Bury Me Far from My Uniform

Won’t you bury me far from my uniform
So God might remember my face
I know God will remember my face
Merciful God please remember my face

– Joe Pug in “Bury Me Far”

Click here for the song.

This song illustrates the thoughts of a man who died in battle. His last request is to be buried far from his uniform.  The concern he has is that God won’t remember his face because of his past and the atrocities he committed.

Now, I have never been in battle and I wrestle with a lot ideas of what to think about war and armies, but I still appreciate the sacrifice that was given by those that have been called upon, my grandfather being one of them.  But these lyrics reach so much deeper than what is just said or heard.

Don’t you wish, when you die to be buried far from your past, far from all the wrong-doings and hurtful things that you’ve done?  I know I do.  I know God will remember my face, the Merciful God will remember my face.

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The Art (and Joy) of Preparation.

Everyone needs to slow down.  Do it right now.  Think of this very breath you are taking and remember this exact moment.  Slow down your thinking, your reading, your breathing.

Feels good doesn’t it?  Refreshing is the word that  comes to mind.

Lately I have been realizing that life is being lived way to fast.  That large chunks of time are going missing from my memory (for good or bad I am not sure yet!)

Doesn’t it alway feel like we are hurrying up just to get to the end product? How can we make this faster? Compromising quality? I have made a conscious decision to savor the preparation of things.

Meals – taking the time to select the right ingredients, properly preparing them and letting them cook how they need to be cooked to get all of their flavors out.

Cocktails – learning the art of crafting a single drink, appreciating the nuances of the flavors that are involved.

Shaving – finding the right tools, real shaving cream and methods of doing it the way my grandfather did.

Getting ready – No longer rushing around in the morning putting on whatever I want. Instead carefully selecting my outfit and noticing each piece as it is put on.

Eating dinner – just looking at the meal and really appreciating it and feeling blessed to have it in front of me.  Tasting each bite and how it differed from the last one. Admiration to the cook that constructed it (usually my wife.)

When did we go wrong? I look at the past (not mine, but the worlds) and can’t help but think of the simpler, innocent and easier way of life.  I know, it was hard then too, but below is a list of things that I feel like we are missing today.

1. Getting dressed (up) for dinner, every dinner
2. Opening the door for your female significant other
3. Learning from the “old-timers”
4. Enjoying the outdoors
5. Fixing up your own house and car
6. Eating dinner as a family
7. Appreciating close family
8. Manners (from old to young)
9. Waiting for something to pay off (no more instant gratification)
10. Neighbors being friends
11. Martini’s and Manhattan’s
12. Dinner parties
13. Vinyl records
14. Pre-political correctness
15. Reverence of a higher power (God)

The list could go on and on.  I have been told I was born in the wrong decade, but I think I’ll just combine the best of all the decades and live my life as such.

What influences do you wish you could bring back?

The New Rebellion. The Story of Mine.

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus

Every generation has one, some have multiple. My own individual rebellion has undergone several face-lifts, but the core idea and identity has remained.

Remember those times sitting at the lunch table in elementary and middle school with every one laughing about a tv show or movie that they watched the night before.  Of course you didn’t see it, but in an effort to be part of the crowd, you lie and laugh along. Then there is that one kid that calls you out and asks, “What happened next?” Remember that feeling of anxiety?

When I entered high school as the second youngest (thus shortest and highest voice) male, I was scared to death.  My years before, in middle school, were plagued with ridicule and nothing short of the kind of bullying that would make national headlines today.   I had nothing to my name in terms of teenage currency, e.g., popularity, athletics, friends, band or chorus, academics or honors, even the chess club didn’t want me (yes James, you were cooler than me.) At the same time, I was tired of trying to fit in.  Worn out.  Sick of lying to myself, pretending to be someone who I wasn’t.  Let me rephrase, I didn’t know who I was, but I was pretending to know.

What made me different?  What made it so hard to find a place in the social ladder, in the world as I knew it? I didn’t figure it out for a while, but I realized I hated being like everyone else.  To the point where I would intentionally sabotage my chances of fitting in. How?  I would sew my own pants with different color fabrics.  I would wear suspenders, but not over my shoulders.  I NEVER wore closed toe shoes and usually donned a pair of rubber flip-flops. I listened to music that no one liked, they couldn’t even pretend to like it if they wanted to.  Later I realized that I had become, in a natural and organic way, counter-culture.

As high school came to a close, the culture started to change.  People found out that my 4 years of not giving a shit about what they thought helped me to develop  my own personality.  So much so, the senior class voted me as “Best Personality.”  I attribute this to the fact that every one else was hell-bent on copying personalities to fit in that they never (and may not even now) knew who they were.  I faltered here.  I took advantage and used my new-found popularity to live the life I had always watched from the outside.  I dated my high school crush, ditched my old friends on our senior class trip and sat at the cool table at prom.  Imagine this, a guy that sews his own pants with different color fabrics, wearing extra-small t-shirts from goodwill, and dyed hair (Red one week, Blue the next, then black and maybe blond) hanging out with the cool kids. I sold out.

