Nothing Special, Really

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

After finishing the half-marathon, I was certainly sore but surprisingly not very tired. One would figure that the events of the past 48+ hours (lack of sleep, running 13.1 miles in the Phoenix Sun, etc.) would drain me but I still had a lot of energy left. Not enough to run even another three feet, but enough that I was pretty sure I was going to last long enough to catch the Cardinals & Steelers games that night.

I don't see a need to go into details about the rest of the day, I'm pretty sure anyone reading this knows what happened. Suffice to say that Sunday the 18th was a day that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. If someone would have told me, even a month ago, that on the same day I would finally achieve my on-again, off-again goal over the past 5 years of running a half-marathon, not only would the Arizona Cardinals make it to the Super Bowl, but they would also be playing the Steelers, I would have labeled you crazy or thought you were Daniel Faraday from Lost.

I mentioned a couple posts ago about how a Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl was a potential conflict for me. One is a team that I have cheered on for as long as I've known what a football was, the other is a team that I follow more closely than any other NFL team. One team has been our family's team for arguably three generations, the other is my hometown's team. I've managed to maintain my loyalties for each team because there's never been a conflict before. They're in different conferences, only one could be considered a winning team over the past 20 years, and even in the rare seasons where they played a regular season game against each other, the two teams were headed in opposite directions so the outcome really didn't have much impact on either team. Now, I'm forced to make a choice.

I'm not going to wuss out and take the easy road, "Oh, I win either way because it's my two favorite teams." That's chicken shit. I won't be able to just sit there and cheer for every play the whole game because, either way, it's good for me. Some will argue that you can't be loyal to two different teams, but I think it depends on the teams. You can't be loyal to, say, the Suns and the Spurs, or the Yankees and the Mets. They can't be despised rivals of each other. But in my case, I think it's fine to maintain loyalties, but when it counts, you have to pick a side. And, honestly, it didn't take long for me to understand who I would be rooting for. In fact, it was pretty much a no-brainer.

I know of a couple readers will probably call "Blasphemy!" on this, but I doubt there's many of you that can understand my position on this. The other Steeler fans in my family are probably also sentimental to the Cardinals, but they didn't have the experience that I had. They've had years to develop their loyalty to Pittsburgh before even having to think about a football team in AZ; they were Steelers fans before they even moved to Phoenix. I grew up to be a Steelers fan at a wee young age, but I was maybe only a fan for 2-3 years tops before Phoenix got a team. All of us may be both Steelers & Cardinals fans, but for me, especially considering Phoenix is my hometown, the disparity between my loyalties is a lot slimmer than anyone else's.

Furthermore, I've been lucky enough to see the Steelers win a Super Bowl in my lifetime. Those fans only loyal to the Steelers certainly want to see them win every year no matter what, but for me, I rather see the Cardinals win the Super Bowl for the first time ever than to see the Steelers win for the second time in three years. The way each organization is run, I think it's a stronger possibility to see the Steelers make multiple trips to the SB, but this may be Arizona's only chance. I'd much rather root for a once in a lifetime event than a twice in a decade event.

Finally, as an Arizona native, I understand what a Cardinals victory represents. Validation of those 20+ years of being the laughingstock of the league. A championship that feels earned, not rented like the Diamondbacks' World Series win. As sweet as that was, the D-Backs were only around for 5 years, hardly long enough to feel a strong connection with the team. On the other hand, the Cardinals are essentially synonymous with losing, but for 20 years, there have been thousands of fans agonizing over each season, wondering when it was going to end. For Steelers fans, the playoffs are an expectation every year, but for Cardinals fans, getting to the playoffs surpasses our expectations. Cardinals fans need something to make the past 20 years of misery worth it.

So, on Sunday, even though I don't have a single piece of Cardinals attire, I'll be wherever I'm going to watch the Super Bowl rooting as hard as I can for them to shock the world one more time. I'm sure that some day down the road, if the Steelers should win, I'll be able to find solace in that, but on Sunday, a Steelers win is going to sting a lot more then a Steelers loss would. I've had my moment as a Steelers fan, and I'm sure I'll have another chance in the future. And no matter what, I'll continue to be a Steelers fan first, even if it's by the slightest of margins. But this Sunday, I've only got room in my heart for one team (wow, that sounds kinda gay but I'll leave it anyways).

Go Cardinals!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Champion Of The Sun

5:45am, Sunday morning. I was awake. In less than 3 hours, I was supposed to run my first half-marathon.

