Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

When I met my wife, she had this really cool car, an Acura Integra LS. Flip up headlights, sunroof. The whole nine yards.

I had a beat up Chevy Nova that we actually sold before she even got to ride in it.

For years we only had one car. It was okay. We worked at the same place and did most everything together. Occasionally we would borrow a friend's vehicle if we really needed to go somewhere without the other. When Netter went to work at another library location I had friends drive me home from work when necessary.

After we had the twins we decided we needed a second car, a bigger car, a family car, but I did not want a minivan. No Way. No How. No minivan.

It was the first of a number of changes we would make in our life after the loss of Meghan Joy. We weren't waiting for anything anymore (another post for another day). Much to my surprise, my wife told me she wanted an SUV, and not just any SUV, but a sporty SUV to boot.

I thought that was sexy! (and certainly not a minivan) So the shopping started...

After a few weeks of looking at new and used SUVs of every type and model we determined that we wanted to buy the new Honda Passport. That was almost 15 years ago.

This week we're saying goodbye to our old friend, that treasured vehicle. Netter long ago dubbed this incredibly reliable car Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 1995, I told the dealer I wasn't interested in a lease because we were going to drive that car until the wheels came off, and it fell down around us. We almost made it that far.Final mileage was 234,790.

In February, after determining that the cost of repair for belts and hoses was a good chunk of change towards a newer replacement vehicle we had been considering purchasing, we parked the Passport in front of the house until further review. K was almost 16, she would be driving soon, a repaired Passport might be a good option for her.

We purchased the newer vehicle - a minivan, go figure...

K just finally got her temps a few weeks ago and we have decided to go another route with the Passport. The tags are going to expire on Saturday. It seems silly to continue to pay for registration and insurance for a vehicle that likely won't be used until at least March 2010. It's time to say goodbye.

We posted the car on Craig'sList on Monday. I'm pretty sure it will be sold within the next few days.

When I think about all of the things we have done and the places that car has taken us, I can't help but smile. She was my first, (and only) new vehicle - ever.

The summer of 1995 saw us take the first of two trips to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A trip with great friends, time on the beach, four grand golf courses. It was so, so much fun.

In 1996 we used the Passport to move into our new home, (more of that not waiting stuff) and 5 days later welcomed our baby D into the world. Of course the Passport brought her home from the hospital. Mommy got to bring her baby home with her this time. Monitors be damned.

We used the Passport to haul all the material to finish our basement in 2000 when Netter started doing home daycare. That same year a friend drove the Passport to Pittsburgh to buy the first bed he would share with his wife. We were in their wedding the very next summer.

Of course with my family in Michigan, and my roots in the D(etroit) we also made several trips to Michigan. We made the last of two journeys to Tiger Stadium for the 3rd to last game to be played at that historic venue, in September 1999. We saw the Lions play in 2002, the first year that Ford Field was open. Yes, they lost.

Earlier in 2002 we made our last journey to North Myrtle Beach. Different friends, more great times, lots of seafood (crab for me every day in fact), more beautiful golf courses. Throw in some Bloody Mary's and too many good stories to share in one space and the trip was just as awesome as our first.

Our first trip to Greenville, South Carolina to visit my fave cousin Butch, and all the Brochowski family for Thanksgiving in 2003, (I think) might have been the last of the long trips we would take in our Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. I remember my Dad telling me the steel belts were showing on my tires and that it was time to replace them, and my cousin Christy's husband Yousef marveling at the 148,000 miles on the odometer at the time.

Of course, not all of our trips were joyous, but the memories will live on. Our trusted friend took us to say goodbye to my Babcia, and to my Uncle Jerry - probably the man I admire most in the whole world. I have the greatest golf story ever from the trip for Uncle Jerry's funeral. I'll spare you the details and just share that teaching Yousef how to say Titleist - was one of the funniest things ever.

Happy or sad, good times or bad, great stories, good friends, great times - the Passport just kept going.

Goodbye old friend.



FYI - Today's post is a little Monday rant. I'll understand if you don't want to hang around today. If you do, maybe you can relate or commiserate?

I'm writing this as a way of building toward a to-do list of sorts so maybe you can relate to that too?

I haven't blogged in a while. I feel like I've blown a great opportunity to grab some new readers and connect with new folks. Maybe not. I hope not. As usual I may be thinking too much. (A big thank you to Nate Riggs for that by the way. I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity.)

