but his reasons for filing a lawsuit against the NCAA seem sound to me.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Blog Year in Review

So 2012 is no longer.  It seemed to fly by in our household.  It was also a year filled with a lot of tragedy on the national level and also right in my back yard (Geeseytown is about 7 miles from my house).  I was listening to the year in review on the radio, and the number of mass shootings and Superstorm Sandy and all of the lost lives was tough to listen to.  I’m an optimist, a dreamer, a person who sees the glass half full, drinks it, and then fills it back up.  Let’s hope 2013 is a happier, healthier, safer year for everyone.

But looking back at a microcosm of 2012, my blog, I just have a few observations to share.  I came in just a hair below 3000 hits over the course of the year, although I have no statistics from when I switched from WordPress to Blogger, so I’m sure it was quite a bit more.  Not bad for some unknown, shaggy-bearded guy from the middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania (that’s Altoona, Pennsylvania, by the way, and no I’m not saying I dislike the city—I obviously like it enough to keep living here—just that few people outside of Pennsylvania have ever even heard of it).  But yeah, people actually are paying attention to what I have to say, and for those of you who do, THANK YOU!

I have to chuckle at the most popular posts from my blog.  Overwhelmingly landing at number one was my post on the PSU scandal—I think less about the content and mostly because people liked the PSU emblem I included in the post.  The second one, which has me just shaking my head, is the post regarding why people hate Leann Rimes.  In that post I dissected how people were too obsessed with celebrities, and the fact that dozens upon dozens of people read that post is proof enough.  More on that in a second.  Third was a post on people who love drama, fourth was my post last month on weight loss, and fifth was a post on weird bodily stuff that included a snippet on bangs covering one eye being the cause of a lazy eye (this rumor must have a lot of teens and twenty-somethings worried for it to be clicked on so much!)  The one post I thought would have garnered the most attention, labeled “I Won the Powerball!!!!”, came in eighth—just behind “What Happened to Colored Toilet Paper.”  That’s a bit comforting to know that people care about beige and blue toilet paper just about as much as me winning hundreds of millions of dollars in the lottery (which I did NOT, by the way, in case you didn’t read that post).

My blog stats also include lists of keywords that people used to find my blog.  The top key words were “penn state”, so that’s not surprising.  Next was my actual URL: rastrohman.blogspot.com.  Amazingly, four of the remaining eight related to Leann Rimes: "why do people hate leann rimes", "hate leann rimes", "I hate leann rimes", "lean rimes hated".  By this logic, if I (or any other blogger) just included the most hated celebrity names in their post titles, we’d have some rather successful (albeit shameful) blogs.  I guess people still hate Leann Rimes though.  Seriously read that post (dated August 1, 2012)!

Another surprising stat was the audience.  I had readers from 10 different countries and every state in the U.S., but I was a little shocked to see that Firefox was the top browser used (32%).  IE came in second at 25%, Chrome—what I use—came in third at 17%, Safari fourth at 12%, and Opera fifth at 6%.  Of the operating systems, Windows was the top at 68%, Mac second at 11%, iOS third at 8%, Linux fourth at 5%, and Android fifth at 2%.  Somehow I guess I imagined iOS and Android being higher up there, but I guess people are still using desktop computers and laptops more than I had suspected.

I didn’t make much money from my blog, but that’s not really why I’m doing it.  Still, I pulled in $3.04 since June.  If you want to add to my piggy bank, feel free to click on the ad links on the side.  Even if you close the page immediately after clicking on the links, each click gives me some extra pennies that I’ll then end up spending in Toys R Us on my two boys.

Finally, and the main reason I blog, my 2012 novel Terminal Restraint had 37 page views since I posted the page in early October.  I’ve had slightly more downloads and previews, but I just have to say that this was my best novel to date, and people are taking notice.  It’s not too scary and not vulgar at all, but it does touch upon some taboo subjects.  It’s a great story though, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so!

That's it for 2012!  I'll keep on entertaining in 2013!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

To New Beginnings

I always give myself resolutions for the New Year, and I never stick to them.  If I had, I’d probably be slim, rich, a well-known author of twenty published novels, have three or four degrees and numerous certifications, etc.  Yeah, maybe I’m giving myself too much to do.  Instead of reaching for all the stars, maybe I should be reaching for just one.  Or maybe I shouldn’t be reaching for the stars at all.  Maybe I should be reaching for the entire galaxy.

My problem is that I can’t decide on just one area I need to improve.  I know that if I really focused on just one thing, like my writing for example, I could pound out two or three books in a year.  But darnnit if life doesn’t get in the way, and then I’m spending time exercising or reading up on news or tinkering with a new gadget or wondrous piece of technology and my books sit on my digital shelf gathering digital dust.  And the next thing I know, my resolution is lost or at the very least muddled, and then I’m scrambling to get it back on track, and then by June or July I’ve given up on it entirely.

This year I think I’m going to simply focus on being a better person.  I know it may sound like a bit of a cop out, but hear me out.  Rather than just focusing on every little goal, I’m going to set one big umbrella-like goal for myself: improve on the person I’ve become.

How should I go about doing that?  Well, I’d already say I’m a pretty good father, but in a few weeks I’ll be a father twice over when we welcome our second son to the world.  Will I be as successful raising two boys as I have so far raising one?  Challenges await me, I’m well aware, but that’s one area of how I intend to become a better person.

Will I lose a bunch of weight?  Hopefully, but that’s not really what I’m focusing on.  Eating healthier, being more active, drinking more water, etc.—all of these things will contribute to weight loss, and if I’m better at all of them, I should see a difference.

What about my writing?  Well, I’ve realized over the past year with my blog and my novels that I tend to write too much.  I write and write and write and then spend eons rewriting and editing.  Look at some of my previous blog posts, and you can only imagine the time I spent on them.  So don’t be surprised if these posts become much shorter.

I think it’s a good resolution.  Be a better person.  No more crankiness when I’m sick or driving or stressed.  Just be a better person.  Hopefully this one will last.  Hopefully.