All posts by Holden

About Holden

Holden is a really groovy guy. By day a Management/IT Consultant, by night a wiper of his children's asses and regular in group fitness classes.

Ebola, ISIS and a Perpetual State of Fear

Last week a really smart friend of mine wrote me an email saying some things I felt were really foolish. He has a trip to South America coming up in December and he was writing me, asking what I thought about the Ebola outbreak and wondering if he shouldn’t bail on the trip.

A follow up email later that week spread on to fear talks about ISIS and the possibility of an American invasion by radicalized, passport toting Americans or worse, Arabs posing as Mexicans and waltzing right across our southern borders into the homeland!

My friend isn’t the only one who has latched onto these fear memes. It seems most of us are being drawn into the Fear-Machine. My new stance on all this is- I need to see it to believe it. In the mean time, I’m assuming it is all bullshit. Here’s why:

  1. The NSA leaks carefully selected information to the media. This includes both authorized leaks that Congress is aware of and unauthorized leaks: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/nsa-mind-bender-wont-tell-info-already-leaked-media/
  1. Our government has repealed a portion of a law named the Smith-Mundt Act which made it illegal for our government to propagandize US citizens: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/07/12/us_backs_off_propaganda_ban_spreads_government_made_news_to_americans
  1. The Norman Lear Center, a public policy advocacy group which works with government agencies, openly admits they lobby Hollywood to inject propaganda into prime time television. Below is a link to a two minute audio clip showing how they use their influence to push a climate change agenda. What other memes and ideas might they be pushing? http://adam.curry.com/enc/20141009173314_hollywoodhealthsociety4martinkaplanbragging.mp3
  1. Udo Ulfkotte, a German journalist explains how Intelligence Agencies befriend journalists abroad, write articles for them and push them to publish Agency produced propaganda in highly credible news sources, which American news sources then use as official sources.

These Intelligence Agency produced news articles published under the name or credible journalists have the power to sway both public opinion and set the agenda for law makers.

There’s a few clips here, but each well worth a listen (listen to in order):

All news clips are compliments of the No Agenda Show- www.NoAgendaShow.com

-Holden

Life is short, and Marriage is hard.

My wife and I have had some rocky times as of late. It’s been rocky enough that there has been talk of divorce and I’m pretty sure my wife has even gone so far as to consult an attorney.

A lot of the discourse in our marriage has come from my wife’s complaints aimed towards me.

I am a man of supreme imperfection. I stress too much over money, I get too lost in my work, I freak out over little things sometimes, and I have a bad habit of letting tension build up in my to the point that I explode and say things I’d never day say to anyone I wasn’t in a legally bounded relationship with (aka marriage).

As of late, my wife has decided it is all too much for her. Over the last year I have tried very hard to step outside of myself and fairly assess my imperfections independently. I have admitted many of my faults and tried very hard to work on each of them. I still fall into the same old bad habits at times though.

Other times, I wonder if perhaps I am not really the problem though. My wife has been acting very strange over the last six months or so. So strange in fact, I wondered if maybe she was having an affair and all this lashing out at me was due to her own guilt fermenting inside her and her trying to offload onto me and make me as much of a bad guy as she was feeling like on the inside.   A bit of lowly eavesdropping has led me to believe this is not the case.

So what’s the problem then? Why is my wife always so damn angry at me despite all my communication and effort?

Life will end soon….

Yesterday I wrote a post talking about what women really want in a man.

That post was born out of the experience I had last Friday night while having a guy’s night out.

That night, I was flattered to death. One of the ladies told me I was a great guy that evening. I haven’t heard that in quite a while. I kind of shocked a shift in the perception I have of myself.

“What? You think I’m a great guy? What on earth would lead you to believe that?”

It didn’t inspire me to want to leave my wife or be unfaithful or anything of that sort. But it definitely made me wonder. Why were these ladies so smitten with me? All I’ve been told for the last six months is that I’m selfish, I’m cheap, and I’m verbally abusive. And I’ll admit, these things are all true of me at my low points. But everyone has low points don’t they? I’m not typically this person.