More upside? After today's rant post - I promise a blog post on every topic I bring up today as part of my rant. Well, at least the ones I think might make a good story.

You see, once again here it is Monday morning and I find myself behind. Behind on replying to messages, behind on replying to emails, behind on - well still behind on things from before Golf for Joy, and many, many more...

Sometimes it seems like I spend my entire life catching up, and the cycle continues on and on.

If I do get time to focus on something, it seems something ALWAYS takes my attention elsewhere. Granted, that's not always a bad thing, like when I became obsessed with the television show Bones and wanted to see all the re-runs I could before the season premiere. More often, however it's because I have to tend to something silly.

Like the Blackberry fiasco. (That might even be two blog posts.)

It will especially turn into two posts if I talk about being tired of poor customer service, but that might be a post all by itself.

Or a broken T.V.

Or any number of things that just seem to pop up out of nowhere, and turn into hours and hours of time suckers.

Like Vista and connectivity issues - no Mom it's not just your computer...

Like tires for my truck.

Paying bills and juggling cash. I'm tired of playing by the rules they, (i.e. banks and mortgage companies and such) put in place and then having them change the rules, seemingly on a whim. (I know it's the economy, but this is a rant remember...)

So, I have to find a turning point, a positive if you will.

One positive is that part of the reason I am behind is the presentation I was fortunate enough to be able to give at Job Help Day at the Library last week.

Another is that I got to spend the day Saturday playing golf with my friends and enjoying college football for the balance of the evening.

Okay, we do watch college football every week, but the golf was a nice bonus. Though I actually played very poorly, and we started the round in the rain, I was still happy to get out.

There's just something about being on the course with your friends, watching one of them shoot his best round ever, obviously happy as heck about it - and you can see the joy in his face.

Good job Dave!

I've got to get back to the to do list now...

What are you all working on?

Or - if you want - tell me what you're tired of...


I've got several projects with quickly approaching deadlines going on right now so the blog is a bit thin on material recently. I'm sorry about that. (I know, you're not supposed to apologize like that. I just did. Sue me.)

I do want to take a minute to highlight something, especially for my Columbus audience that I think is very important, and really one of the best ideas I've ever seen.

If you haven't already, head over to Shiny Door and check out the details OneWebDay.

I've talked before about the importance of technology, not just that it's become such a integral part of our society, but that so many lack access, lack knowledge, and don't have anyone to teach them how as it were.

Every day at the library I talk to at least one person who has to accomplish some task, whether searching for housing, signing up for an email account, applying for a job, creating a resume, or even applying for unemployment or other government assistance. All of these things are made that much more difficult when "you just don't know how."

Now, a lot of times when you just don't know how, you can just not do it. (Like my math homework in high school, but that's another story.) But you just can't "not do," things like those listed above because things like housing and jobs are pretty darned important aren't they?

To even take this to the next level - What if these folks could create a network for themselves using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter - how much better would quality of life be for them. How much more included and most especially valued would they feel if they just knew how?

Take a big breath there and think about that for a second. What would your life be like without technology? Or how about without the Internet?

Yeah, I feel that way too. Very, very fortunate indeed.

Many folks are not so fortunate, Too many are just plain getting left behind, and frankly Scarlett that just stinks.

Well, I give a damn. I know you do too, and as fate would have it, we are not alone.

From the Wiki:

year, OneWebDay focuses on the importance of access to fast, affordable, open Internet for all people, otherwise known as digital inclusion. OneWebDay Columbus has planned an array of activities around the idea of digital inclusion, including classes and seminars, technology refurbishment and more. At OneWebDay Columbus participants will have a variety of opportunities to both volunteer (example - refurbish computers) and learn (example - Legalities of Open Source Software workshop). If you cannot spend time at our event but still want to be a part of this worldwide day of web celebration, please consider donating computer components no longer in use. We will be using them to teach the refurbishing and recycling. Our experts can take old slow computers and turn them into useful tools again.
For more information on Columbus OneWebDay join us at and help make it One Web. For All.

In the end, it's all about access. We have it. Too many others don't.

OneWebDay brings us together so that everybody is included, so that everyone has access, so that everyone has an opportunity to learn how.

