~ A road down one man's life without any speed limits or simply A Blog About Nothing
Category Archives: Route 53 – Life is A Highway
Just ramblings about my everyday life. I often wonder if other people think these things too. Some day my children can read these thoughts and maybe the will say, “Hmm, so that is what dad was really thinking” or, “At least I would know what dad would do if he were in my situation”
25 Father’s Days ago, my father shook me out of bed and asked me to go play golf at Harding Park which is located just across the street from the Olympic Club which back in 1987 was hosting the US Open. 25 years later I will be thinking of my dad and that awesome morning as the US Open is played again at the Olympic Club. You see, on that Father’s Day 25 years ago, my dad hit a hole-in-one on the 11th hole at Harding Park. The smile and embarrassed laugh my dad gave will never be forgotten.
All I could say was “Happy Father’s Day”. His comment, ” Thanks, for the great day”. I like to think it wasn’t about the hole in one , but sharing it with friends and family. Golf will always be a Father’s Day sport as long as the US Open takes place over Father’s Day weekend. The US Open, golf, and that day 25 years ago will always make it more than a Hallmark Holiday in my book.
Tonight I came across this video below. Support the National Breast Cancer Coalition. This video is so sad.
It brings me back to my dark days 4 years ago thinking about what I was going to have to tell my children about their mother and worrying about what I’d have to do if I should become ill before my own children became adults. I am fortunate that my wife’s diagnosis was not as bad, but once you belong to the community of breast cancer survivors and caregivers, you are part of the community forever.
Amazingly, Genentech saw this video and are allowing her to get a drug that is on trial, She won’t be cured, but the drug should prolong her life.
Okay, I know that title doesn’t mean anything to many of you, but it is a school tradition the world over at the Schools of the Sacred Heart. A tradition enjoyed by the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, Paris Hilton, Darren Criss of Glee, and Lady Gaga.
The tradition is that of a surprise fun day or day off from work. Yes, a test or quiz might be missed. Arranged by the graduating glass of 8th graders, kids get to enjoy bouncies, races, movies, etc.
Now from a parent view….3 weeks ago we had parent teacher conferences, so our kids were in school for 3 days. 2 weeks ago, they had Friday off for Good Friday. Last week they were off for Spring Break…and now this week they have another 4 day week. That’s 11 days of school in the last month….I need a Conge at work!
I have to defend myself against the haters out there first. Many of you might say that I am NOT a football fan for writing this, but the truth of the matter is that the Super Bowl has become a bit of a glitzy money-maker. Two weeks have been provider for almost 10 years now after the Championship games to allow for parties and all of the hype to build around the game and allow the NFL to make even more money! Even some of the players have said they would rather just stop all the interviews, the debate on what to do with Peyton Manning and his bad neck, how the Raiders will try and steal the league’s publicity thunder, and whether Madonna will have a wardrobe malfunction at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show (I might have cared 20 years ago, but not today).
I admit I might still be jaded by the fact that my beloved 49ers are not in this year’s game. I also might be jaded by the fact that the 49ers now want me to pay $160,000 in football seat licenses for a stadium that is more inconvenient to me. Maybe greed is no longer good. So what is a guy to do? I will go out and enjoy a beautiful day with my family and come home that evening to see the wrap up, the highlights, and the new show that debuts after the Super Bowl.
WAIT A SECOND…you’re probably going to tell me that the Super Bowl isn’t about the game, but rather the commercials. Will Danica Patrick finally be naked in the GoDaddy commercial? Will Coke outdo Pepsi, and what about the flying Doritos chips? Will they explode? At $3.5 million for 30 seconds, the commercials have become a major reason for watching (gambling too). I have to admit…I still think the Cindy Crawford commercial of the kids watching her drink a Pepsi was the best of all time. It just made the room go quiet. I can still hear the gulping. this year you will see a bunch of car ads along with the usual cast of characters.
