Short week

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Due to the weather this week we had a shorter week of work. What this means for me is that I am less motivated to do stuff. Kinda used to the go go go lifestyle. With all of this nothing going on I stay up later. Then my daughter wakes me up early too. So sleep deprived I’m here writing tonight. just to write. So find 2 minutes and babel like this.

Join the PTQ Team Today!!

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I’ve noticed a serious lack in output here at PTQ lately.

Technically, this is a good thing since the original intent of this entire blog was to get me and the two lovely ladies I write with back into the mix as regular bloggers at our own bitchin’ sites (links along the right hand column, y’all).

Things have been slow-going, but we’re definitely on the right path back to regular postingness.

I’ve attempted to recruit more writers for PTQ and the results have not been pretty. I know of at least half a dozen bloggers who are damn good writers, but have fallen off the wagon (or are back on the wagon—I can never keep it straight) in terms of their own blogging.

I have invited all of those peeps and I’ve heavily pimped PTQ to them as well. Thus far, we’ve gained one new blogger, my brother. He’s written sporadically—granted, we’ve all written sporadically—as he is just now joining the world of writers/bloggers/journalers/ranters/etc.

I’m very proud to have him not only in the mix here at PTQ, but writing in general. I’ve long been a writing pimp and tried to get anyone and everyone on the bandwagon, because—and let’s be honest here folks—writing is effing awesome.

If you’re mad; you can write about it. If you’re happy; you can write about it. If you’re in love with a zebra; there’s a whole separate section of the internet for you, but you can sure as hell write about it—likely under a pseudonym.

I’m all about writing.

My efforts here have waned considerably from posting everyday to posting once or twice a week at best. I’m down with that. It means that my own blogs are slowly (but surely) working their way back into shape.

I’m still busy out of my mind at work and in my personal life, but I really—REALLY—want nothing more in my life than to write. I think I’ve got a knack for it and I’m fairly personable in the sense that my writing often sounds exactly like the way I speak.

As such, it’s not too hard to picture yourself drinking a beer and listening to me ramble on, yet all the while I’m sitting across the world pounding on some keys and—well—drinking a beer.

Anyway, this has gotten really long-winded ( likely because I’m actually drinking whiskey and not beer tonight ) but the long and short of it is that we need some new writers here at PTQ to keep this enterprise going.

If you—or someone you know—wants to write more or needs an outlet, let me know, this is the place for you.

PTQ is meant to get writers writing.

Let me know if you need that push.

Immoral

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Immorality, it’s a problem that’s been plaguing America for years. Lately it seems like there are no people with morals anywhere. You listen to the news and hear about shootings and robberies. Then you watch politics and they seem even more corrupt than ever. I am starting to lose my faith in this “great” country.

For example, in the generally mundane and patently boring place that I live, there have been many immoral acts lately. I am not one to preach but this is getting ridiculous. There are eight families, that I know of personally, who have been torn apart as a result of cheating. That means eight more divorces in Iowa. One of the couples had been married for almost 20 years. Three others were married anywhere from eight to twelve years. The other four I’m not entirely sure how long they were married, but the point is they were married. I feel that this is utterly unimaginable. I have been married for almost five years now and can’t imagine being with anyone else.

The kicker in these situations is that the cheaters feel they truly did nothing wrong. They won’t take the blame for ruining the marriages. All of the families have children that will now have to meet new people and adjust to them as their “new family.” In total, there are (give-or-take) 23 children between these families. This is what makes it so hard to stomach. Each family already has one parent trying to turn the children against the other parent for personal gain. The worst part of writing this is that I keep remembering more couple that have recently been split as a result of cheating. I started with two sets of families and at this point I’m up to eight families that have been divided.

I may not be the most moral person, but when I look around and listen to everything going on right now, I look pretty good. This is coming from the guy who was “Mr. Immoral” in high school. Many people, most of whom I haven’t talked to since high school, would probably think that I am still the same guy. I’m not. Not by a long shot, but it is hard to change a person’s mindset on who you are – as opposed to who you were – when you’ve changed for the better. When you do something bad, however, it changes in a heartbeat.