I was mowing the grass yesterday thinking about all this when it hit me:

“What the fuck man? We’re all going to die soon. We have all of what…. 80 healthy years on this planet if we’re lucky? That’s SHIT!” I gotta quit sweating this bullshit.”

So fuck it. I’m just going to keep trying to be a standup guy. I’m going to love my wife and kids and quit sweating the small stuff. Hell, I may even quit sweating the big stuff. I’ve spend so many years building myself up in pursuit of this ‘Two Cars in the Garage and a White Picket Fence’ American Dream that I forgot I was supposed to be happy along the way!

Last time I had an argument with my wife, I had to remind myself afterward that it could be so much worse. One of my kids could have cancer or one of us could be terminally ill, I could be handicapped and not able to provide for my family, we could live in a war torn country where we fear for the health and safety of our boys and girls on a daily basis.

This shit is small fries. It is time to let it go. If my wife is unable to do it, then fine. She can call her lawyers, take everything I own and go start new away from me. If I’m doing my best to treat her right and provide for my family then what do I have to regret? I will always be able to start over. As long as I have my health, I’m golden.

Life is too short to sweat the small stuff.

-Holden

Thoughts on Manliness and What Women Really Want

This past Friday I hit the town with my co-author Atty and another one of our best chums who we’ll call Huck- due to his free spirited nature when he drinks.

After kicking back a few beers I found myself yawning by 9pm. I was having a good time but was ready to go home. It was a long week that had started with business travel on Sunday afternoon and I hadn’t been home one day that week before 7pm.

Then in walked “big Al”, a close friend and co-worker of Huck’s. Al was a very attractive southern belle who was accompanied by her equally attractive sister, her unassumingly beautiful sister-in-law and a feisty bestie with a knack for belting out sarcastic quips the way Barry Bonds used to belt out homeruns at the height of his career.

We paired with the quartet the way peanut butter does jelly when sandwiched between two soft slices of Wonder Bread. I realized at a certain point that the reason we all got along so well was no one was trying to impress the other. We simply gelled.

There was no end game of getting laid, no ulterior motive of having another encounter at a later date or even anticipation of landing a good night kiss. In fact, we spent much of the night talking about spouses, children and family.

My time with our new female friends helped me come to a few interesting realizations. I think I finally discovered what real women want. And by real, I mean women of substance. A woman I would actually be interested in if I were single and looking.

What Women Really Want in a Man

Humility- A strong woman doesn’t require a man; she stands on her own two feet. Once you reach approximately 30 years old, you start to realize that the woman who does need a man to survive probably isn’t one that you care to be involved with. This makes bragging unnecessary and unattractive.

If you’re accomplished, there is no reason to point it. No one likes a one upper. No one likes the man who has to be top dog and authoritative. Instead, your authority should shine in your cool and quiet demeanor, during normal conversation.

Frankness and honesty with thyself- I accepted not too long ago that I am not necessarily the smartest, most ambitious or politically savvy guy in the room. I realized that maybe instead I am more adept in other areas like team building, technical tasks and building relationships.

Bottom line, I learned to be frank and honest with myself. I learned to accept who I am and stop chasing something I am not. Strong women love a man who is honest with himself and isn’t afraid to show it.

Humor- E.E. Cummings wrote, “The most wasteful of days is one without laughter.”

I believe having a good sense of humor is essential to happiness. I believe laughter can cure some disease and ailment. I believe not being able to laugh at yourself is one of the most serious of shortcomings a person can possess.

A strong woman loves a man who can gracefully self-deprecate himselve while remaining confident. It displays humility, emotional intelligence and a certain degree of self-control.

A man who can have a laugh and make those around him laugh is a man who possesses emotional intelligence.

Chivalry- Young men today don’t understand how to be gentlemen. The ‘selfie generation’ is characterized by self-centered individuals paying little attention to anyone other than on him/her-self.

Chivalry extends beyond holding open doors or offering your coat to a lady on a chilly evening. It extends to paying attention to detail and remembering the little things as well. It extends to small gestures of kindness. Little acts of kindness and acute attention make all the difference in the world.

I caught the attention of my wife while working alongside her as a server while in college. Every Friday and Saturday night, I’d look at the side work chart, see what her side work was for the evening then prep for her before she could begin.

