No Rest for the Weary

Well, I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. There has been so much craziness going on over the last six-plus months that sometimes I think my head is spinning so fast that it is going to fall off. The funny thing (well, not so funny) is that the one thing that’s been occupying the bulk of the time is school. I can put down so many adjectives describing my experience thus far but I don’t want to bore you.

I was out walking my dogs early this morning and for some reason the following line from a song came to my head:

“Put one foot in front of the other. And soon you’ll walking across the floor.”

Yes, it’s June but this song from Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town just hit me out of nowhere and got me thinking how this song really put things of late into perspective.

Last night — or should I say at around midnight — I turned in a PowerPoint project for my Engligh class to wrap up the first summer session. All I have to wait on are my grades and then I’m officially 20% of the way through to getting my MBA.

Time to celebrate? Not at all because today starts the second summer session. Yes, today. No rest for the weary. I’m just waiting on one of my professors to post their syllabus and I’ll be ready to have some fun. Two more classes over another five weeks and before you know it will be August. I’m sure by then I will be asking myself why I did it and just blew most of the summer by taking classes.

The summer isn’t what I’m really worried about, though. Because of the time crunch, I really haven’t been able to spend any quality time with my wife. Let me re-phrase that, next to no time. Our quality time of late has consisted of — brace yourself — some late Friday nights helping me review and edit two papers so I can get them in on time. Some fun, huh? Well, I need to rectify that and fast!

Jennifer has been incredibly supportive throughout this whole process. It all happened so quickly. From the prep class for the GMAT last summer to taking the exam a month later and then classes three months after that, she’s been my rock and my biggest cheerleader. Thank you, J!! You’re the best.

 

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Social Media is Great, But Nothing Compares to In-Person Interaction

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog. It hasn’t been for a lack of topics to talk about but rather how I was going to put it on paper (or in this case, online).  If I haven’t mentioned this yet, I really, really enjoy social media. I can’t tell you how many times I’m on Twitter each day or checking into places on foursquare but it’s enough that it is now an addiction.

For the longest time it was always Facebook where I went to find out the latest but lately I’ve used that more to catch up with friends and family, and oh yeah an occasional game or two.  If I want the latest in real-time information I rely on Twitter. Heck, it’s where I confirmed that yes indeed I did feel that earthquake while working at home.

Is the whole idea of social media getting in the way of how we used to communicate?  I’m sure it has for many.  I mean, before there were any social media tools there was email, IM and texting. Email became a big deal in my old profession of college athletics. Instead of sending out information via snail mail, you could contact a colleague via email and on occasion some would pick up the phone.

As much as I love social media (even ask my wife), I sometimes really do miss the old days of the verbal communication that used to take place all the time.  No cell phones or computers. Now many of us, including yours truly, hide behind emails, Facebook and Twitter and don’t utilize face to face communication (or even calls from my phone) as much as we used to.

My best example is the recent trip that Jennifer and I made to NY for my cousin’s wedding. Many of my cousins and aunts are on Facebook, and I have to admit it’s a great way to keep track with everyone especially since my family is scattered from coast to coast. I know some of my family signed up on Facebook only to take a peek and see what’s going on with everyone, and I think that’s great.  Up until the wedding there were some family members that we haven’t seen since our wedding, and that was nine years ago.

As good as it was to see photos and status updates from everyone, nothing compared to seeing everyone in person.  Some of my cousins have grown up and graduated college and are now among the working while some are still in college or even high school (there’s a 26-year gap between the oldest and youngest cousin).  Talking face to face with everyone
and seeing everyone have a good time meant more to me that words can express.  Probably one of the best things that came out of seeing everyone was having lunch with a cousin who is 20 years younger than me.  That time gave me a chance to really get to know her as an adult. That sort of interaction you really can’t get on Facebook or any other social media vehicle.

I get that everyone’s life is crazy and hectic and since we don’t live that close to any family members (not counting parents), I guess I can get by using those very same social media tools that hinder our verbal communication to stay in touch. But believe me when I say that if we ever travel to close enough to family you better believe I will definitely pick up the phone.

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Am I crazy or what?

What a week. Check that, what a past couple of weeks. My mind has been completely turned to mush because of a recent decision to shake things up in my life. Drumroll, please … I have decided to go back to school to get an MBA [insert sigh, chuckle, whatever you want to say]. Well, at least I hope to.

It’s something that I’ve been mulling over for some time. I’m presently taking a prep class for my GMAT (thanks to Kaplan; shameless plug) and will take the actual test in early
September but not after taking a good 6-7 practice tests. It’s an online class that meets twice a week late at night and so far it’s been great (or ‘Awesome’ as my teacher loves to say) because it’s been exercising my brain as I attempt to re-engage my mind into the world of academia.