Learning from this after graduation, I rejected the norms in every way possible. I never took my SAT’s. I didn’t go to a typical 4 year college, I went to a 2 year art school.  I didn’t drive a used Honda, I drove a Saab (so ugly they are beautiful) and I totaled about 5 of them.  I didn’t party like my classmates, I was straight edge.

But I didn’t know what I stood for yet.  I didn’t have a purpose, an outlet or a reason for rejecting everything that everyone else did.  So I started searching for one.  I tried politics, that was awful, talk about having to fit into a mold.  I tried a job, this was a better effort, at least I could afford my gas.  I tried rejecting my own counter culture mentality.  This lead me to going back to school. Which caused me to spend my money and lose my job.  I was in the same place I was when I was a freshman in high school. Having nothing, confused as ever and facing a frightening world.

What did I do?  I stepped out. I moved away from home for the first time in my life.  Far away (12.5 hours.) I left my family and friends and found myself.  When you don’t have something filling every single space in your life, good or bad, it forces you to look at what is really there.  During this time, I developed my career, I found my wife, learned some things and actually was able to pin point my rebellion.

I define who I am by several different factors. I am always looking to smile.  I think everyone deserves 1000×10 to the 10th degree chances at life.  Love and compassion always wins. I want to help as many people as I can, even at the expense of myself and my resources.  I don’t really care what you think of me, but I care what you value.  I want to live a full life in every sense of the phrase; wealth (not at the expense of others,) happiness (possibly the most important,) and health.  I rebel every single day against every and anything that threatens my way of life.  I will never again try to fit into a mold or be defined by those around me.  My rebellion isn’t a single solid theme, it is a morphing idea that can shift with the changing culture and mounting pressures on living a normal life.

I am “counter-anything” that wants to put me in a box.

Still here.

Still alive.  I moved (again.) Started a new job. Got a new puppy (almost a full-time job.) Remodeling our entire house. Way to close to launching a new business. Busy, just like the rest of you.

In case you are wondering, I am still VERY bearish on the Eur/Usd.  For many different reasons.  In fact, even more-so since my several posts in the recent past where I was selling.

FYI – The Philadelphia Union are in first place in the Eastern Conference…GO UUUUUNNIIIOOOOON… #doop

Keep it real. Keep it profitable. Keep it fun.

The movie Home Alone was about me. Kinda.

I had tears streaming down my face.  I felt abandoned.  Why would they all leave me?

I was 8 years old, watching my parents, sisters and family friends pull out of the driveway.  They were embarking on an 18 hour drive for a week-long vacation to Disney World…and they forgot me.

My body was pressed against the large bay window, which during Christmas was a painting of the Nativity scene. But today, there was no salvation there.  I watched the 1989 Dodge caravan pull out of the only world I knew.  I was being left alone, no one to comfort me.

As quickly as all those feelings came, they went.  A warm wave of relief rolled over me.  I saw break lights halfway down my street.  One of the vans pulled up to the other with their windows down, the drivers having an animated conversation.  Both looking around and then, everyone looking back at the house. Looking at me banging on the window frantically.

What had really happened was everyone in one van thought I was in the other and vice versa.  A misunderstanding.  No abandoning.  Just a mix up in communication. I had thought my life was over. Nothing was further from the truth, perspective was very important.  My tiny world then was gone. The fact of the matter was my parents and family loved me more than anything and would have come back for me no matter how far they had driven.

I didn’t know what it was back then.  Only until recently have I created my own term for that feeling.  I call them flash panics.  Sort of like the flash crash that happened not to long ago.  Quick moments of irrationality when you can’t possibly see any outcome other than total devastation.

If you know me, you know I am a very easy-going person, nothing really stresses me out long-term.  I rarely lose sleep over anything from worry. But I do have these flash panics and they usually come when I am trading or when I am on the cusp of making large decisions. I haven’t been able to fight them off, but I guess that is the irrational part.  If I could anticipate the feelings, I could prepare for them, I could fend them off more effectively.

The trick to coping with these moments is to not do anything when they come about.  Wait. Let it pass and reevaluate what the trigger was and go from there.  Your body is trying to tell you something, but your mind has to add perspective before you act on anything.  My only exception is if it is a life or death situation.  In those cases, do what your body tells you, RUN LIKE HELL.

Yes, it is 2011!

Happy New Year!  This is going to be a GREAT year! You have to believe it to achieve it, say it again… “This is going to be a GREAT year!”

Ok, I am done with my super cheesy motivational speak for now.

In all seriousness, I am so happy that it’s 2011 because every year gets better.  There is always something new around the corner and everyday that I wake up is an opportunity to change my life and others lives around me.  The question becomes not “if” there is that opportunity, but when you see it, will you recognize it and how will you capitalize on it?

This is me wishing you the best and hoping you and I can take every chance we get to make this world better.

Talk to you soon!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

I will be taking an extended break from blogging and trading for the month of December.  I have a lot of traveling to do and I don’t like to trade while distracted.  My current positions are Short GOLD and Short the EURO.  I will only be checking the charts to make sure these trades are doing well.

See you after the new year!