Kudos for Google…

Just a homespun graphic of googleGoogle sent me this link a little while ago, and it meant a lot to see it.

http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/givesback/2011/

If you didn’t know about this. A couple years back I competed in Google’s Project 10 to the 100. My foundation project was to build an education system that allowed an open forum for educators and subject matter authorities to discuss and dictate curriculum (not politicians/civil leaders), utilizing up to date education methodologies(our public education system is old and non-competitive globally), and most importantly…free.

Well…obviously, I didn’t win the grant, but the Khan Academy did win, and allowed their curriculum to be translatable in a number of global languages, allowing for an education system that is FREE. It’s almost exactly what I was hoping for.

I just wanted to say that while there is a LOT of banter on what Google’s mission is…they are one of the few big players that are in it to make the world a better place, not just fill their wallet. It was cool to see that they’d granted not just the money from Project 10 to the 100, but also about 100 million more to other initiatives.

Google (and Microsoft) taught me a long time ago that employers can choose to be a part of the solution, rather than being just another part of the system. I wish everyone shared the same business model.

/end kudos-ranty-type-post

-Tony

PS – I swear I’ll post more. Really. This is just a phase I swear ;)



Inspiration…

I’ve come to expect the curve balls life threw at me. Life is a challenge. Sometime the challenges are barely worth the fight, and sometimes they mean everything to you.

Faith has always been the big one for me. I put everyone on a pedestal. People are amazing and the more you show this to them sooner or later, they begin to shine. Inspiration is a big thing for everyone. We all want and need to be inspired. I think thats a big piece of faith in itself. Inspiration. Inspiration allows us to transcend, to believe, to act, and with a little foresight allows us to be better.

Sounds hokey I know. But it’s always what I look for in people. Friends & loved ones…even the people I see in a mall. When someone does good, we shouldn’t just count ourselves lucky…we should be stocking up on karma like it was a rare metal. Some people think it is that rare, but it isn’t. I think it’s all about the people we want to be and the people we look for in friends.

That same inspiration, that faith…it makes it all worth it. If you see something that needs to be done. If you see someone that needs help. Do it. Help them. Along the way that same act will be contagious, and all of a sudden it’s not one crazy blogger writing a little post…it’s a few people that go out of their way to help others in need.

As a practice THIS is how we become a better society, a better people. I’m not talking about starting a government program to help the poor. I’m talking about helping the poor, and underprivileged…hell…I am talking about helping an old lady cross the street. Do it! It’s these same acts that serve as an example to others. It’s these same acts that should permeate our society rather than the indifference and social narcissism we’re beating into our kids. We raise the bar as individuals and society will fall in step. That increased level of inspiration could revitalize our faith in each other ten times better than the occasional tear-jerker article I see on the net.

May I am just ranting here but it’s a goal right? When I started my own consulting firm I promised myself it would NOT be one of those ventures that was just there to make as much money as possible and not give something back. I made the decision that my firm would donate every bit of money it could, and in some cases I’ll be donating resources…to the maximum amount I can without jeopardizing my future. I’m hardly giving up my ambitions, I’m just saying that my company will be a part of the solution, and not part of the many many problems we see in big business today. If you shape your business model to include giving back to the community, you will figure out a way to do just that. Instead of just one person going that extra mile…it’s an entire business. I think that if everyone in the city donated 4-6 hours of their week this would truly be a society worth being a part of. There are sooo many things that donated time and resources could resolve without spending any of our precious dollars that I think we’d find ourselves living far far easier.

And it comes back to that inspiration, that faith. We all want it, it’s just insane that we all don’t simple stand up and make it a reality. It’s pretty obvious this more a journal entry than some other edgy rant, but I still have to get these out there too. I rely on inspiration. When I read or meet new people, you can bet i am wearing some seriously rose-tinted glasses, because I want them all to inspire me, even if it’s only to teach me how to clean dishes with a big fat grin on my face…I still want it.

You might have thought I was going to lean on the more spiritual end for this entry, but the truth is I’ve been having a harder and harder time with talking about it lately. I feel like differences in opinion, and the psychological blowback from some really hard experiences from way back are finally coming to roost. I haven’t set foot in a church in over a decade, and I can count the number of times in the last twenty years on one hand. The difference is I grew up knowing, but slowly learned to question those beliefs. Before I was twenty I’d learned from the worst of people and many very hard and bitter experiences lessons that changed my perspective on what the difference was between learning how to be a better person and learning how to be what society implicates we should be doing. Fare more often than not I found myself having to take a moral high ground that made me feel more and more ostracized from both friends and family alike. I’ve since learned a happy medium with friends and family…but not so much where religion is concerned. That difference between knowing and believing, that gap between inspiration and faith, it’s still kindof a mess for me.