Later, I’d take note of what her favorite coffee drink was from Starbucks or her favorite pizza toppings and surprise her by ordering for her on dates.

It is that attention to detail that really catches the attention of a lady and shows her that you get her and that she is more than just an object to you.

-Holden

Preferential Segregation and Gay Exceptionalism

I heard a news clip recently from ESPN where the commentator mentioned that the NFL was begging teams to sign Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL football player, to avoid a scandal.

michael-sams-nfl-future-doesnt-look-good

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that if a team hadn’t signed him, there would have been a scandal of sorts. After all, America just hates gay people right?

Actually, I think outside of those with strong religious convictions most of us don’t give a shit. I certainly don’t. But what I do give a shit about is the endless parading around and bellyaching of the gay voice in Hollywood, television and the news media.

It seems that the gay movement has evolved into an all-out effort to promote preferential segregation. Imagine if another very vocal minority existed within society which existed to vehemently oppose gay rights. Never mind, groups like these do exist, for example, Westboro Baptist Church. And society loathes them.

The gay community is known to be comprised many very well educated, upper middle class individuals. Why is it then that such bright people appear unable to step back from the situation and realize that they are no longer fighting for gay equality, but gay power, gay exceptionalism, and gay privilege?

These interest groups are now akin to the hate groups that you would logically consider their antithesis, except in reality they are two sides of the same coin. And much more dangerous because of their wealth and influence in politics and media.

I think the lesson to be learned here is, everyone wants preferential treatment and everyone wants to be segregated. Eventually, all interest groups appear to go too far and start lobbying to be placed above opposing minorities and subcultures in one fashion or another.

-Holden

Cancer, tumors, radiation, priorities.

Sometimes I feel like this blog is nothing more but a venting place for me. I only bring mostly the bad stuff here. But so be it. I’m not writing for too many readers anyway, but there is something therapeutic about blogging, and it does make me feel better. So here goes- another super uplifting post.

My aunt has lung cancer. Today she starts chemotherapy to shrink a giant tumor so that it can be removed. She lives 500 miles away in Indianapolis, IN. I don’t see her much, but when I was a kid she was a shining star in my sky.

For a while when I was a little boy and still lived in Indiana, my parents couldn’t really afford to support me. My aunt took me in. She raised me. I remember her taking me to kindergarten, feeding me, hugging me and putting me to bed when I was very little. I remember her taking me trick or treating. Whenever I’m in the area I always make my way over to Mooresville, Indiana to drive through her old neighborhood and remember those trick or treat days.

Over the years I’ve lost touch with her. Too busy with my own life, family and job. And the distance doesn’t help either. Today I decided to call her and tell her I was thinking of her and wish her luck.

She seemed strangely accepting of the entire situation. While everyone else in her family is melting down, she is simply just her. She joked that the worse that can happen is it kills her, and if it doesn’t kill her then she guesses she made out alright.

If she doesn’t pull through, this will the second child my grandmother has lost to tobacco. Ironically, the stress of the entire situation has my mother smoking more than ever. I’m glad I never picked up the terrible habit.

After hanging up with my Aunt, I sat here a second feeling flustered over the mountain of work I have surrounding me this week. Where do I start? I need to set up easily half a dozen meetings, write a report, create Visio diagrams and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo that will probably be filed away and forgotten after I’ve spent the last three weeks preparing it.

What I should really be doing is driving to Indianapolis to be with one of the only people in the world who really cared for me when my parents couldn’t. Even my own grandparents couldn’t seem to find it in themselves to be there for my parents at that hard time in their lives.

But we have to set our priorities straight, right? I’ve got kids to feed, bills to pay, a career to think about.

Suddenly I don’t give a fuck about work. Suddenly it seems like a means to an end. Get money so I can give it to someone else.

I hope my Aunt is fearless today. I would be a terrible mess on the inside if I were her. I assume she is, but she’s doing a great job of not showing. She’s a real trooper. I still admire her just like I did when I was a little boy.