My brain hurt so much from the first day’s activities that the discomfort carried over into the next day. I do have to admit, though, that the work online or in the course workbooks has been positive and fun yet frustrating at times.

Let’s just say that it’s been a while since I’ve been in a classroom. Yes, there were computers back then but the Internet was just taking shape, and I even remember getting to the library from time to time.

I will be pursuing the degree the same way I’m taking the Kaplan GMAT class – online.  My hope is that when (noticed I didn’t use the word if) I come away with a solid GMAT
score and get accepted into school, I’m looking at beginning classes in January. I’ve got a school in mind but don’t want to jinx things. I still have to apply but the thought of getting an MBA is both scary and exciting at the same time.

The last time I was in a classroom setting was fall 1995 at Southeast Missouri State University, where I was a graduate student in the sport information office and taking classes for a M.A. in public administration. I was a lot younger and immature but I found a way to plow through 21 hours of classes while working 50 hours a week as an SID only to pull out of school after landing a full-time job.

What I do hope is that this next chapter in my life gives me plenty to discuss (good and bad) socially online, whether it’s in this blog, on Twitter, Facebook or even Google Plus. My time exploring and learning more about these social media sites (for business purposes) has taken a hit of late but it’s still allowing me to tweet from time to time, either at home, on the road or even at networking events. Heck, my internal battery is holding up better than the one in my BlackBerry.

This reminds me that I better recharge it soon. The same goes for me.

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Now What?

For the longest time I’ve thought about starting a blog. I have so much running through my head but for some reason fail to put it down on paper — or in this case typing it onto this page. So when I made the choice to join in the festivities I was put to the task of trying to decide on so many things: what to title my blog, what theme to choose and what I want to promote about myself along the way.

For the last day, I’ve tinkered with the design of the site and will probably change it up a couple more times before I’m satisfied. I love the header image of The Jake (ok, The Prog) but I will add backups if I need to freshen the look.  I’m pretty content with the title — I spent so many years in college athletics in a press box or on a field that it fits me, though I don’t plan on blogging about sports all the time.

Who knows, I may blog about trips to the Cape or the ever-changing technology that surrounds social media (this really intrigues me). I try and keep up with any new devices, software or ways that we chat with one another; however I must admit I don’t have an iPhone, an iPad or any tablet for that matter. I give thanks to a former employer who “forced” me to get a BlackBerry a number of years ago. I’m now hooked and maximize its use for email, Facebook and Twitter along with the occasional text. Thank you Sprint for the unlimited data usage plan.

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Tweeting and my Tribe

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of the Cleveland Indians, and I’m not afraid to admit it. During my lifetime I’ve seen more down years than good ones. Watching games as a kid at Municipal Stadium, I remember more empty wooden seats than seats with fans in them; seldom was it a full house.  Yes, they came close a couple of times to winning the World Series but it wasn’t close enough I guess.  Fast forward ahead to present at Progressive Field (to me it will always be Jacobs Field or The Jake), and it’s
a great time to be a Tribe fan!

By the end of June, in most years, the Indians have been all but eliminated from playoff contention and I would be hearing about trades that would lighten the payroll.  But it’s July 5th and Cleveland sits in first place in the Central Division and they are hosting the Yankees this week. Winning 3 of 4 against the Reds in interleague play was good for bragging rights, making opening up the series with a win on Monday over New York  that much sweeter. Only thing that would have made it better would have been to be there in person to witness the 6-3 win….a guy can dream.

Since moving from Cleveland to Charlotte six years ago I’ve had to follow my beloved Tribe on the Internet, whether it’s through reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer online or following the Tribe on ESPN or MLB websites. I do get to watch the occasional game on TV but it just isn’t the same as catching a game in person at the corner of Ontario and Carnegie eating a footlong smothered in their famous stadium mustard.

I now consider Twitter as my favorite way to track my Indians even when I’m out and can’t catch the Tribe on the tube. It’s great for me because I can gather many different accounts of any game – the two main reporters that I follow are Tom Withers from the AP and Paul Hoynes, the Indians’ main beat writer. Being the stat junkie that I am (and have been since I was a little kid), I can’t get enough of the notes that are passed on from them, Indians PR staff, MLB PR or the stat bureaus.

My wife isn’t such a big fan of Twitter though – the Indians yes, Twitter, not so much. I’m constantly checking my Twitter feed or Facebook to catch up on the latest about the Tribe. She can’t stand it most of the time, especially if I’m tweeting while she’s trying to talk to me. Hopefully she’ll remember our first date (just over 10 years ago) was at an Indians game — maybe it will buy me some extra tweet-time for the rest of the season!

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