At least I was able to get a good night's sleep.

It took me about a half-hour to fall asleep the night before, but for the first time in 36 hours, I was finally asleep. I woke up a couple times during the night but not enough to keep me awake. When my alarm finally went off, I woke up right away, feeling completely refreshed and ready to run.

We got to the race about 20 minutes before the start, but because the race started in waves, we weren't going to actually start until almost an hour from then. Once we finally got in our position, I wasn't really nervous about anything. I had no idea what to expect, but at least I had a good attitude about it. Any worries I had about being the last person to finish were quickly subsided when I saw A) the waves of people behind me and B) the guy in front of me inexplicably starting the race with his plastic bag of swag from the expo the day before. If I couldn't finish before THAT guy, then maybe I had something to worry about.

We finally took off just a little bit before 9am, but it wasn't long before I'd need to take my first stop of the race.

I had to pee.

I won't spare you the suspense; I finished the race. However, I'm officially shaving about 10 minutes off of my final time because I had to wait so long for the restroom. The girl standing in our line wasn't moving, letting people from other lines cut in front of her when the stalls in our vicinity opened up. Turns out she was waiting for another stall that wasn't out of toilet paper. By the time we figured this out, we finally found another stall to go into, but that was 10 minutes wasted that I shouldn't be held accountable for.

With nature's call out of the way, we got back on course and headed down McDowell for the longest straightaway of the race. My goal was to make it 4 miles without having to take a rest. I probably could have done more if I needed to, but with the uncertainty of such a long race ahead, I really needed to pace myself. I was feeling good though, really enjoying myself. When we got to the water tables at the 5k marker, my exuberance got the best of me as I tried to jump-kick my water cup into the trash can. Not a good idea; I started feeling a slight strain in my left knee immediately afterward. I toughed it out until the 4 mile marker, where we took a break to walk the next mile.

I stopped just before the 5 mile marker for some stretching and a photo-op (pictures later) before picking up the pace again. Miles 5-7 were probably the best miles; I hit what might have been my runner's high and actually picked up my pace. I was feeling great, pumping my fists at drivers by, and sprinting past any slow pokes in my way.

Between miles 7 and 8, we found my parents, my sister and my niece on the street cheering us on. It was great to see them; I felt like I was starting to hit a wall, but their support at least gave me an extra mile of running. I tried to act like a bad-ass and flicked my wristband at them as a souvenir but nearly hit the woman standing next to them instead.

We planned to stop at mile 9 for our next walking break, but when we hit the water table halfway between, we stopped early. I was starting to feel that familiar pain in my toe, but worse, I was starting to hit a wall mentally. I felt like I could get past any physical pain as long as I stayed strong mentally. But, since we were walking for the water break anyways, it felt like it made sense to just start walking then.

We ended up walking about a mile and a half to the 10 mile marker, at which point EVERYTHING started hurting. Toe, arches, back, hips, thighs, knees, everything. Not all at once though; it was like each part was taking turns being painful. To make matters worse, my body must have thought that it was time to rest. I don't blame it either; I'd never gone this distance before, and I'd probably be ready to rest too at that point. When it came time to start up running again, my body was having none of it. The pain kept going, so I was just going to have to suck it up and deal with it for another 3 miles.

I can't really say what it was that got me the final 3 miles. I did stop to walk briefly just after the 12 mile marker, when we went from the shade of an underpass back into the 77 degree heat of the sun. I could have walked the rest and no one would have been ashamed, but I talked myself into one last mile. I was sore, thirsty and mentally tired, but the one thing that kept me going was that I was somehow still having fun, as sick as that sounds.

For the finish line, Wac and I had a cutesy couples picture planned, where I would cross the finish line triumphantly holding my fist in the air, holding her back with my other arm as I beat her across. It all sounded hilarious when we planned it, but at that point in the race, I didn't care about hilarious. I cared about resting. We tried to get a picture of us holding hands into the finish line, but we dropped our hands just before the camera snapped. And all of a sudden, I was finished.

The end was rather anti-climactic. I didn't expect trumpets blaring or an arena of fans cheering me on, but after running for over 3 hours and then just stopping, it didn't seem as glorious as I anticipated. We walked over for the obligatory post race picture with out medals, grabbed some free food and electrolyte drinks, and caught up with my family.

