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Bike Riding with Candyce

This afternoon Candyce and I rode bikes in South Tempe. There were a few open houses, and we had a lot of fun walking around other people’s castles. We stumbled onto a neighborhood that I never looked at before. I don’t like how it’s basically six unique homes repeated hundreds of times. They are pretty, but they are all the same.

The house was charming from the curb. We walked through a cute courtyard to get the front door. But once we stepped inside, I was blown away by the open floor plan. I felt like I could play full-court basketball in every room. It just felt awesome. So basically that house has changed my mind about which neighborhoods I will be shopping in.

Mike Sweeney was at Mass tonight. They was a camera recording him and the congregation all through Mass. I spoke to a guy after Mass that explained that they were producing a show about the lives of Christian athletes. The guy also runs CatholicExchange.com, which is one of the bigger Catholic websites. It was fun to meet another creative mind behind a Catholic website. There aren’t many of us.

Candyce is having a real difficult time this semester. Over a dinner of BBQ, she explained how frustrated she was with her graphic design assignment, and her degree as a whole. Her professors are outrageously demanding. They never say anything nice about the students or their work. You can never do enough. It’s fostered a competitive and hostile environment where every student is an island. Since Candyce is already doubting that she wants to be a graphic designer, this atmosphere makes it even more difficult to go to class every day.

How I’ll Buy My Next House

I made a decision late last year to move to a new house. My house how is fun because it’s close to friends and church, but I’m ready to upgrade to a cool location in a more well-groomed, family-centered community.

I realize that most of my tasks I give myself involve cleaning up different parts of my life. Like right now, I’m upgrading to a new look for supafly.com that is more user friendly and cleaner. I just finished a five-weekend project of painting my garage, putting in new shelves, and installing cabinets and a workbench. Why? I wanted it clean. The “happy place” in my head that I always visit is basically having a clean house, clean websites, and a clean conscience. I like it clean.

That’s why my next house will be in a neighborhood that is already clean, or at least cleaning up fast. And my neighborhood is getting better. Right now there are six or eight houses close to mine that are getting remodeled, repainted, or new landscaping. That’s nice, but there are many neighbors who aren’t pitching in.

My pursuit of Clean has lead me to the decision to buy the the least-expensive house in an expensive area. Although my next house will be smaller and cost more money than my house now, it is still a logical decision. I learned in a finance class that the house is a great tax shelter. If you live in a house for over two years, you aren’t taxed on any profit you make when you sell the house. But if you buy and sell stocks, you pay hefty taxes on your profits. So a big leap now can help me make more money in the end.

I’ve identified the area that I’ll be buying. This is the area that I explored while riding Candyce’s bike throughout November and December. It’s just a lot of nice neighborhoods where you can tell the owners take pride in their houses. The area starts on the east side of south Tempe near Circle G Ranches. Homes in Circle G range from $900,000 to over $4,000,000. If you go west from there for five miles to the edge of Tempe, homes stick in that price range. There are a handful of smaller homes that I are in my price range, and there are three for sale right now. I would love to move in tomorrow, but it’s not the right time yet.

The biggest reason why I want to move to a new house is I want a chance to use all of my talent. My favorite thing to do when I get home is to work on my house, and I want a house where it’s financial responsible to do creative projects like crown molding, luxury bathrooms, creative outdoor living spaces, and detailed tile and woodwork. I am capable of doing artistic things to a house that most people would pay a lot of money to hire someone else to do. I know that if I go wild with upgrades on my house now, I could potentially price myself out of the neighborhood. I love doing home improvement projects because it’s a fun and safe way for me to spend money. I’m ready to have freedom to have more fun.

Car Shows, Cookout

This morning I went to a car show with James from accounting. I first got into office humor when I was a senior in college with the movie “Office Space.” We watched that at our house almost every day for a semester. I remember in the movie some characters would refer to each other by the first name and their department. So I make myself laugh so hard when I don’t call my friend “James,” but “James from Accounting.”

On the retreat earlier in the week I talked with James for a while about cars and fist fights. Although he’s a well-groomed athletic guy in his 40s, you would never have guessed he averaged one fist-fight per month from fifth grade all the way until he graduated. He has scares like you wouldn’t believe. I didn’t have scare stories nearly as cool as his. His enemy stabbed him with a screw driver; I fell on cut my eyebrow on a rock when I was seven. I guess that what happens when you are raised in a rough part of town.

So anyway James and I decided to meet up at a car show this morning in downtown Chandler. It’s always the high-dollar hot rods that make a show the most memorable for me. I talked to one guy who had a Foose-designed ’32 Ford. I asked the owner how he could afford to higher Chip Foose, and he told me he knew his dad–legendary Sam Foose–and Chip designed his car while he was still in college. How cool is that?

There were also two Boyd Coddington cars that I saw at Barrett-Jackson two years ago: Chezoom and Whatthehey. Together, they were purchased at the auction for about $750,000. I was surprised they didn’t have the cars roped off. I mean, these two cars are worth more than the rest of the cars at the show put together.

I bought a magazine as a kid and Chezoom was on the cover. I held onto that magazine until the the pages wore thin and broke from the staples. The silhouette of that highly custom ’57 Chevy is etched in my memory. Just to see it in real life is like meeting a sports idol.

I spoke to the guy standing by the cars, and he explained that the owner is putting together a local car museum from his collection. After talking to this guy, I come to find out that many of the cars I’ve lusted after at Barrett-Jackson were purchased by this local guy and are going in his museum. For a car guy, there is nothing cooler than having a museum like that close to within a few miles of your own garage.

James and I had lunch at a legendary Mexican place and talked about working for Life Teen. He and I both enjoy working, knowing that what we do is helping people. But at the same time, we agree that many things need to change in order for Life Teen to continue to be a strong organization. It was a difficult conversation to have, but I know we both needed it.

:::

I heard there was another car show in Tempe, so after lunch I drove over to see what they had going on. It wasn’t as good of a show, so I stepped into a modern furniture store close by. I used to spend every free Saturday looking for modern furniture when I first moved to Phoenix back in 2001. I guess I was excited to have an apartment bigger than my shoe box in New York City, and I could finally have a pimped-out place. This store had well-made furniture at reasonable prices. I mean, it’s easy to make cheap contemporary furniture charge a lot so people will believe it’s quality stuff. I’ve seen it a thousand times. I don’t need any furniture now, but when the time comes, I’ll definitely go back to that store.;

Of course no Saturday is complete without me driving through a new neighborhood. I’m obsessive. This afternoon was fun because I revisited a neighborhood in Tempe I first discovered a few years ago. Most of the valley is flat, but these neighborhood is hilly and centered around lakes. It’s all man-made geography, but that doesn’t bother me. Because you drive around this place and you feel like you are at the beach. Three-story houses are built on the “cliffs” that surround the water. It was a lot of fun.

I finished my leisurely Saturday by taking Candyce to Ennie’s cookout. Ennie’s parents are in town from Texas, and we had a Texas-style cookout. There was a good group of people there, and we had a great time eating, laughing, and visiting. We played a DVD game about movies that turned out to be a lot of fun.

Today was just a good day. The older I get, I become more comfortable with just ENJOYING my days, rather than trying to accomplish things. I tell myself all the time now: it’s okay to have fun.

This Journal Helps Me

It’s late Friday night, early Saturday morning. I’m adding journals from the year 1999 and 2000 to the new version of Supafly.com. This is the time period where I tried out for The Real World, got on the show, and consequently began my 15 minutes of fame.

It’s fun to read my old journals and relive the excitement that comes with new adventures. I know that real life isn’t like that, where opportunities are handed to you all the time. It’s up to me to create more opportunities for myself. Not to go on another show so I can pretend to be a celebrity. I’m talking about opportunities where I can live a satisfying life where I know all of my talents are being used.

What frustrates me right now is that I have to fight so hard for opportunities at work. Everything is an uphill battle. Everyday I have to succeed in spite of the circumstances. It’s one fight after the next. I know that if I stick it through a couple more rough years, more opportunities will come my way. I know that eventually we will start producing shows at the studio that we will broadcast through lifeteen.com. But should it take two years of waiting and praying to get there?

I just get such an awful feeling inside of me. I have it right now. It’s the feeling that I’ve had my whole life when I feel locked by my circumstances, the circumstances that others have created around me.