Super Bowl commercials are undoubtedly now a feature of Super Bowl Sunday and at that price, there is a lot of focus on them. Curiously enough though, the commercials are now leaking onto the web earlier and now you don’t even have to watch them on game day. What’s even more interesting, is that these companies might not even have to pay so much for them to be shown? Look for the NFL to put restrictions on this practice in the future. In the meantime, for those who love the commercials and are planning on not watching the Super Bowl, here you go (in order of my preference). Note that I drive a VW Bug and am a HUGE Seinfeld addict:
Budweiser (Excuse me, this is a football game, not hockey):
For whom the bell tolls…it tolls for thee -John Donne
What happened?….tick tick
As I begin this post it is currently 33 minutes past the much anticipated launch of Wahooly and the Wahooligans (social media influencers) who were selected based upon their high Klout scores to become minority shareholders in as many as 200 startups are sitting around idly waiting. Yours truly is waiting here wondering if he should go down and get himself some lunch.
As you see by the screenshot….Now means at least half an hour..maybe more.
Such is the hype machine of the internet. Sometime it works. Other times it might be better to underpromise and over-perform. I’m sure I’ll eventually get into the site, sign up for a few start-ups and tout their failures and successes as well as the value I think they can provide.
Is this a novel idea? In a way yes, and no. Most internet ideas and services are just online versions of what you see in the real world. That is, the world you can touch. About 15 years ago with the new batch of start-ups such as Amazon, AOL, NBCi, etc, those who were considered tech insiders were given what is known as “friends and family” stock, small stock portions for being associated with the company.
As a business development professional I used to receive shares in companies like these. My 25 shares of AOL split, split and split again turning itself into a value of over $30K at one point. not bad for just supporting a company in those days. Now Wahooly is saying that all I need to do is support these companies through social media channels.
So the bottom line is…unless there are multiple wins in the pool of startups (2-3 Amazons) that Wahooly makes available, expectations should be managed. A big return? Not likely. A chance to say you heard it first? Yes. I sure hope I come out of this finding at least one good company that makes it to commercial success. The problem is the process is getting in the way. Hopefully the process doesn’t drown the perception of these start-ups.
Are you a 49er season ticketholder? A sports fan in general? Does your team honor your loyalty and dedication? Perhaps some teams should treat their fans as they would treat their fans and not as deep pockets. I love my 49ers and will probably find a way to see an occasional game in the new stadium but as someone who has been going to games as a season ticketholder for almost 40 years, I’ve found that my loyalty is finally being disrespected. I now see how the Cleveland and Baltimore fans had owners who took their teams away from them. One should read “Field of Schemes” which details how the stadiums are taking public money to in turn to create private profits.
With the new PSLs at a cost of $80K/seat the San Francisco 49ers are requesting to renew my friendship, I am wondering if others feel the same.
It is the eve of the biggest game of the 49ers in over a decade and I’m upset and bothered. Why? Because the team I have rooted for my whole life is betraying the trust and faith built over my lifetime. Greed, the lack of understanding of community, and then poor communication.
Many of the memories I had as a season ticketholder of the 49ers are about to start fading away. My season tickets have been in my family for over 40 years and that might end soon. What kind of fan am I? I don’t paint my face or tailgate in the parking lot. I wear my Joe Montana jersey for big games. I’ve stuck with the 49ers through thick and thin. I stuck through coaches named Fred Meyers and his 2-14 seasons. I watched the team win 5 Championships. I watched the team fall back to earth with more 2-14 seasons. And now I’ve watched them grow again in what so far has been a wonderful season.
Over the years, some things have changed. The elderly people who baked cookies for me have passed away. Many of the young kids who attended the games with their dads are now bringing their children, and some new people have moved in as the prices increased. The stadium has gotten older and there is no disputing that the team needs a new stadium.
Yesterday a young rep called me because I had no responded to a request to meet with the ticketing personnel to discuss buying a Personal Seat License. I had received a package the week before, but was not ready to review the contents. I had heard rumors that the team was asking for $80,000 per seat for my seat license. Were they kidding? How could they expect someone to put up $160K (basically the same price as the average home in the US). The 49ers are trying to move their stadium another 40 minutes South of San Francisco. What their team does not understand is this not only moves the team further away from the core of the Bay Area, but it also moves it further away from the people who will support the team (affectionately known as the Faithful). They are telling me traffic will be better, yet it will take another 2 hours out of my day.