I feel that we, as a people, need to change the direction this country is headed. All I see is bad, worse, and worst. I challenge all of you (even if it is only one or two people) to make a change. We have to try to correct this mess of a country that we all live in. I want my daughter or daughters (not sure if new baby is boy or girl yet) to grow up in a place where you can trust people. Where your children are safe and so are you. Where you don’t need to wonder what your wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend is doing. Where your wedding vows mean something other than “I get half of everything you have” or “you get to pay me to do nothing.”

I AM SICK OF THIS.

I know many may not like this post, but I’m venting. I will probably post many topics like this. Anger management and venting is one major goal of my blogging. Along with just telling my stories. Stay tuned for the “Blown Cellulose Chronicles” starting soon. This will be writings about the job sites, the people, and the general crap I put up with each day as I work insulating.

Workaholic…

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This word has been used very often to describe me. My parents say it, my in-laws say it, and my wife definitely says that I’m a workaholic. I’m positive it’s the first word she uses when telling someone about me. It makes a guy wonder if it’s a good thing or a bad thing to be given such a label. I feel that your job, and how you are devoted to it, show more about who you are than your other daily actions do. If a person works hard day in and day out it shows they love or enjoy what they do. Seeing the pleasure that a person gets out of fulfilling a dream or goal is priceless. Personally, the more I work, the happier I am. This doesn’t mean that I’m not happy when not working. Right now while writing this I am having my daddy daughter night and couldn’t be happier.

The idea of happiness at work seems to be an oddity to many people. They show up just in time in the morning and run to the door at lunch. They struggle to drag themselves back in for the last half of the day. Then they just count down the minutes till the five-o-clock whistle. It takes two afternoons worth of work in the typical work environment to equal the productivity that one typical morning produces. A person who loves their job or at least enjoys it and has a passion for it has steady production all day.

This is where I reach out to all the people who dislike their job. QUIT!!!! If you don’t like what you’re doing you are not only cheating yourself but your employer and everyone around you. Your family will suffer because you won’t have true happiness no matter what you think. Yes, having a well-paying job is nice, but like everyone says “money can’t buy happiness.” I have some very nice things and I appreciate them because I worked hard for them. Every moment I get with my family I make the most of. These moments come and go way too quickly. You never know when your family will be taken from you. One day you could get a call to hear that a good friend has cancer; that in their scans they look like a Dalmatian with all the cancer spots. These are the reasons that I never get a break about working so much.

I work from seven to five, five days a week. Saturdays I work from when my babysitter shows up till whenever I stop. Sundays are my day off, to spend with family. With our work we go just about anywhere so I leave home at six-thirty and usually don’t get home till six-thirty. When I am home at night I play with my daughter and sit and talk with my wife. If I have time and they don’t mind I work on our house. Does this make me a workaholic? Or just a guy that wants to get something done in a day? What is so wrong with making as much progress as you can? There are only so many hours in a day and I intend to use as many as I can to get done what I need to.

This work ethic was installed in me at a young age. My father is a great man, I give him a lot of shit but I really look up to him. He had all three of us boys by the time he was my age. He worked a normal nine to five and took care of hogs during his free time to earn extra cash. At one point he had pigs at three different places. From the time I was deemed old enough, I was his ride along buddy right there on the passenger seat. These are memories that I’ll never forget. He would work from sun-up to sun-down. He did anything he had to do put food on the table (which took a lot) and clothes on our backs. If he had a little extra money he would improve something. This is a virtue that I have kept with me a tried to help other people understand. Do what you can, Rome wasn’t built in a day, your house can be redone one window at a time. Every little bit will help and get you that much closer. I work with my dad every day this has created a bond I wouldn’t trade for millions of dollars.

I started working full-time during the summer when I was twelve. I fell in love with hard work, it sounds odd I know. With this job I quit playing baseball, I love baseball, but work came first. My brother on the other hand loves baseball more than anything. Instead of working construction he worked making pizza. The pay wasn’t nearly as good. I didn’t understand back then why he would choose to work there and make less. Now I see that with that job it gave him the time to do things that he loved and he didn’t care for construction. When I realized this I gained a new respect for my brother.