-Holden

 

 

My wife and Mr. Area Code (814)

A few weeks ago I wrote about my wife hating being a mother. Then some amazing commenters set me straight on what was probably going on in her head and what I was probably doing wrong. It turns out they were right. The pressures of being a stay at home mother, barefoot and pregnant so to speak, had taken its toll on her.

My wife felt like she had lost her identity.

Then last week something catastrophic happened. My wife went out to spend the evening with a friend going through a divorce and met someone, but not just someone- someone who as she put it, clicked with her in a way no one else has except me when we first started dating.

Only, she didn’t tell me this at first. I had to figure it out through suspicious behavior and thinly veiled lies and being possibly a little too detail oriented. Immediately, my wife started accusing me of spying on her.

I saw the writing on the wall. She was cheating on me. But how bad was it? How long was it going on? So… I did spy. I downloaded her phone metadata (the same stuff the NSA gets) from her detailed billing statement with the cell phone company, pulled the data into Excel and started filtering and pivoting it.

Lo and behold I found it- the number. A single number that had never been called before that last Saturday night when all the strange behavior began.

What was I to do now? Admit I was in fact spying on her, and in the worse way? My wife already refers to me as a “Digital Detective.” It’s what I do for a living in her eyes.

I talked to Atty and he laid the hard love on me. He said to quit being selfish. He said I’ve focused on myself for too long- through grad school, losing weight, travelling, perusing my career, and I’d left my wife behind.

The Conversation.

I went to my wife to have the conversation that I felt would make or break my marriage. It turns out I was probably right.

Instead of making accusations, laying out the evidence or accusing my wife, I humbled myself in the most extreme way possible. I thanked her for allowing me to become the man that I had worked so hard to be. I told her it was because of her and her alone that I was permitted to pursue my education, my career, my livelihood and even my good health.

My wife initially attacked me, like my even broaching the subject had kicked over a beehive. She swarmed and stung hard. She called me a selfish asshole. She made me feel like a piece of shit. I took it.

Then I simply asked her about ‘him.’ Mr. Area Code- (814). She didn’t reply. I don’t think she really knew how.

The Next Day.

The next day I urged my wife to talk to me as her best friend. Not as her husband, but a friend free of accusations, anger or judgment. I think the last day of guilt had worn her down and to my amazement, the details started pouring out.

I sat balled up on the couch, my knees pressed deep into my chest as I listened to the story about this sweet Welsh man who was in town doing a guest lecture series at the local college.

My wife unabashedly told me every detail of her night with him ranging from his pickup line, to light hand holding to taking shots together and dancing the night away. I wanted to puke, but instead I took the repeated blows to the heart.

I asked her if she’d seen him again. I asked her if they had any sort of physical relations. She said no. She said she had gone to meet him for coffee and left out of guilt. Then he was back off to the UK the next day.

She said he was coming back in November. I asked if she’d try to meet with him again. She said she didn’t know.

In my mind I felt like I was entangled in a Stanley Kubrick movie, a strange hypnotic waltz where your feet continue to move in a strict formation while your mind is a million miles away in a place where everything is warped and backwards.

After the fact, I still wondered if maybe there wasn’t more to the story, but I have come to realize it doesn’t matter. What matters at this point is that I had no choice but to trust her. Trust is the only thing that will fix whatever has been broken somewhere along the way.

And frankly, I don’t know that I need to know the details. What does it help? It would only lead my mind off into a tailspin.

So now I work to let my wife regain herself. To focus more on her happiness, because I love her and she deserves it. I don’t feel angry or hurt that she had a night of flirting with a stranger. What I felt was fear.

I feared it was over for good. And maybe, just maybe if Mr. Area Code- (814) didn’t happen to be a foreigner sweeping out of town just as quickly as he’d swept in and swept my wife right off her feet, it would have been.

-Holden

Pet Worship! WTF?