I am trying to clear my schedule to participate. I will definitely be donating some computer components.

Maybe you can help out too?

We're all in this together after all.

Too Transparent? Not enough? Overthinking? Hmmm...

I get a lot of comments from folks that my blog, (and pretty much all the information I put out for public consumption) is very open, deep, revealing, and sometimes - too revealing, too open, too deep - Man Jim why do you put all that out in the open like that?

My reply is pretty simple:

Why not?

As I've talked about before, my aim in using social media, in being part of the community is to make sure people know the real me, to know the things I value. I've talked about how I had let myself, and the way folks perceived me to become someone, something I was not, or at the very least somebody I didn't like to be. I want to be sure I don't go there again, and I want to be held accountable.

Now, I don't put "everything" out there, and there have been times when I wonder if I've been putting too much... I don't want to risk holding back to a point where it feels like I'm being dishonest. I would hope you would let me know if things weren't comfortable.

We all share the same concerns. We all have similar experiences. I think it's okay to talk about them, to be open, to share, to help each other.

Not everybody does and I get that. That's okay.

Recently, I was quizzed by one of my co-workers about some of my social media use. My co-worker, let's call them, CW uses Facebook, and is starting to blog a bit, but isn't sure just yet about "putting oneself" out there as it were. (Yes, I kept all references to CW very non-gender specific and I understand that the grammar police might come after me. I'm okay with that.)

Today, I thought I might share our exchange and get your take. What do you think?

CW's first question: If you have a certain "online persona" how does that overlap/interact with your real life persona?

My reply: I try really hard not to have an online persona, but instead to just be me as much as possible. I censor myself a little bit, but that's also a part of my process of trying to lose the "curmudgeon in the corner" image. My life had become about everything negative and I
was miserable, and miserable to be around I would imagine. In the spring of 2008 I ran into an online chat room watching hockey games. It was easy to just be myself, open up, and try as much as possible to keep it positive. As the summer progressed and we, (CML) moved into "Learn and Play," it was easy for me to transition that positive using the new
(to me) tools, and let people know that the curmudgeon wasn't really me, but just someone I had allowed myself to become over time, and that I wasn't happy with it. I wrote a blog post about it if you want to check it out.

CW's second question: How do you relate the "curmudgeon in the corner" with the "600 followers, (on Twitter)" guy?

My reply: "The 600 followers guy was unintentional, but who doesn't like to be popular right? :-) Just kidding. (Point of fact, I'm not concerned about numbers. That really was a joke.) Twitter is the tool I use to keep in touch with people I don't see everyday, and to meet new people who share similar interests. Think of it this way, Even with your best friend you probably didn't dive in as soon as you met them and start having heart to heart conversations. You took some time to get to know each other, sharing small parts of your life,
until a trust was built, molded, hardened and such and you felt you could open up. Twitter is pretty much the same thing, but it takes it a step further, or could because with these new tools people are collaborating, doing business, and still in some cases just making new friends. But - it is a small incremental process just like real life.

Most people who dive onto Twitter and bombard folks with way too much detail, and try to pitch their business deals or advertise their blogs right away are shunned almost immediately. (Just like we run away from the salespeople who attack as soon as we walk into the store.)
Those who get into Twitter for the reasons I mentioned above are far more likely to be valued so that when they do post a new blog or have something to share, or even have a business proposition people will listen. (Just like the sales person we know was watching and paying attention to what we are looking at, approaching us with answers when we have questions, but waiting for us to ask.)"

CW's final, and probably most important question: Who is more important, your twitter audience, or the people you interact with face to face every day? :)

This one was easy if I used my wife and my kids as my only example, but the answer didn't come out quite like I had intended. Tell me what you think?

"As far as my audience - I don't generally separate the two, but if I need to I always choose face to face first. The Social Media tools are just that, tools. While I hope to build valued relationships that will be face to face eventually - Ultimately the existing, (face to face) relationships are what is most important to me, and the people in front of me bring a more valued relationship. Just like customers in the building come before customers on the phone."

I was trying to emphasize the value of face to face, but I feel like I left a part of this unanswered, or something is missing in my reply. In many cases, my online relationships are also face to face relationships. Perhaps that means I'm using the tools effectively, the right way?

But not all of these relationships are face to face, at least not yet. Does that mean I'm not placing enough value, investing enough time? I know that not "all" of them will reach the next level, but what about 1/2? 1/3?

Perhaps I'm guilty (again) of over thinking. (You saw the smoke right?)

Above all else I want to be sure that I am doing things right, that my positive remains positive, and that my emphasis remains on building honest, open, relationships whether that be in the cyber community or the face to face world.

What's your take on this? What do you think?

My Man Card?

Let's just get it out there...

Yes - I watch Project Runway, and yes I follow the blog Project RunGay.

Yes - I do think Christian Siriano is a fascinating, fascinating young man and I have propped him in my "About Me" since the day this blog went live.

Betcha didn't notice, didja?

For the record - I also used to watch American Chopper which featured Orange County Choppers before it got moved from the Discovery Channel to goodness knows where, on who knows what night.

Oh yeah - Yes - Purple is my favorite color. (No, I don't like pink. I don't think it's the right color for me ;-)


Yes - I'm prone to cry when...

I read a touching article, or blog post. When I hear certain songs. When I watch some Hallmark commercials even.

When we used to watch Extreme Home Makeover my kids would watch me to see my reaction instead of the end of the show when the homes were revealed to the family.

Yes - I once embarrassed my youngest daughter by sobbing at the end of Marley & Me. I cried even harder when I read the book. Today, this dog post about Shaka got me - maybe even harder.

Yes - I walked around for the 18 days my oldest daughter was at the fair on the verge of tears.

I'm just a big fan of creativity, and a very emotional person. Oh yeah, and a proud Daddy.

You can call it my I.G. if you want to. I am who I am, and I'm comfortable with me.

Personally, - I think that's a good thing.

Psst... Fellas - I also think Chicks dig that. No really - just ask them.


Where I Learn Things Catorce...

Do you think Bono did that on purpose? There's a lot of theories, and it's one of those things that drives some fans crazy... But it's just a little thing right?

Sometimes little things linger don't they?

As I lay in bed this morning after all the ladies had left, with Mr. Mulligan sound asleep by my side I could hear only the soft hum of the ceiling fan above my head, nothing more. This peaceful moment made me pause and think about all the angst I've been feeling lately. I've considered blogging about some of it, but really at least for now - I think it's best to keep some things to myself and not air my dirty laundry in public as it were.

Suffice to say that as I shared with my community yesterday - I'm feeling a lot like Mr. I'm Gonna, and that's definitely not the person I want to be.

To gain some forward momentum, today I'd like to share some of the folks I learn from who help motivate me.

Not long after I started getting more and more involved with social media, Seth Simonds followed me on Twitter. I checked out his Tweet stream, saw that he was very much into the conversation and followed him back. Seth has a tendency to say all the right things at the perfect times, like this comment on Monday when I had had a very bad day of dealing with the foot. I needed to hear, (read) something like that right then. So I replied to Seth and tried really hard to find a way to move forward.

Seth sent me a private message the next day to motivate me a little more. Seth motivates a lot of folks with his Primal Stride blog which is very appropriately subtitled simple steps for complex lives.

He can also be found at The Dating Papers, a very entertaining blog that sometimes makes me laugh, sometimes makes me reflect, very often makes me think, and ALWAYS reminds me how happy, and lucky I am to have found the love of my life at a very young age.

Finally, I think, or at least I haven't found him anywhere else (grin) - Seth blogs at the Design Pepper blog a great blog about creativity and web design.

I follow all of Seth's blogs because they make me think, they help me relate, and they help me keep things in perspective.

Which reminds me...

There are two other great sources of perspective I'd like to share with you today. One is by well known columnist Craig Wilson of USA Today. Craig's column's have kept me grinning, and laughing, and thinking for the better part of the last 4-5 years. I also like that Craig is very generous with his time, answers email from readers with personal responses, accepts almost all friend requests on Facebook, and even held a weekly chat for years, until USA shut it down.
I am grateful to Craig for his perspective as well.

Finally today - I want to share a Photoblog I follow. My friend, and fellow Red Wings fan Scott has the most interesting images, and accompanying messages about, well about everything at his photoblog StrayMatter. If you're looking for beautiful images that make you say Hmmm... that's the place to go.

What blogs, articles, sites do you visit regularly to help you keep perspective? Where do you go for inspiration?