I have a new idea…

July 19, 2010

So I’m back… after ANOTHER hiatus from Blogging… I read through my Xanga last night.  Yes Xanga still does exist, and it still does hold 3 years worth of my history.  (If you want to read it, knock yourself out)  I was amazed how consistently I kept a blog for 3 years.  Sure, I missed a day here or there, but I was pretty steady at keeping it updated.  To be honest, I really enjoyed reading through it again.  I realize with my latest blog endeavour (this page) I have been awful at keeping it updated.  I think the reason is that I only seem to want to blog when I have some deep revelation, or long story to tell, as opposed to just talking about whatever is on my mind.

So starting today I am going to try to resurrect this blog again and make it a place for me to just talk about whatever is on my mind.  It may be about Pittsburgh, Sports, Computers, Music, my wife, Amusement Parks, etc… But I’ll try to keep it interesting.  I realize no one may believe me until I become consistent, but I encourage  you to start stopping around frequently for updates.

Have a delightful day.

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life carries on.

April 11, 2010

My wife encouraged me tonight to blog…  It’s been quite the hectic/difficult/busy week, so blogging wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind, but I thought it may be therapeutic to “blog it out”.  So, with my wife’s nudging, here are my thoughts for the current moment.

the heavier side of life:
As I stated in my last post, my stepmother (Estela) was not doing well.  I went to visit her and my family a week ago Friday.  It was a last minute trip, but I am thankful I was able to go there and see her, as she passed away on Sunday (Easter) morning.  I left Pittsburgh again on Tuesday morning to head back to Indiana/Michigan.  It has been a good several days, but very hectic and emotional at the same time.  I was able to see so many family members, and was able to spend several days with my father (something I haven’t done in a long time).  When I was young, my brother and I would go out to dinner frequently with my dad, as well as spend weekends at his home.  Although it was under sad circumstances, it was nice to be able to spend time with him like that again this week.  I hope we can do that more in the future.  The services for Estela were very nice, and seemed to be a fitting tribute to her life.  You may have noticed that I said “seemed” in the last sentence.  The reality is I was never incredibly close to Estela.  When parents divorce and remarry, it sometimes does not yield the strongest of relationships.  This reality for me saddened me this week.  Estela always seemed to be a cheerful woman… Passionate, Loving, and a very devoted mother to her 2 daughters.  In the past few years, she was lucky enough to gain 3 grandchildren, and it’s always been clear that was a great joy in her life as well.  All the memories I heard shared about Estela the past few days made it very clear that she was a special woman, loved by many… Especially my father.  I can honestly say that I wish I had made an effort to be closer in the time we had together…  Despite my regrets and wishes, life does carry on.  I cannot turn the hands of time back now, and I must try to make the most of the days that remain in front of me.  There are lessons to be learned from all this, but with the emotions still fresh, I am still processing this.  I am back in Pittsburgh now, and I have one last day before I head back to work.  Hopefully it will be a restful day where I can clear my mind a bit more before diving back into the daily grind again…

other random things:
Despite the sadness/busyness of the funeral, there have been some other things going on…

In order to be with my family through the recent events, I have been doing lots of driving.  I have put well over 1,800 miles on my car in the past week.  Luckily, the only battle scar my car took was a small rock to the windshield on the way back to Pittsburgh yesterday.  I was happy to find out that as long as it can be repaired that my insurance will cover the cost.

Kelly and I began “Spring Cleaning” around the apartment today.  For those of you that don’t know, I have always had a tendency to be a somewhat messy person, but I hate when things get too messy.  With the craziness of the past few weeks, our house had gotten out of hand.  Luckily, we were able to get things back under control today.  There is more to do (isn’t there always?) but the house is looking much, much, MUCH better than it was.