Has anyone else besides me noticed the growing trend of pet worship over the years? I actually know people who have more empathy for stay animals than homeless people. I’ve witnessed people who will bawl their eyes out if an animal dies in a movie, but doesn’t bat an eye at a rape scene in a film! And I even know of one insane person who was caught stealing breeding dogs and having them spayed then returning the dog to its home and justifying the act as stopping “doggy rape”.

petlovers

The hilarity continues…

At my new job, pet insurance is actually a benefit you can purchase, boutique dog biscuit shops are now common place even in small towns and upscale pet daycares now also exist, some complete with optional spa treatment and webcams so you can check in on your fuzzy little pal just to make sure they’re doing fine and not suffering from separation anxiety. OH WOE AS ME!

Personally, I like dogs and cats OK and appreciate the company and love a good pet can provide, but this is getting out of control. Are we really so free of problems in our lives that we’ve resorted to worshipping our pets?

And further, isn’t it a little hypocritical or even short sighted that many of the same people who appear to love their pets so much have no issue with chomping down on a cheeseburger or enjoy a nice chicken breast on their Caesar salad?

News flash folks! If you really love animals as much as you say you do, maybe you should check into how your meat is made. Those poor animals certainly aren’t getting their nails painted while enjoying a nice $9 organic dog biscuit.

Personally, I’ve decided that I love eating animals, and if/when the zombie apocalypse comes your overweight, diabetic little fluffypuff is the first thing I’m going to eat.

And if I find one of these over privileged animals shitting in my yard again, they’re getting a paintball in the ass.

</Rant>

-Holden

Does my wife hate being a mom?

I have no doubt that my wife loves our daughters more than anything in the world, but does she like being a mom?

Up until a few weeks ago, I was admittedly not around that much. I was on the road four days a week and locked in my office on the fifth day trying to wrap things up so that I didn’t spend the sixth and seventh days of the week also in my office.

Then suddenly, abruptly, I quit my traveling job for a local job. While I have a lot of great reasons and excuses for doing so, I really quit for two reasons- friends and family. I quit to work with my best friend, my co-author Atty during the day, and be at home with my wife and girls in the evening.

I figured, there is nothing more valuable in the world than spending time with those you love. But as of late, that time spent hasn’t been all sugar plums and sunshine.

Being home puts my home life into an entirely new perspective. Every day I come home to a frazzled, stressed out woman buried in dirty laundry, dishes and toys thrown in every direction. I’ve come to realize that my wife rarely seems all that happy. She sighs a lot, cries a lot, and complains a lot.

A big part of me wants to tell her to shut up and walk it off. To remind her that she doesn’t have to go to a job every day. But I guess maybe having a job would be better than being at home every day with the “damn kids” in her eyes.

My wife is a good mother. She’s attentive, affectionate and caring. But sometimes man, I just don’t know if maybe it wasn’t meant for her. If maybe she simply doesn’t have the nerves or grit to deal with it.

Someone who reads this might offer up kind advice and suggest I do things to ease the stress. But to be quite honest, I’m not sure what else I am to do. I cook dinner many evenings and tend to many chores after work. I encourage her have alone time every weekend. I let her go shopping, have weekend outings… hell, her friends and family dominate our social life.

But to no avail, the depressed attitude never seems to cease for very long. Sometimes I think maybe it is phase that simply has to pass. I convince myself that eventually the girls will both be in school, they’ll grow up and be out of her hair less and less… and maybe someday her attitude will brighten.

But to be completely honest, I want to tell my wife to quit being a fucking pussy.

To be boldly frank in this anonymous arena of thought, I want to tell her she has been given a great gift and opportunity. I want to remind her that some mothers are single and on food stamps. And that some parents are forced to work two mother fucking jobs, letting the microwaves serve up the warm meals and the TV tuck their little ones into bed while they’re working a second shift at the Shoney’s just to keep the lights on and rent paid in their dank little apartment.

But instead I find myself coming home, playing Gameboy and tuning it out. I don’t feel like battling her bad mood. I don’t feel like convincing her that things are great. I’m sick of being in charge of other people’s happiness. I have my own to worry about. Problem is, hers is directly linked to mine.

And now I feel like a completely insensitive, chauvinistic asshole. Yes, our kids are tough as nails. Yes, the life of a stay at home mom is tough, but so are all challenges worth taking on. What do you want me to say honey? Parenthood is tough! That’s why I opted to be the breadwinner in the relationship… alright, perhaps that was chauvinistic.