Every person has the potential to do something they care about. The hard part is having the drive to do it. Many people still criticize me for quitting college after one year. I was 3.0 and hardly there. It just wasn’t for me. They all say you had potential to do so much could have done something more. Is what I do not good enough?? Is being a carpenter/electrician/plumber/landscapers/etc. not enough? This is why I let my wife choose what she wanted to do. I wanted her to have the same happiness that I have with my job.

With all of this is it bad to be a workaholic??

It Might Be About Damn Time To Get My Shit Together

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Much of my adult—or whatever you call your mid-twenties—life has been spent dreaming of a career that involves either writing or baseball or—in some perfect world—writing about baseball.

(Note: I’ve recently made peace with the fact that I won’t be playing baseball or, more than likely, working in baseball for a living.)

Instead, I’ve made my millions multiple-hundreds in the “library services” world.

There was, however, a glorious period of time (ie: the fall/winter of ’09) in which my baseball writing was top-notch and I eventually become the top-ranked baseball writer at the burgeoning sports website, “BleacherReport.”

As is often the case, my writing was hindered by Christmas vacation and then was absolutely obliterated by a dang-near year-long battle with writer’s block.

As has proven to be the case in the past, a trip home to Iowa was enough to re-charge the batteries and get me feeling the need/urge/craving/etc. to write again.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to really get my ass back into gear in regards to my baseball writing. Most of this is because my beloved Minnesota Twins haven’t really done a damn thing beyond trade away the shortstop I have a man-crush on.

Today, however, I received reason enough to get my shit together in the form of an email from the fine folks at BleacherReport that read:

“We want the members of the Bleacher Report community of writers to be the first to know about this coming opportunity.

Bleacher Report will start hiring a small number of writers for part-time paid writing positions immediately – a limited number at first, but more over time. These paid writers will be given specific assignments by Bleacher Report editors and be responsible for meeting goals – volume, traffic and engagement, and quality.

We will accept some external applications but, for the most part, Bleacher Report will look to source candidates for these paid writing positions from our existing writer base. Our best Featured Columnists will be considered for these positions.

Newer writers may qualify for the Featured Columnist program by proving themselves consistent contributors of high-quality entertaining content and demonstrating expertise in a specific relevant subject area.

There is no need to apply directly for these paid positions; over the course of several months, our editors will reach out to writers who qualify.”

I know, right?!

Now, I don’t want to get the cart ahead of the horse here, because I’m certainly not the world’s greatest baseball writer. I’m not big into sabermetrics and I’ve got no real cable, so I don’t get to watch 1,000 games a year, but I generally know what I’m talking about despite a lack of live games and ESPN-infused insight.

I’m a dude who does his research and legitimately loves the game more than he does some of his family members (sorry, Aunt Linda). This is all because of my Pappy.

As a kid, baseball was my major connection with my Pappy.

He is much, much, much more of a “manly man” than I’ll ever be and he has that particular connection with my brother, G-Doggy. I’ll never have that.

I’m not the kind of guy who wakes up at 5am, ready to go work and roof a house. I’m the kind of guy who wakes up at 5am and rolls back over to sleep for a few more hours before waking up and getting stoked to write about something moderately amusing that happened at his library job the day before.

As an adult, baseball is just as important between me and my Pappy. I’ll never fully understand his stories about working in the cold to fix up a crappy run-down house and he’ll never fully understand (or perhaps really respect) my stories about working in a dusty old library, and that’s okay. That’s life. We live in different worlds.

The important thing is that when we’re chatting about who will be starting in left field for the Mets or who will be the Twins designated hitter against southpaws, we’re on the same page.

My Pappy is—without a doubt—the reason I love baseball as much as I do and for that, I am eternally grateful. There is nothing else in my life that is as simple and pure and beautiful as a game of baseball. It is the ideal way to spend a day/morning/afternoon/life.

As I said, I’m not the greatest baseball writer, but I’m also not the worst.