Construction in Pittsburgh is a very frustrating thing… This morning, Kelly and I tried to go to the 10 AM service at the new church we are attending.  We left 40 minutes early, and the drive should have only taken 25 minutes.  Well thanks to Parkway closures/construction, it took us nearly an hour.  However there was a blessing in disguise.  We discovered a diner called Kelly O’s near the church that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network.  We had a delicious breakfast there (a bit unhealthy), and then made it to church for the 11:15 service.

Lastly… the Pittsburgh Pirates…  I have committed to following and supporting this team this summer.  This city has plenty of Steelers and Penguins fans, and while I enjoy these teams, I have decided to be a devoted Pirates fan this baseball season.  This has already been quite the stressful endeavor.  While the first 2 wins were quite exciting, the next 2 losses were awful.  I was encouraged by the win last night, but then today the team gave up 13 runs in ONE inning…  That’s right… The Bucs gave up more runs in one inning than most teams give up in 2 games…  This could be a long summer. ::deep breath:: GOOO PIRATES!

I know this post has been all over the place and back, but that’s pretty much how life has been the past few weeks.  Hopefully things will begin to return to normal, and as a result my posts will be a bit easier to swallow.  Hope you all have a pleasant week.


Live Like You’re Dying..

March 28, 2010

It’s been quite the roller coaster of a week… to say the least.

Kelly came home from visiting her parents on Tuesday.  I don’t know how many of you know this, but I am NOT a morning person.  Kelly’s train came in at 5 AM on Tuesday, and typically if I am awake at anytime before 8 AM I tend to be 3 parts zombie, to one part tapioca pudding.  Needless to say I was very tired at work on Tuesday…

Also this week, I have decided to jump back on the “health” wagon.  I didn’t post it on this blog (because I didn’t post anything here then) but last November or so, I began a weight loss attempt.  It was one of many I have had in my adult life, typically with minimal results.  I have been around the same weight since the start of college.  I fluctuate 10 pounds or so in either direction, but not much more (hence why clothes from my senior year of high school still fit me!).  When I do these “attempts” at weight loss, I will typically lose anywhere up to 20 lbs, plateau, get bored, and quit.  Then within a few months I am back at my weight where I have been for so long…. Anyway, back to November.  I am a sucker for infomercials (I own a Snuggie and a pack of ShamWows) and I had heard good things about P90X.  I had a friend who had seen a lot of success with it, and decided to give it a try myself.  I loaded up on the DVDs, Recovery Drink, Resistance Bands, a pull-up bar, the whole shebang.  For 30 days or so, things went great… I lost 10 lbs or so, was eating well, and then the holidays came… In addition to the holidays, Kelly and I had several life issues happen with jobs, cars, health, etc that even further disrupted my routine.  I tried to stay on track, but the workouts were getting more and more difficult, and I finally fell off the train.

Since then I’ve gained back about half the weight I lost, but feel worse about my body than I ever have before.  So I’m back.  This time I’m trying Power 90.  Think of it as P90X: Lite.  It still is a great workout, and I am 3 days in so far, and feeling good.  I have also gone back to eating healthy.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you eat well and work out.  You feel so much more alive.  In addition to the Power 90, I’m also going to try out Shakeology from Beachbody.  I looked over all the ingredients and it looks like quite the healthy shake!  Hopefully that will aid in this whole “return to fitness” that I am attempting.

Despite the positive turn I have taken this week for my health, I have also had quite the upsetting health news.  I received a call from my dad yesterday letting me know that my stepmother, Estela, had taken a turn for the worse.  She has been fighting cancer for well over a year, and there have been victories and struggles.  Unfortunately, in the past few days she has taken a turn, and is not doing well.  Thankfully, she is resting comfortably at home, and Hospice has been available to help with any needs they have.  I am still praying, and keeping hopeful, but things do not look great.  If you pray, I would really appreciate your prayers for this situation.

With this recent news, I am reminded of how fragile life is.  I have always tried to live by the phrase  “No Day But Today” from the musical Rent.  Whether we have health or sickness, we never know what tomorrow holds.  We must live each day with the reality that it may be our last.  Love one another.  Live passionately.  Never take life for granted.  We can say that we will get to something “tomorrow”, but tomorrow may never come.  Excuses only delay us.  I want to live this life to the fullest, and I have to live that way everyday, every hour, every second, every breath until my last.