I'm not necessarily proud of my 3:15 time (minus 10 for the stupid toilet paper chick) as I am of the fact that I made it across that finish line. For someone like me, who's been overweight for most of my life, without much motivation to improve my fitness level, just crossing that line represented a milestone. It took me almost 5 years after I initially set out to do this, but I can officially say that I am now a half-marathoner.

And as weird as that sounds, that wasn't even the craziest thing that happened that day.

To be concluded...

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Catch-22 Of Unemployment

I just got off the phone with the recruiter of another opportunity I missed out on. Ugh. Opportunity. Sorry, I can't help but write in HR speak when it comes to jobs. I have been keeping in contact with her over the past couple of months about a open job they had. Despite the fact that the job responsibilities were identical to many I had in my last job (mostly the ones I didn't care for), I was still very much interested in this job. One, I definitely was qualified for it. Two, the pay would be decent. Three, even though it wasn't where I wanted to be exactly, it was with a very strong company, and I held out the chance that I could enjoy the same position more with a different company.

She sent me an email on Monday, telling me the HR equivalent of "too bad, so sad." I sent her an email the same night telling her the HR equivalent of "are you fucking serious?" She replied the next morning offering to call me today to explain the decision. In all honesty, she's been the most enjoyable recruiter to talk to over the past 8 months, and there was a slight tone in her email that suggested this wasn't solely her decision and that she was on my side.

We talked briefly today, and she said the decision came down to the fact that they felt that, while I was certainly qualified for the position, it would be a bit of a step down for me, and there wouldn't be much movement out of the position for quite a while. They consider the position to be a step up for the other candidates they are pursuing, meaning it is less likely that they will look to move out of the position over the next two years.

I certainly understand their decision as there is a bit of truth to it. It's not exactly where I want to be, and I've become so career-oriented these days that I would certainly be looking to move ahead at every opportunity. But I can't help but laugh at the situation.

I've been told left and right that I'm very qualified for the positions I'm applying for, just not quite as qualified as the other guy. Now, I'm being told that I'm very qualified for this position, in fact, a bit too qualified.

Fuck it, I'm just gonna go deliver pizzas from now on.

(oh wait, my car isn't running)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Day That Never Ends

I'm still not sure what to make of this past weekend, so I'll have to write about it in parts. Suffice to say Sunday was a day I'll never forget.


This story starts Friday night. Ideally, we should been on a plane to Phoenix, but we had a party to attend. A joint celebration; one friend was turning 25, the other was moving to Vegas. We partied as much as we could, sans alcohol, but 10:30pm was as far as we could go. We had to be up in less than 8 hours for our scheduled flight to Sky Harbor.

After a quick stop at Dick's for an unnecessary burger, we finally settled into bed around 11:30pm. I mentioned in my last post that one of my main concerns was how much of a factor my sleep schedule during the week would be. I don't know if my concern was a precursor to what would happen or the actual cause of what did, but either way, I was awake again barely an hour after I laid to rest. And for that hour, I was more just really tired than I was actually asleep.

I laid in bed for almost three hours. Anytime I felt close to falling asleep, my body found some way to keep me awake. I finally threw in the towel and just went with what my body was telling me. I put in a movie (side note: I totally forgot how gratuitously vulgar Die Hard was) and waited for Wac to wake up.

We waited to catch the first bus, which was arriving at 6am, to take us downtown to catch the second bus for the airport. When I looked at the schedule, I thought we had about 5 minutes to transfer. Somehow, I was wrong. When we got to the second bus stop, we realized we were somehow 5 minutes too late. Waiting in 30 degree weather for 25 minutes in the darkness of downtown Seattle at 6:30am is just as unpleasant as it sounds. Maybe more. Probably more.

We got to the airport with about 50 minutes before our flight left. I've never flown at the break of dawn on a Saturday, but I didn't expect the TSA lines to be as long as they were. We were already stressed from the commute thus far, and it didn't help that I thought we were in a terminal that we would have to take a shuttle too. Missing our flight was a serious concern. Luckily, I was wrong about the terminal; we were actually only steps from the security checkpoint, giving us time to hit up Starbucks before we boarded the plane. Finally, I'd be able to relax and get some much needed sleep on the plane.

Yeah, right. I couldn't sleep on a plane from Amsterdam despite being up for almost 24 hours after trying unsuccessfully to sleep on a metal table in customs in a snowed in airport. How could I expect to get sleep now? Somehow, I zoned out for an hour before waking up again, but much like the hour of sleep I got at home, calling it sleep makes it seem like a lot more than it really was. Something along the lines of daydreaming is more like it.