I’m sure I’m either far too technical and impersonal or way too personal and unprofessional—I have some serious troubles finding that middle ground—but I do know what the hell I’m doing.

And when I’m “on,” by golly I am motherf’n “ON.”

The problem is that I’ve yet to really get my shit together on the baseball writing since my recent battle with writer’s block came to an end.

I’m still incredibly overworked and likely in WAY over my head at work, but you know what…I’m gonna handle that like a champ. If I don’t, well then I’m going to go down swinging.

I’m going to find a way to factor what I really want to do—(ie: write)—into my ridiculously busy work life and also comically busy social life.

This is a legitimate chance for me to finally do what I really want to do and, by golly, I’m gonna make this shit happen.

…or go down swinging, that’s kinda my thing.

I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaaaack…

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Somebody sound the alarm, Gravey is back and ready for action.

After taking a much needed break over the holidays to recharge my batteries and center my chi and various other break-related clichés, I’m back.

My hope is that I can officially move on from PTQ within the next month or so if/when I get my regularly-scheduled blogging back in gear. I’m feeling a great urge to write lately, so hopefully it’ll all work out.

I’ve been working on some of my super geeky creative writing lately and trying to come up with a consistent stream of blog stories as well. It’s hard because—as anyone who has read my crap on a frequent basis knows—I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed at work lately and that doesn’t figure to change any time soon.

My good friend, Travis said something to me over break that really stuck with me.

“If something is important to you and you really want to do it, you make the time.”

Travis was right. I’ve been saying “I’m too busy” as my default excuse for letting lots of things slide in the past year or so. I felt sorta off-kilter through most of 2010 and I think that was a big part of it, I was busy. I was very, very busy and I let a lot of the things I really enjoy slip to the wayside as a result.

My writing suffered. My fantasy baseball suffered. My overall ambition suffered. Lots of things suffered, except for the amount f time and effort I put into my job.

In 2011, I’m going to try and make a more concerted effort to do the things I really want to do and stop brushing them aside.

I love to write. Few things make me nearly as happy as finishing a well-written story or blog entry or essay or short-story or whatever and I am going to aim to get that feeling a little more frequently this year.

I figure January 10th was a good day to jump back in as I’ve been back in Boston for almost a week now and been back to work and the holidays are clearly in the rearview mirror. It’s time I brush off the 2010 dust and prepare to dive headlong into 2011.

Here’s hoping I can get my shit together.

Oh yeah, and Happy New Year, y’all.

Better late than never, right?!

Losing My Voice

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Part of being a writer is having a “voice” that readers can associate with you. In the past, like when my blog was popular, I think I have a very distinct voice that was true to me. The way I wrote my posts was exactly the same way I would tell you a story in person (but with slightly more facial expressions and bad impersonations of people). Between trying to write with a “scholarly tone” for my master’s program, trying to speak with an education level above an 11th grader at work and trying to be me, I have lost my voice. My posts aren’t as free-flowing and conversational as they used to be, which makes them sucky, because you can’t really be funny if you aren’t conversational (well, I can’t be funny if I’m not conversational). Maybe it’s that I’m not as comfortable with my writing/speaking as I used to be, so that’s why I’m not as funny.

Either way, when I go to write a post, in my head I have this funny concept I want to express, but between the jumble of corporate-speak and vocab from my epidemiology book, I just can’t seem to get my point across in the humorous way I envision.  I’ve never been a fan of “trying” to sound smart. I prefer the writers/speakers who tell it like it is without using big words to prove to me how intelligent they are.

I’m not saying you can’t be funny if you’re smart — I think the reality is the exact opposite of that. I know that I am a halfway intelligent person, but I think I need to be an overly intelligent person at my job and in school. So I get into this mode of faking my level of intelligence by saying things that aren’t me or nodding my head in agreement to something I know I’m supposed to agree with but I don’t comprehend in the slightest. Then that fake mode follows me home and when I’m trying to post a funny anecdote about elevator etiquette, my creative, slightly immature voice has reverted to a hidden corner in my brain and is too afraid to come out for fear of judgment.

If only someone would just pay me to use my “me” voice.

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