There’s only now, There’s only here
Give in to love, or live in fear
No other path, No other way
No Day But Today.


A little more about me.

March 22, 2010

So after my rather bleak post last night, I figured I would take some time to share some more about who I am.  A lot of people tend to know little things about me, but not why I enjoy those things.  So here’s your chance to know a little bit more about Josh.

Weather:
One of the first things people know about me is that I am a huge weather nerd.  I can frequently be found checking computer models, staring at a radar for hours as a storm approaches, and even posting my thoughts at the AccuWeather Forums. Many people have asked me “why didn’t you study meteorology in college”.  The reality is I wanted to, but when it came time to decide on what college to go to, the fact that my mom wanted me to stay in Indiana, and the fact that I wanted to attend a Christian college limited my options.  In retrospect, I wish I would have had the option to study meteorology, but I still very much enjoy having it as a major hobby in my life.  One funny thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is I used to be terrified of thunderstorms.  All the way into middle school I would hide under the bed when storms would come, and would start crying if I even knew a thunderstorm was coming.  Now I tend to run out into the middle of the street when a storm is bearing down on the area…  I even have my own weather blog now 🙂

God:
My Christian life has been full of ups and downs to say the least.  I was raised as a charismatic Pentecostal at a very large church in Fort Wayne, IN.  Early in high school I became fairly complacent in my faith (as many do) and didn’t have any real passion about it.  The summer before my Junior year of High School, my youth pastor called and invited me to Church Camp.  I reluctantly agreed and it ended up being a spark that turned me into quite the radical Christian.  I returned to High School determined to “save the world”.  I was actively involved in playing music at church, attending Bible Studies at school, and witnessing whenever I had the chance.  I kept that fire up until the time I graduated from High School.  The church I had grown up in went through a very difficult split.  Because of the size of the church, it was a front page story on all of the local newspapers, and it shook me to the core.  As I started college at a Christian school, I actually began to fall back into complacency.  During college I tried numerous different types of Christianity, from a radical group that many called a cult, to even beginning to consider Catholicism.  After college, the ups and downs got to me, and I fell away from Christianity.  I never denied my faith, but my actions certainly appeared that way.  Ever since then, I have been trying to find where I fit in to the grand scheme of Christianity, and I still continue that search today…

Roller Coasters:
This is another interest of mine that most people know about right away.  It is another interest that used to terrify me.  Growing up, and  all the way until middle school, I was terrified at the idea of getting on any roller coaster bigger than a kiddie coaster.  That all changed when my brother bet me ten dollars that I wouldn’t ride the Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point.  I reluctantly worked my way up to it and ended up completely loving it.  What my brother didn’t realize is that moment single handedly started my coaster fanaticism.  Since then I have now rode over 100 roller coasters, and have even rode the Magnum more than 350 times…  I even worked at Cedar Point for 2 summers during college.  Although I am a huge fan, I’ve never really gotten into the various coaster clubs that are available.  I tend to just enjoy riding them, but not becoming a part of an organized club.

Politics:
As I stated last night, I certainly don’t know as much about politics as I have led on.  But here is what I can say.  I was raised under the assumption that being a Christian meant being a Republican.  In college, I began to feel like some of the things that Jesus taught were actually more closely aligned with the views of the Democratic Party.  There will still major issues I had with the Liberal side of things (Abortion), but I felt like I was more closely aligned with the views of Democrats than those of Republicans.  In the past few weeks, I have realized that I don’t know a whole lot about what goes on in Washington, and sadly I feel the majority of the general public is just as uninformed as I am.  We tend to take what we hear in the media or on talk radio and accept it as gospel.  I really hope to change this soon.  With the recent passage of Health Care reform, I really do hope to read the bill to understand what it entails.

Well, I will stop with those tonight.  There are certainly more topics I can cover, but I will save those for another day.  If you have any questions you want to ask me, feel free to use my new formspring.  It seems like a fun way to learn about each other.  You can find it here:

www.formspring.me/StormFreak

You can always ask more in the comments as well.  Hope everyone had a lovely Monday.  The better part of mine was spent with a migraine.  Luckily that is gone now, and Kelly will be coming back early tomorrow morning, so that’s two things that are reasons to be happy today.  Talk to yinz later.


What I really mean to say is…

March 22, 2010

“last night I was
east with them
and west within
trying to be for you
what you want to see”

– Ben Folds – Best Imitation of Myself

Time for the rubber to hit the road, the pen to hit the paper… It’s time for me to finally spill some of these thoughts that I have been unable to put words to.  I have tried to share parts of this before, but I feel like it’s never come out in full.  My wife doesn’t even know some of these feelings.  Not because I’m hiding from her, but rather because I have not known how to explain… I’m going to do my best now.  I’m making this so public, because I feel like anyone who knows me/wants to know me/has known me should hear this.

I feel like a complete, total, utter fraud.

In this journey of life we so often search for the things that define us.  Whether that is a passion, a belief, a cause, or countless other  frivolous things.  We tend to take a collection of all these things, paste them on a canvas, and present them to the world as who we “are.”  For a time in my life, many years ago, if someone looked at those things on my canvas, they would see a passionate, sometimes radical, Christian, someone who always wanted deep conversation with others, someone who fought for the causes of those who were in need, and a spatter of other fun interests.  As college ended, I pasted up new images to try to add some color to my life palette.  Whether that was frequently going out to the bar, trying to seem like a more “progressive” Christian, loosening my morals a bit among some other nasty habits.  My collage became very crowded… Sometimes with things that even seemed to contradict each other.  Recently, I feel as though many of the things in this personality collage have dried up and fell off the canvas, leaving just some base level interests of roller coasters, music, weather, and technology behind, along with small traces of all the things that have been there before.  In between those remaining clippings, are blank, yellowed, spaces.  People close to me, mainly my wife, have tried to understand what lies in those spaces.  Where is the passion I once had?  Where is the spontaneity that once made me such a “fun” person?  Why is nothing sticking anymore?  As I have thought about this, I think the problem is the canvas itself… Me.

As I look at this tattered, confused work of art, I feel that I have always used the things I present to the world to cover up the things that I want to hide from the rest of the world.  As I drift from situation to situation, I adapt to the people I’m around and paste up some things that make me fit in with them.  Some of the things I show to others are things that really interest me, and others I really don’t care about at all.  The more I can put up, the less chance there is of them seeing me for who I really am.  So who is that person? 

I frequently feel: Insecure. Inadequate. Discontent. Scared. Stressed. Depressed. Desperate. Lost.

I know that sounds rather bleak, and it is, but don’t get me wrong, those aren’t the only things I feel. I still do find joys in life.  I don’t walk around all day feeling like a miserable zombie. It just seems at the end of the day, as I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling in the darkened room, I fight to keep those negative feelings at bay.  It’s those feelings I hide from so many, and it was those feelings tonight that brought me to the computer.  I am so afraid of rejection.  I desperately seek affirmation and admiration from others, sometimes in excess.  In my life, when I didn’t find those things, I have sought comfort in some very dark things.  Things in my past that disgust me to even think about…

So I’m sure if you have read this far, you probably are regretting reading this “buzz-kill” of a post.  On a positive note, the reality is I know that hope is out there.  I know that something has brought me this far.  I am just so damn tired of covering myself up with all of these things that aren’t connected to the core of me.  I want to have passions that really drive me.  I want to have confidence when someone asks me the terrifying question “Tell me about yourself.”  My wife has been wonderful.  She has seen the real me more than anyone, but not as much as she should.  She always tries to really find out the things that are bothering me.  She always tries to encourage me.  I am so thankful for that.  In these times when she is away (visiting family), I realize how much she really is a part of me.  I couldn’t imagine life without her, and I am so sorry for the times where I haven’t been able to “be myself” around her.

Here’s the reality.  I know very little about politics (even though I just tweeted about Health Care tonight).  I have danced around a stage, doing my best “Will Farrell” impression with the cowbell, when inside, I struggled with feeling self-conscious about my weight, and whether people laughed because I was funny, or because I looked like a complete fool.  I can think of many times I was performing in theatre productions where all I could think about was if people could see that I was sweating through my costume (I sweat a lot)… On the more serious side, my faith in Christ is so stale that I feel like a cliché every time I even speak the name of Jesus.  I donated money to an AIDS fund for several years, and never even knew that much about the disease.  I supported a child through Compassion International for those same years, and never even once bothered to write him (I’m so sorry Saitoti)

I just want to be real… I don’t even know if I know how to do that.  I suppose tonight was a good start.  I feel like I’ve done deep posts like this before, only to go back to the way things were.  I don’t want that to be the case.  I want change.  I am tired of hiding.

One thing I know for sure, is those of you who are my friends, I love you and care for you all very much.  I’m sorry for the times I have been fake around you (even if you didn’t know it at the time).  Even when my canvas looked like something a 2 year old tore up and put together, many of you still saw it as a beautiful work of art, even though it clearly was a mess.  You all mean so much to me, and you deserve the “real me”.  So that’s who is writing this tonight.  I have a lot of trash to clean up.  I need a clean canvas.  My faith tells me that God is always willing to give me that chance.  I ask the same of you.  I start tonight with a clean canvas.  I just pray that as I start over, that the work of art that is created is not one covered with items that hide, but rather things that truly exemplify who I am, for better or worse… I want my canvas to display things that are really impacting me, instead of those things that mask me.

Right now this canvas has some dark colors on it, and some clear signs of hurting.  In addition, some of the things on it aren’t very deep or intelligent (yes I am still a complete roller coaster nerd).  But it is me.  In addition, I believe in God… unapologetically… I can’t explain everything about my faith, and I certainly have my doubts, but it is a part of me that I don’t want to stuff away anymore. My faith may seem silly and frivolous to some, but it is an integral part of my life, and I want to start living my life in a way that shows that (talking to God again would be a good start).  I also need  to understand this whole health care thing more (almost 2000 pages of fun)… but yeah… Hi, I’m Josh Miser… nice to meet you (again).


Consistency is the Key

March 12, 2010

So, I’m gonna try this blogging thing again.  I realize that there is no reason for anyone to follow a blog that only gets updated every few months.  So, perhaps consistency is the key to keeping this blog rolling.  I also normally find myself coming back to these blogs with a big life update, or deep philosophical/theological rant.  So, for this return to glory, let’s avoid that trend, mmkay?  Instead I’m just going to give you a few blurbs on things that are in my life right now that are what I would consider to be interesting.

New Blog:
No… I’m not talking about this one.  I’m starting another blog to discuss the weather in the Pittsburgh/Western PA area.  If you don’t live around here, this is no use to you, but it’s a good way for me to release my inner “weather nerd.”  You can find it at misercast.wordpress.com

Drrrroooiiiidd:
So, I have a new technology obsession.  By the title of this “snippet”, you have probably guessed that I have ditched the Blackberry and switched to a Motorola Droid.  I absolutely love this phone.  At first, I was a bit skeptical, but as soon as I began loading some of the custom ROMs (operating systems) and really digging into this phone, it’s been magic (root access FTW).

Music:
Despite my wife’s recent accusations that my music taste has been compromised, I still find myself to be a pretty hip music fan.  That being said, I do enjoy the occasional Ke$ha or Lady Gaga tune, but since when are guilty pleasures so bad?  Other than that, here’s a few albums I’ve been enjoying lately.

Plastic Beach – Gorillaz – New music from Gorillaz… I’ve always been a fan
Contra – Vampire Weekend – I’m digging this album… For some reason I find the lead singer to sound alot like Paul Simon
The Pursuit – Jamie Cullum – Pianoy, Jazzy, Moderny goodness.
The Resistance – Muse – I’ve had this one in rotation for awhile now, but it is just a great album.

Television:
When I upgraded our cable to a DVR a few months ago, I worried that we wouldn’t utilize it and that it was a waste of money.  Boy, was I wrong.  We keep our DVR chock full of goodness.  Here are some of the shows you will find on our DVR.

24 – I followed this show during the first 2 seasons, and then forgot it, but we have been following this season religiously.  Jack Bauer is a hero
The Office – Yes, I know, this show is not as good as it used to be, but it still has some classic moments (MEGADESK!)
30 Rock – Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey could be my favorite comedic duo ever.
The Biggest Loser – This is one of those shows I’ve never watched till this season.  I really enjoy it though.  Maybe I’ll get back on the diet soon.
CSI Miami – There is a theme of being “late to the party” here… I never watched this show until this year.  It entertains me.
Mythbusters – Likely my favorite show on television.
Storm Chasers – I realize that the season is over right now, but Reed Timmer brings out the inner weather nerd in me.

Well, I’ll end here for tonight.  For all I know, no one will ever read this.  I shall return with more later.


Hello? ::endless echo::

September 9, 2009

So, apparently I am the king of the abandoned blog…  As you may have guessed the WordPress Blackberry app did not magically turn me into a blog-oisseur, but alas I have returned again.

If you only know me through this blog, you probably think I am dead.  However, if you know me outside of this blog, you know that my wife and I have recently moved to the magical land of Pittsburgh.  In all honesty I love it, but I figured I would take some time to recount the good, the bad, and the ugly that I have found in Pittsburgh so far…

The Good:
I love the diversity of the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.  There is so much to see and do around the city, and I don’t see myself running out of options for things to do around the city anytime soon.  Some of the highlights so far in the food category have been the tourist-staple Primanti Brothers, Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed D’s Six Packs and Dogs in Regent Square.  If I decide to not think about food for a moment, I also really enjoyed checking out Frick Park, as well as going to a few Pirates games (despite all of them being losses).  The city is also quite scenic.  I enjoy being able to go from rolling hills, through a tunnel, and then be in the middle of the city.  It’s a dynamic I haven’t seen anywhere else.

The Bad:
Moving from a metro area of around 300,000 to one of 3 million has been quite an adjustment.  A 9 mile commute to work typically takes 30 minutes or so, and even driving a mile up the road can at times be frustrating.  Along the same topic of driving… I have a great fear of the winter time here in Pittsburgh.  Some of the hills I have seen while driving around are a bit intimidating to drive on even in the summertime… I can’t imagine how things may go come Winter.  Are snow chains legal in the city limits? 😉

The Ugly:
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that has had to do with getting our cars registered, licensed, and inspected to exist in this fine Commonwealth we call Pennsylvania has been a nightmare.  From the long lines at the license center, to having to go to AAA three times to finally have everything I needed to get my plates and registration, to finding out that between my wife and I, it will cost 1500 dollars to have our cars pass inspection… ::breathe::  I am half tempted to take both of our cars to the top of one of the previously mentioned steep hills, put them in neutral, and let them roll to the demise of their choice… Given the way this city is laid out, I’m sure they would hit a river at some point.

Despite these frustrations, I do not regret the move to Pittsburgh one bit.  Our new home is wonderful, we have a new member of the family (a rescued cat named Lilly), and we are both settling in well to our new jobs.  I am, however, still working on perfecting Pittsburghese so I can more well communicate with the natives.  So… If yinz ever want to visit and go dahntahn, we can get some jumbo, pierogies n’at.  Just make sure you let me know early so I can redd up our house first.

Music Choices for the Moment:
MuteMath – Armistice
Imogen Heap – Elipse
Derek Webb – Stockholm Syndrome