Okay enough with the rant…ending this sappy journal entry ;)

Gnight!

-T



A Cool Little Fundraiser from @Starstruck1409

TonyTown - Midland Festival BalletWant to buy a cool necklace and help a whole lot of people out at the same time?

I have a really cool friend/tweep (yes it’s a real person!) that is trying to raise money for Cancer Research and a her dance company, the Midland Festival Ballet.

TonyTown - Casey BryanHer name is Casey Bryan @Starstruck1409 and she’s absolutely looney about Dallas Stars Hockey busting her buns on this. So if you have a need, please go to her blog and help her out!

There is a good selection of colors so if you are curious please check her site out! You can get all the details HERE.

Take care and have great day! Ciao!

-Tony

PS – No this wasn’t a paid review or article, it’s just me getting the word out for a friend on what I think is a worthwhile cause ;)



Indifference kills…

A day or two ago, I started seeing links to a very provocative video that was released detailing a situation whereby a child was not only hit twice by traffic, but that for some time a large number of people ignored the poor child that was struck and moved on about their day. I have two links for this on CBS News and The Sydney Morning Herald (there are more but these two paint a good enough picture). I haven’t been so outraged in a long time. And hopefully this will shed some light for all those friends of mine on why they couldn’t understand why I have to help…

indifference hit and runYears ago, when I was 19, we were leaving Ellum going northbound on 75 and were exiting to hit Cafe Brazil I think…our exit was slowed to a stop, but the highway was full speed.

I was looking out at the cars passing by so fast. Then it happened…I watched a biker get rear-ended and hit again twice by cars that did not stop afterwards, the bike with no driver spun into the middle of the highway, further causing another biker and a couple other cars to crash.

My friends in the car were jamming out pretty loud so when they heard me scream “NO!” they didn’t realize what it was I had seen right away. It wasn’t just that all those people were in trouble. I wasn’t just fear that gripped me. I was soooo angry. Because even after all that…the cars weren’t stopping.

I couldn’t stand it, and jumped out of the car I was in and ran onto the highway to get people…anyone to stop and help. The people in the cars that had crashed were fine, and even their cars were relatively okay…but the bikers, no one would come near them.

The second biker was closest and was in full riding gear, he was able to tell me his name, where he was and which day it was. A doctor stopped his car to block the lane properly and help with him as I then ran to the second biker.

The second biker was barely breathing and he couldn’t talk. His eyes were alert and frantically trying to communicate…it was pure fear…and though and I could tell he was trying to move – he didn’t have the strength to even move a finger. I was afraid to even hold his hand his body was in such bad shape and…slightly twisted.

It took the police 5 minutes to get there because of the traffic jam, and it took the ambulances almost 10. It was Friday night around 12am on northbound 75. I don’t remember much after that, I was horrified. At some point I guess I’d given my contact information to the police and that doctor that helped out there, because the next day he called me and thanked me for the effort. Unfortunately, he also informed me that one of the motorcyclists had passed away at the site of the accident, and the other had passed away overnight in the hospital.

That wasn’t my first tangle with Death. But that was when it became clear to me that I’ll never be able to even feign indifference in these situations. I would never be that guy that just kept driving on.

A year or two later on vacation in New Mexico, while I was blissfully asleep in the passenger seat. The driver of the car I was in fell asleep from exhaustion and drove us off the side of a mountain at 60mph. Your best imagination could not describe what happened to us in that fall. The only thing that didn’t happen was the car didn’t explode…

…It took the busload of people behind us over 30 minutes to get to us from the road. It took over an hour for an ambulance to get there, and almost two hours to get us back to the hospital. The truck had bounced and rolled over 100 yards down. Days later, we were shown pictures of what had happened and what happened to the truck, and pictures of where it had happened. If that bus hadn’t stopped and those people on it not come, the sun and environment would have finished the job for both of us.

It wasn’t just seeing a wreck now that influenced me. As far as I was concerned, I felt, and still feel to this day, that I have a moral obligation to help in any way I can. I don’t expect the same from everyone, but from experience, I sure as hell hope that when something like that happens to me, someone will be around that feels the same way I do.

And for anyone that feels they can’t be bothered to stop and help, I hope there was a lesson in this somewhere.

My .02 for the evening. Hope everyone has a great night.

-Tony



Ferociously Friendly Friday #FF

Tony's Birthday DragonWe all look forward to Fridays.

It’s probably because they are Fridays. Let loose, cut loose, grab your friends, check out a new scene, catch a show, gather at a friends, cook out, hit a party…whatever it is you do on the weekend, Friday is what sets the tone.

This Friday has been just a hair outside the norm. There are so many things going on that my eyes got crossed. I have the opportunity to come out and meet a pretty cool twitter friend at a local club. The Stars regular season opener is tonight, in which fektons of friends and tweeps are going. There is a really good band (The Mind Spiders) playing in Denton tonight. This is the last weekend of DTC’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ at the Wyly Theater. AND, a very awesome little girl named Sydney made me a dragon for my birthday and I have to go visit and accept said gracious gift this evening.

So. I have this HUGE deal about not showing up or being there for kiddos when they are expecting me for something they consider important. Ergo, I am meeting up with my friends and they insanely cool daughter is going to give me my present…(yes, that a photo of the dragon she made me) ;)

Anyhow last week this came up in some conversations and really just makes better sense to me. Who you follow on twitter should be based on interest, not on building reciprocal followers. That said, I’m going to *try* to do this every Friday. I’ll be present a few cool peeps that I follow on Twitter. If it’s going to be called “Follow Friday” I am making sure you know why I recommend them.

Here’s this week’s awesome people:

@TheRealChes Ches is a geek, a supermom, a great coder, and most importantly she’s got a pretty damn good sense of humor. We been friends for a pretty long time and she’s got a good .02 for you when she sees fit ;)

@MarkRamseyhttp://markramsey.com Mark is a buddy back from my college days and is a pretty fun guy to listen to. He’s got tons going on and has two internet shows, in addition to running multiple other businesses and is a great resource for almost anything tech. Check him out!

@Melysa_Shttp://sexliesandbacon.com I kind of consider Melysa an authority on snark ;) She’s a pretty funny and her quest(s) to find the right guy are pretty funny to follow.

So here’s to a great start on the weekend ;) have a great weekend everyone!

-T

m4s0n501


Be a good person.

This is actually a quote from a really cool guy I met via another cool friend on Facebook. He fairly regularly posts some pretty insightful stuff, and this one really caught me.


So you want to be a good person? Do what’s right? Here’s the deal, you’re going to be hated…Hated for reasons you’ll never fully understand. People are going to say things about you: lies and over exaggerations about your past. People are going to take advantage of you, cheat you, lie to you, steal from you because you know it’s no good to be untrusting. You will be taken for granted. You will not be respected and you will suffer and, yet, you will walk with grace through it all…and grow and grow and you won’t stop…because you made a commitment…and it’s far from the easy path…but you are good person…stay true…do the right thing and, in the end, nothing will stop you. Being good is it’s own reward. It will all make sense in time…and remember, you weren’t always a good person yourself.

-Aaron Manley Smith

He’s right. When you think about it, doing good things IS it’s own reward. There are a tons of people out there that are under the mistaken impression that they will not succeed if they don’t take the time to stop and help others do the same, and I feel bad for them, because in doing good things, you lead by example. You teach others that you should never be reluctant in helping those that need it.

A couple months ago a friend and I were driving back to Dallas from a long trip visiting friends, and the craziest thing happened. We’re on our side of the highway, and the lanes going the other direction we at least 20 yards away, but something was really wrong because I was seeing headlights directly ahead of us and coming fast. I swerved quickly onto the shoulder of the highway as a sports car zoomed by at about 60mph going the wrong direction on the tollway. My friend and I just kindof looked back stunned wondering what the hell just happened. We then called the state troopers and let them know about it. Just as we finished the call and were about to pull back onto the highway, a truck pulled up behind us.

The driver got out and walked up to my window and asked if I needed help. Why? Because I had my blinkers on and it was late at night. He wasn’t some horror figure from a bad movie, he was being a good person. I kick myself when I remember this because THAT is the exact kind of person I like to meet. I wish I had gotten his name so I could invite him over to meet the crew, etc.

If we as a society made sure to impress this behavior as a moral obligation rather than playing the ignorance or indifference cards I think our lives would be quite a bit better. I know I come off as a bit hardcore about this type of perspective though. I still tell people this, “The only divinity you will ever experience is your own.” It’s not meant to discredit anyone’s beliefs, it’s meant to get people to make an effort to make and experience their own miracle. I think walking THAT path affords you a far brighter journey.

Just my .02 ;)

-Tony



A new (or different) take on Friend Fridays #FF on Twitter…

So here’s my take of FriendFridays.

I don’t like the notion of referring people to follow/friend without saying why exactly I am referring them. I’m sorry but it just makes sense.

Who you follow on twitter should be based on interest, not on building reciprocal followers. That said, I am going to start pointing out people that are generally awesome, interest me, and/or I think you might benefit from following. I have a LOT of people on this list, so i am going to keep it low-key and just do a few people a week that have been pretty fun to stalk follow and read up on.

@avitablehttp://www.avitable.com/ I don’t always agree with him, but I do most of the time, which says quite a bit in itself. He has a nasty habit of writing about things you’re too timid or embarrassed to admit you feel the same way about. He makes the list because among so many online peeps that knew what a mutual friend was going through (hell). He was the only other person I know of that actually got up and did something to help.

@TheBloggesshttp://thebloggess.com Jenny has a style about her, when she posts, it’s like someone just magically showed up to kiss you square in the face with a cream pie. She. Will. Make. You. Smile. On the off chance she doesn’t make you laugh, you probably need more meds.

@GenesisMerandahttp://genesismeranda.wordpress.com I started reading her blog before I saw her in the twitterverse. She’s done a pretty decent job of documenting her own journey of self-discovery, and it’s been really interesting to follow her blog.

There. Now you all have references and can follow these people and blame me for it be confident that you made the right choice. ;)

Have a great weekend people!

-Tony

If you’re looking to follow me, please feel free to do so, you can catch me on twitter here @tony_hunt



Lies of the Beautiful People

Lies of the Beautiful People
by Sixx A.M.

I am trying to tell you something important…good looks are great for sex, but useless for my soul. The problem is I need the body AND brains…I want to feel like I’m staring into the sun every time I see you, I want you to be so radiant that I’ll never care when you lie, because it’ll keep me from thinking too much about why you’d think lying was necessary in the first place. -1998

It’s funny, that sense of entitlement, specifically in the standards we hold as prerequisites in relationship. When I said that so many years ago, I meant it, but I see now that time teaches what impudence lets you ignore. It’s not about learning to wear rose tinted glasses, it’s about learning to put the effort into knowing people well enough that they shine regardless. I remember someone saying, “Every man and woman is a star…” they were right ;)

Well this ain’t no sideshow
This is the great unknown
This is the poison we take
Yeah

Outside the velvet rope
Standing there all alone
Are the grotesque and ashamed
Yeah

Well if you think real beauty’s on the outside
Well that’s a far cry
From the truth

Maybe all the information you received
Well you should not believe
There’s no proof

Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people

I feel so traumatized
Doped up and televised
Life can be cruel and insane
Yeah

But we’ve got these ugly scars
On our infected hearts
Maybe it’s time for a change
Yeah

And if you think real beauty’s on the outside
Well that’s a far cry
From the truth

Maybe all the information you received
Well you should not believe
There’s no proof

Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people

Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
Just run and hide from the lies of the beautiful

Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people



Tuesday’s Quickie – Roasted Cod and Veggies

Two posts in a day! It is the end! (not really)

So a little while ago I made something for lunch that came out pretty good and a few people asked for the recipe.

No hassles, it’s just mainly chop it up, throw it in, cook, eat. Here you go!

Ingredients:
10oz. Cod Filets (fresh, not breaded or frozen, I get them on sale all the time at the grocery store for like $3-4)
1 small bell pepper (if you’re using a big one you only need half)
8oz mushrooms (it doesn’t matter what kind, as long as they aren’t the ones that will make you have an out of body experience)
1 small white onion (half if its a big white onion, purple onions would work on this just as well too)
1 small zucchini squash
1 Serrano pepper

Prep:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Take the mushrooms and put a layer of them in the bottom of a 6×9 roasting pan (like what you’d cook meatloaf in).
Fill the roasting pan with water until the mushroom are only a bit above the water.
Layer the cod filet(I had to cut mine to fit) on top of the mushrooms in the roasting pan.
Quarter the onion (well actually i cut them into eighths and let them fall apart)
Quarter the zucchini squash,
Cut the bell pepper into strips
Dice the serrano pepper
Cut the remaining mushrooms into halves
Mix everything together and layer on top of the cod in the pan.

Once the over is heated, drop the pan in for 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on your preferences on roasting veggies dry, you may want to add more water. However if you add less the mushrooms on the bottom will overcook a tad.

You’ll notice I didn’t actually use any seasoning. It’s up to you, but there are a number of good seasonings you can try, I prefer Slap Yo Mama Cajun Seasoning to most others, if only because it tastes decent and the name is unforgettable ;)

-T



Jar of Hearts

Jar of Hearts
by Christina Perri

Sometimes it’s not always my own causes I fight for. The problem is the the trail of friends and loved ones left in the wake just seems to keep growing. -2004

I related to this song because it took me so long to warm back up and start living that it almost seems like it’s too little too late, or too much too fast. I suppose that’s the funk though. You learn to fight for your values, the problem there is when those values make you stop when there is no need. Learning to climb to the top doesn’t teach you how to land, it only gives you the notion of how to fall gracefully. I guess I equated that vice with the a rational not to let anyone get close.

-T

No, I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
Don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

I’ve learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

It took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
‘Cause you broke all your promises
And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

Who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ ’round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are?