I guess the wise, emotionally adept, mature husband would sit his wife down and try to bring his wife to some miraculous realization that she’s actually got it pretty good. Ha!

-Holden

New Job Jitters

A few weeks ago I started a new job at the firm where my co-author of this blog, Atty works. I’m actually his subordinate now, working in the same service line.

The pay is good, the career prospects seem bright, and my co-workers are polite, friendly and helpful. But for some reason, I feel out of place. Like I don’t quite belong.

The culture is much different here. Much more proper, or perhaps white collar feeling. My last job would be considered a white collar job as well. Both were professional services, consulting, and required you to wear a tie from time to time, but it is amazing to me how different the culture and personalities are between an accounting firm and a technology services firm.

The girls are definitely much prettier at the new job, which I do enjoy if only for the sake of people watching around the office. But I admittedly miss that geek vibe I used to get at work much more. I miss the techies showing off their newest phones, asking you to meet them in the hotel lounge after work for Nintendo 3DS multiplayer sessions or just nerding out over their ridiculous video cards and other computer hardware.

Oddly enough, I think the whole reason I got this new job is because I’m one of these guys. I’m a geek.

I think I’m going to try hard not to lose that identity. Not that it was ever completely me anyway, but I really enjoyed being part of that crowd. I don’t care about sports, movies, or what happened on The Bachelor last week.

I’m not so sure the stiff collared accountant/lawyer/auditor wears well on me anyway. I don’t mind it. I can adapt to it, but I definitely don’t want to lose myself to it or the culture.

Uncertainty

On a tangent, or perhaps just diagonal. My first week on the job I felt something I hadn’t felt since I was a kid- that urge to either puke or shit my brains out on a regular basis.

When I was a kid I had a problem with anxiety. I used to overstress about things as trivial as the bus for school running late. Suddenly, I became this kid again. Unsure, unconfident and feeling small inside.

This is my third career and I’m only 30 years old! Three times now, I’ve started something fresh, not knowing what the hell I’m doing. Experience would tell me I became very good at what I did the last two times and quit on my own, so this third time, I’m going to really rock it since I only continue to build up in skills, education and experience.

I will succeed at this job. But this little twerp in the back of my mind screams FAILURE at me. He’s my childhood bully. This kid named David who used to spit snot balls in my hair and push me out of my seat on the bus. Who used to not let me take a seat next to him when the bus was completely full and make me stand in the aisle even as the bus started rolling down the street.

That kid tormented me. I used to pray for him. I would pray to God, as an elementary school aged child that he would help him. Later I found out his dad beat the shit out of him, not uncommon for the neck of the woods I grew up in.

David was always easily six inches taller than me. There was no way I could stand up to him. But he was just as fragile as I was. I was simply passing on the beatings from his father down to me.

I eventually overcame David as my bully. I eventually grew up and got taller than him. The same will apply with the new job and the little David taunting me in the back of my head. Eventually I’ll grow up and own my bully.

Appeal to your Higher Game

Have you tapped into your higher game? Maybe you aren’t sure if you have or not. Maybe you aren’t exactly clear what “Higher Game” even is.

At its core, “Higher Game” is maintaining the upper hand in social situations. This includes mentally, emotionally and even physically to a certain extent. Higher game is not giving a petty person the shallow satisfaction they seek, whether this be from showing off, posturing, flirting or acting out in some other fashion.

But “Higher Game” is also personal. To have higher game is be self-aware but also aware of the emotional state of those around you. To have higher game is to have class, self-restraint, and self-confidence without being cocky.

When you decide to appeal to your higher game you kill with kindness and win arguments by not having them at all, and instead dismissing them as non-important. You play the long game, a game where instead you beat your opponents by simply living a better life and being prosperous. You ultimately beat your opponents by leaving them in the dust, free yourself of them and instead worrying about yourself.

That isn’t to say you aren’t aware of those who wish you ill will, in fact you are hyper aware of them. Because you are appealing to your higher game, you understand them. But you also know thyself and are free of them.

You brush off your transgressors like sweeping dust from your front porch, quick, effortlessly and with little effort.

Find your higher game.

-Holden