Despite the lack of decent sleep, I landed in Arizona wide awake. This was probably the best thing for me. The most I could hope for at this point was to stay awake all day and get enough sleep for the run Sunday morning. Falling asleep anytime before then increased the chances that A) I wouldn't get enough sleep and B) that I'd be wide awake all night right before the run. Our hosts for the weekend, my good friends Mark & Becky, picked us up and we all headed to YC's for some Mongolian BBQ.

After lunch, we headed to the Expo to pick up our race numbers and weave our way through the hordes of people and various merch booths. When we finally got back to the house, I was exhausted. I could have fallen asleep then, but I knew I shouldn't. We had less than two hours before meeting my family for dinner. Wac wanted to kill the time by meeting up some friends from Seattle at a nearby Starbucks. I was grumpy and couldn't understand why we were trying so hard to catch up with friends who live not even a mile away from us, but it ended up being the best idea since I probably would have fallen asleep if we stayed.

We got to Starbucks, and that's when the delirium started setting in. I wasn't hallucinating like I've done before when deprived of sleep, but I had a hard time focusing on what was going on. I had a sense of melancholy and I felt like I was speaking a language of nonsense, but somehow I actually managed to hold a conversation.

Our visit with our Seattle friends was brief since we had to drive out for dinner with my family. This was basically our Christmas gathering since I couldn't make it during the actual holiday. I was still a bit out of sorts from the lack of sleep, but the combination of eating, throwing peanut shells on the floor, and having everyone around woke me up again. When we left the restaurant, I was seriously concerned about falling asleep again, even though I was essentially awake for 36 consecutive hours.

We finally made it back to Mark and Becky's place by 10pm. I laid in bed, trying to fall asleep. I almost made it a couple times, only to somehow wake up again. I knew I needed to sleep, but I was having a hard time getting my body to fully relax.

If I didn't fall asleep, there was no way I was going to be able to run 13.1 miles in the morning.

To be continued...

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Last Run

The next time I go for a run, it'll be the Phoenix Half Marathon on Sunday.


I got my final run in before the race tonight, a nearly 3 mile run around Greenlake. I'm still not as serious about running as someone who did three half marathons and one full marathon last year, but considering we were out running in 34 degree weather, I guess I've become more serious than I give myself credit for.

About a half mile in, I picked up the pace from what I'm normally used to, and I was able to sustain it for almost the rest of the loop, save for a minute or two where I slowed back down to work out some stomach cramps. I've run longer distances before, but considering my pace, I think this was my best run yet. And in three days, I'll try to quadruple that distance, and then some.

After the run, we stopped by a nearby running store that was doing free consultations with physical therapists. I've been experiencing some pain in my sore toe lately, nearly any time I get beyond three miles. That's the main reason I haven't done more than a 5 mile run during my training; I don't want to ruin my toe before the race. The therapist thought my shoes were a little less supportive than they could be, but I don't have the money for new shoes at this point. She also encouraged stretching and replacing my insoles, which I'll do tomorrow when I have my debit card with me.


I've tried to get on a consistent sleep schedule before the race, but it's been anything but. My bedtimes the past couple of days have been 6am, 2am, and then there's the night I went to bed at 10:30, woke up at 3am, and didn't go back to bed until 9:30am. I'm not used to getting up early, let alone running in the morning, so I'm a bit nervous about how that's going to impact me.

I'm also nervous about the race in general. I feel like I'll be able to put forth a good effort for 6-7 miles, but I'm going to be doing something I've never even come close to doing before. Having Wac with me is definitely going to help; I doubt I'd be able to keep my focus mentally without her there. The closest I've come to running for 2.5 to 3 hours is playing basketball, but that's a different energy and not the same thing as what I'm about to do. Nevertheless, I know that I'll need to use that as a motivation tool down the home stretch.

The thing I'm most nervous about is really hurting myself. The toe problem is one thing, but also just hurting my knee or my back or something else. I'm worried about it because if I end up doing too much damage, I lack health insurance to see anyone about it. I know that I'll want to give my full effort during the run but I also need to stay start and take it easy if I feel something wrong.


The first time I started training for a marathon, I went running with Carrie around the McClintock High track sometime in February 2004. I couldn't even do a single lap around the track without stopping to catch my breath, and had to resort to running only the straight-aways. When I finally gave up my training sometime that June, I maxed my distance out at just over 3 miles, and I did that only once. There were weeks where I was consistently running 3-4 days, yet in 4 months, I only increased my distance by 2 miles.