The previous five seasons the team has disappointed without a winning season yet raaising my tickets 300% from $60 to $180 each. By 2015, the team wants to charge me $375/ seat. At the same time, the team has never called me until yesterday. They have weeded out those who could not afford to keep the price increases and make it harder every year to renew. The new seat license is an obvious ploy that should weed out the last of the great 49ers Faithful. The lowest price is roughly $20K each. The 49ers cannot expect to make sales at these prices and those that buy will surely not be happy when others do not pay the same.
Corporations are thriftier than ever and will not be able to fill the stadium alone. Seriously, is Larry Ellison, one of the 5 wealthiest men in the world going to purchase a PSLs for his employees? Is Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook going to buy a PSL? How about Jerry Yang of Yahoo? If they do try and fill the stadium with corporate money, the 49ers will find a very fickle fan base that did not grow up here. Over 60% of the population was not even raised in the state of California (meaning they grew up likely rooting for another team). The Bay Area, especially Silicon Valley is made up of a transient population that is constantly moving. My son’s kindergarten class seven years later only has 5 kids out of 36 that root for the 49ers.
How do the 49ers expect such rates? Just 3 years ago the Jets and Giants sold PSLs. The Giants charged anywhere from $1k-$20K. Now $20K is the lowest end of the pricing? The Jets were only able to get 300 people to bid at least $5K. The Cowboys charged $50K on the high end and did not sell out. The Steelers are supposedly the best PSLs but they sold for a couple thousand a piece and are supposedly worth around $15K now. But Pittsburgh is different. People there live and die by the Steelers. The San Francisco Bay area is full of alternative activities on Sundays. Oh, and they don’t spend $60K a year to send their kids to go to school in Pittsburgh. My feeling is that @49ers season ticketholders should hold out until the market corrects itself. The prices the 49ers are asking are exhorbitant and need to change. Take a look at what happened with other teams and PSLs:
It is really sad that many people will lose their money and their team because of greed. In me the 49ers will likely lose my revenue as a fan in the stdium. I will support the laundry and the people who wear it, but I will not be a fan of management. unfortunately, the tradition of attending football games with my son will be ending soon for many in the Bay Area. I will just have to be more committed to baseball and the San Francisco Giants.
I am asking any 49ers STHs to consider holding out on the 49ers before paying for a seat license. There is no guarantee that the 49ers will be around just because of the stadium You will own nothing in the case of an earthquake, etc. There will still be ample opportunity to see an occasional game. The 49ers will just have to mrket harder to get the Faithful to show up every week. They better hope the team stays strong or else they will see how Unfaithful their new fans are. Ed Debartolo is the greatest owner that ever lived. Many called him a player’s owner, but he was a fan’s owner. He was the original Mark Cuban. His nephew is nowhere close in my eyes.
Did I mention that the stadium’s cost of $1 Billion will be at the expense of $150MM from the NFL and an $850MM loan from the city of Santa Clara and its taxpayers who will likely go bankrupt from this decision and are wanting to change their minds. The PSLs are going to pay off part of that loan. I’m not going to fall down that black hole.
I love my 49ers, but all I want is a winning team. I’m sure this new stadium is beautiful and will be a huge upgrade, but it is costing more than $1 billion. It is costing my loyalty to the game day experience. I hope there will come a better solution that will still allow me to send my children to college and along the way still allow me to afford to attend a few 49er games.
It has been almost 2 and a half years since my wife’s last surgery in her battle with breast cancer. I want to say that it has been almost 28 hours of surgery and probably another 10 of recovery room waiting that I have spent in this waiting room. Today is just a clean up surgery for removal of scar tissue and hopefully that is all. They will also possibly scrape for any residual tissue for genetic testing.
The past couple of months have been a bit trying as my wife found out that her younger brother also has breast cancer. Although rare, this is just so indicative of the fact that there is some genetic mutation that is being passed along. Their mother had breast cancer and as it turns out their father’s uncle had breast cancer. There is definitely a trend here. The fact that my own mother had breast cancer is very worrisome for our children. While we don’t want to worry our children, we have to balance the education vs. information on which we provide them.
I still remember 3 and a half years ago dropping off my 5 year old daughter and 8 year old son to school, not telling them what was going on with their mom. They were too young and as a parent the smiles on their faces are always a great healing medicine that eases the pain. When I did tell them their mom had surgery I had to make sure to hold back the tears because I didn’t want them to worry. Of course the kids could sense it. Today they are the most sympathetic kids to breast cancer. They console their friends when their moms find they have breast cancer and they are quick to volunteer for any benefit to the cause.
Now almost 10 and 12, there are no secrets (well just Santa for the younger one). We told them last night that mom would be going to have another procedure early in the morning and that we wouldn’t be home when they woke. We told them to make their own breakfast and I’d be back to take them to school once mom was wheeled in to surgery. “So you’re just confirming our logistics for the morning,” my 12 year old said. It was such a clinical thing to say. My way and I just nodded our heads.
My wife and I weren’t worried about the surgery this morning as we drove in to the hospital. It was still about making sure we had the pick up schedule settled and the odd conversation we had with our son the night before. It felt weird to leave my wife even to pick up my kids. Once we checked her in and the anastheseologist did her work, I raced home. When I got home they were in their school uniforms reading the Kindle and newspaper as if the morning was just like any other. I was thinking they were de-sensitized until my son, put his hand on my shoulder as I drank my coffee. He was teared up, “She’s going to be okay, right?” My daughter was crying too. They had been putting on a strong face for their mom. I told them not to worry and this would be easier than all the other surgeries and that she’d be home when they got back from school. I looked at my son. He had grown up a lot in the last several years. He was wearing his dress uniform for a Thursday mass. I smiled….”nice Windsor knot”. It was the first time my son had tied his tie all by himself without it being lopsided.
<just got word from the doctor that surgery went fine and she’ll be in recovery for another hour>
The next step is to not just continue to personally fight this battle with breast cancer, but to also help wtih the research. Our family has been hit hard specifically with breast cancer and survived. Our goal is to help future generations and others who might be dealing with the same issue. Is it genetic, environmental or both?
One thing is for sure. No matter how much we try to put breast cancer behind us, thi will not be the last of it in our lives. It will be there again. Hopefully by the next time we have to fight this disease, we will have achieved greater advancements in detection and treatments to prevent us from the suffering we’ve incurred to date.
This morning my family participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer. I have to admit that having dedicated my runs to breast cancer research over the last 3 years, I wasn’t necessarily excited about running with my family as part of the team put together by the schoolthat our kids attend. I like running alone with my thoughts, but this run is for a good cause and breast cancer runs are an event that I encourage everyone to experience.
Each year I forget what a scene it is. Survivors of breast cancer are given special shirts that help them stand out. As my kids and I picked up our regular shirts we saw my wife go to the “Survivors” tent to pick up her shirt. The hug she was given by the volunteer and the clapping that people gave her hit me. It reminded me how serious this all is and how lucky we are. Everywhere, teams lined up for their group photo. That is where you saw the numbers. We counted 5 in the Bank of America group, 6 in the Oracle group, 3 in our school’s group. Another 4 in the Pottery Barn group. The numbers were there. 1 in 8 people there had survived cancer.
My son and I ran the 5K race leaving my wife and another mom survivor after she told us to run ahead. As we ran past a survivor or one passed us the cheering got loud. We completed the race and waited at the finish line for my wife. It is such a rare race. People wait by the finish line more than any other race and cheer each other on. Most runners leave, but no at this race. As you see that special pink shirt that says “Survivor”, you see their fist pump, the tears and the smiles on their face and you cheer and clap until your hands hurt. And then for me I see my wife running across the line holding my daughters ahdna and her friend’s hand up high and smiling. My son put his arm around my waist. We let everyone else cheer. It made me proud and inspired as a participant. Sounds weird, but that’s how I felt. In a way, I felt bad that I had almost not wanted to participate for my own selfish reasons.
Pink Balloon arch by the Ferry building start line
Yes I was inspired by my wife as well as the hundreds of other survivors who crossed the finish line today. But more importantly I was inspired by the outpouring of community that I saw as people encouraged complete strangers and urged them on. One lady said , “This race is nothing. I kicked cancer’s butt” as local reporter approached her as she crossed the finish line. The power of encouragement drove them. My wife said the outpouring of encouragement every step of the way wouldn’t let her stop.
Probably the best part of the Komen Race For the Cure is the celebration at the end where survivors walk one by one through arches of pink flowers and are serenaded with a round of applause from all participants. As each individual survivor emerges, the roar is amazing and you can almost see their stories. There were women in their 80s. There was a young teenage girl. There were women of all ethnicities. As woman after woman emerges, there is the build up of emotion and you wonder if it will ever end.
Then everyone breaks out and sings “I will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor (?). To me the song is wrong. I think they should be playing Eye of the Tiger BY Survivor. These women are not survivors. They are tough fighters. Just like Rocky. They inspire us to run and never ever give up because we know where we came from.
It took me a week to just write this as I felt too overwhelmed to write this last week. I started writing and then had to call the family of a friend who passed 10 years ago in the New York tragedy. I was thinking of scrapping this post, but just needed to write it down for my own sake. It is my own therapy even if it doesn’t make sense.
September 11, 2001 will always be a day that those of us currently over the age of 20 will remember. We will remember where we were, we will remember those who lost their lives, those who knew people who lost their lives, and then those who subsequently lost their lives to fight for the freedom we have created in America.
Although I was affected and have thoughts about each of those classmates, neighbors and relatives who are now gone, I worry more about the future. The one where my child will never really know what that skyline looked like in real life before 9/11. The one where my child won’t feel that ultimate level of safety from those who do not like the way we live and could care less about who your are. The one where our society was starting not to feel so ill-willed and more tolerant towards people of other beliefs.
A picture taken 20 May 1986 in New York
My son’s birthday is 9/11 and I hope it just becomes a normal day. He still calls it the Fireman Birthday although this year we did sit him down to watch documentaries of that fateful day. One thing that really bothered me is the legacy we are leaving our children. I posted these photos here because I don’t want the twin towers to be remembered in smoke or crumbling in a video, or seeing a plane run into them. As this is his birthday, he needs to know the importance of the date and to be proud to call it his birthday. I did show him some fun stuff though too. There was the video I took of when I lived in New Jersey and commuted through the World Trade Center every day. It was a crazy mad rush every morning and it was such a weird feeling to see the WTC as it looked back in the early 90s. There were photos from when I lived above the Holland Tunnel in Newport City in Jersey City on the 32 floor. The WTC was right there and dominated the skyline. Whenever I go back I still feel like I see those twin towers there.
New York is regaining its stride. It is puffing out its chest. It will be stornger than ever, but that scar will always exist. It will be a reminder of what we lost so that we could move ahead. For me it is just a reminder to do better. Do more. Don’t forget what is important in life and to enjoy it. It could be gone tomorrow. For me, 9/11 will serve as a reminder to Never Forget what is important, not just to Never Forget what happened on that day 10 years ago.
“Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid” – Elton John
It has been three years since my wife’s cancer surgery. We haven’t even talked about it being an anniversary of that day. I know she has been begging her oncologist to be removed from some of the test medications she has been taking. Maybe 3 years has been enough. Well today is a milestone. Probably a milestone my wife would rather forget than celebrate, yet one to set as a marker along the side of the road of life. I for one still remember that day like it was yesterday. Reading that blog entry again seems so surreal.
3 years. Since then it has been:
3 more surgeries.
Taking 4 huge pills daily. Although she can tell you, I don’t know if I can tell you what they are for. One is to fight the reoccurrence of cancer, another is for the side effects and another is to balance out the side effects is all I know.
Additionally there is that monthly shot that leaves her belly black and blue for a week
Then there is the 3 times a week physical therapy. That knife thing scares me. It is supposed to smooth out the skin and prevent the build up of scar tissue, but it is just ridiculous,
There is the monthly counseling with the oncologist and staff, and
There is the monthly meeting to go over the test results of her medications.
Despite being a daily voluntary lab rat the last several years to help studies for future victims of cancer, my wife has really embraced life more than ever and it has changed her. Her strength and her courage are beyond what I ever imagined she had in her. Those changes in her life mentioned above might be considered inconveniences to many of us, but she takes it all in stride to the point where she forgets to tell me that she had an appointment until the day is over and to say that the oncologist told her to say hi to me.
They say that you aren’t truly in remission until you pass the five year mark, but my wife is already a Survivor. More than that, she is a Winner.