I definitely feel much better than I did at any point in my training 5 years ago. Getting out and starting with a 3 mile run is nothing for me at this point. I definitely have room to improve my pace, but running something like Greenlake, a loop that I couldn't run without pausing just a couple of months ago, is a casual run these days.

It took me 5 years to finally get to this point: to find the motivation (or motivator) to keep me from putting off this goal, to finally get myself in a physical condition to make a half-marathon a possibility, and the constant realization that I actually enjoy doing this (although I might be singing a different tune when I'm done). I'm not as ready as I should be, but I'm ready enough.

I think.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Conflict Resolution

Growing up in Arizona in the 80's was a strange time for me in terms of sports. Until 1988, there was only one major sports franchise in the state, the Suns. So when I started following different sports, I started following different teams for various reasons.

In the NBA, following the Suns seemed like a no-brainer choice, but I do remember a short period of time where I was a fan of the Blazers or the Celtics before the Suns. Calling myself a fan of either team falls short of what I really was (I could only name one player between the two teams, and I'm sure you can guess who. Hint: he was white). I like the Celtics because my sister gave me a pennant of theirs, and I liked the Blazers because I thought TrailBlazers was a cool name. Even though I was immediately hooked to the Suns once I saw them in person the first time, I remember that my loyalty wasn't 100% right away. I remember after one of my first games getting a Blazers hat at the merch booth. I remember my dad being disappointed, so I must have bought it myself with some report card money or something. Looking back on that now, I think two things: One, if my Dad would have slapped me right there, I would have totally understood and Two, what the hell were the Suns doing selling other team's merch at their game? Anyways, I came to my senses during the 1990 playoffs (especially considering the Blazers eliminated us in the WCF on our home floor) and became a diehard Suns fan since.


Baseball was a little bit different. Even after I picked a favorite team and player, it took me a while to understand certain parts of the game. Especially ERA. For some reason, it took me a couple years to figure out how that was calculated. I knew what good and bad ERAa where but I didn't know how they were figured out.

Anyways, I didn't start following baseball by watching the game, I followed it through trading cards. I first started collecting basketball cards, then football, and then finally baseball. And I started collecting them around the same time that Ken Griffey Jr's rookie card was the hottest card around. I was never lucky to have my own, but I started following him, and subsequently, the Mariners. I got to know other players on the team (Buhner, Edgar, Tino, Randy, Cora, a young A-Rod), and I have vivid memories of following the Mariners-Yankees scores on the ESPN tracker during SportsCenter; I couldn't see the game, but I would sit there and just watch the updates.

When Griffey got traded to the Reds, I felt that I had become too invested in the Mariners as a team to all of a sudden become a Reds fan. So I stuck with the team, beyond their "glory years" of the 90's, into the Ichiro era and still to this day. But during that time, Arizona got a team of their own. Not only did I finally have a hometown team to root for, but just by being in Arizona, it was naturally easier to follow them. I read about the D-Backs more often, I could see them in person more frequently, and they were on TV a lot more than the Mariners. So my loyalties were split. Luckily for me, there's rarely been a conflict since they're in separate leagues. I've never been in the position of having to pick a side in a Mariners\D-Backs World Series.


Phoenix got a football team early in my childhood. Unfortunately for us, it was the St. Louis Cardinals. Even during the Neil Lomax days, they still sucked. But they were the hometown team, so I still followed them. From Aeneas Williams to Garrison Hearst to Buddy Ryan. During the brief moment where Joe Montana thought about signing with us to the "glory years" AKA the Jake Plummer era, where we actually won a playoff game on the road against what qualified as our most hated rival, the Cowboys. When I was in high school, I was really into collecting autographs, and during a couple summers, I would camp outside the Cardinal's practice facility waiting for the players to arrive for practice. Players would recognize us and sometimes give us shit for wasting our time each day for autographs (it's ridiculous how I was compelled to collect as many autographs from Larry Centers as I did). I followed the team, still do to this day, but I've never fully considered them my number one team.

You see, I was raised a Steelers fan. It was one of the two sports allegiances I picked up from my dad (the other being the Philadelphia Flyers, but I've never been much of a hockey fan). My brother, despite being born in Jersey, became a Steelers fan presumably the same way I did. Football was the earliest sport I remember watching, and as a young, impressionable kid, it was inevitable that the Steelers became my team. Even when the Cardinals moved into town, we were still a Steelers household. But I've been able to be a fan for both teams because it's never really been a conflict. The Steelers are perennial contenders, the Cardinals almost always suck. I get the glory of being a Steelers fan and the agony of being a Cardinals fan, and there's never been a problem with that.

Not yet, at least.


One of my favorite writers, Chuck Palahniuk, wrote a book about a decade ago called Survior. It's been a long time since I've read it, long enough to forget the plot, but I remember one scene takes place at the Super Bowl, where the Colts beat the Cardinals for the title. I also remember reading in an interview where Palahniuk said that he chose those two teams for the Super Bowl because he asked a friend "What are the two least likely teams to ever be in the Super Bowl?"

Nearly 10 years later, the unlikely may just actually happen.

As a Steelers fan, we've reached that level where anything short of a Super Bowl appearance feels like a disappointment. There's no solace in just getting to the playoffs or even just winning a playoff game. Championship or bust.

But for Cardinals fans, this is uncharted territory. Winning the NFC West title, despite the fact it's the worst division, is a success. Hosting a playoff game is a landmark. Defeating the Panthers on the road? That game felt like our Super Bowl in a way. And, yet, there's still a chance that we get to the real one.

The Arizona Cardinals are one win away from the Super Bowl.

It just doesn't seem real, no matter how many times I read that.

And, without getting too far ahead of myself, I might find myself having to decide between allegiances for the first time. The crazy notion of a Steelers-Cardinals Super Bowl is no longer crazy, it's a strong possibility. Both teams have scary opponents in the Ravens and Eagles, but at the same time, both teams are scary right now too.

I'm not going to have the chance to catch the Cardinals game, although I'll be in Phoenix killing myself in my first half-marathon. Afterwards, even though I'll be dead-tired if not dead, I'll drag myself to the bar to catch the Steelers game. This might be the last weekend where I can watch both of my teams without having a conflict.

And after this weekend, I'm really hoping I'll have to face that conflict.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On The Matter Of Kids

A couple of days ago, Wac mentioned that one of her friends was pregnant again. My initial response was "Wow, that sucks."

Reason being, this friend had been trying for a long time to get pregnant, and when it finally happened, she was rewarded with the miracle of having twins. Although she was undoubtedly ecstatic to finally be a mother, it's been a tough situation for the family. They recently bought a condo in a neighborhood just north of Seattle, but the condo is already looking pretty small for the twins. Trying to sell the place and move into a bigger one is going to be really tough, if not impossible. In addition, although she and her husband both have jobs, she works as a teacher; not exactly a top paying job. They've been struggling a bit financially trying to juggle two newborns, and in less than nine months, they'll have a third. Of course, she's excited about having another baby, but I can't help but think about how difficult of a situation that family is in.

For the record, I like kids. I prefer kids once they're a year old or more (I've had two people close to me have kids in the past 12 months but I'm still too uncomfortable to "hold the baby".) Likewise, I certainly prefer the fact that these kids are someone else's. I'd said for years that there should be an organization that allows you to rent babies and kids; you get to enjoy all the goofy and cute stuff but return them when they get annoying or become a hassle.

For several years, I always thought I'd have kids. If I had settled into a long term relationship sooner, perhaps I'd already be a father now. But as each year passes, any desire to be a father gets weaker and weaker. When I think of having kids, I can't help but imagine the financial obligations, the time commitments, the frustration that goes along with it. I know there's certainly plenty of wonderful aspects of having kids, and I'm sure they don't compare to anything else in the world. I'm sure fatherhood is a wonderful thing, but inevitably, it means giving up another wonderful thing: the freedom to do whatever I want. Freedom to go out to dinner, to go to bars, to travel the world, to go running, to sleep in, etc. There's still too many things I want to do in this world, and it's already hard enough trying to accomplish those with so much debt, on such little income. I've been striving hard to work out those problems, I just don't have the desire to get those burdens back because I want a child.

Ultimately, I may not have a choice. Sometimes, those things seem to just appear out of nowhere despite all efforts to prevent it. If that ever does occur, I'll certainly embrace the little guy (or girl) without a single ounce of regret or disappointment. But, as long as I have the choice...I'd much rather prefer to live vicariously through other people's kids.

Besides, we have these two little fuckers to worry about as it is. They're pretty much like kids already: