Mobile Minutes: Humbling Bieber


Yes, you read it right. He ‘whose name we mustn’t speak’ was in the title.

While in LA I heard more Justin Bieber then I had heard in my life leading up to those minutes in the car. I heard his new song, enjoyed the bass line, rapping, and overall sound.

However, it was sweet to (mushy, romantic, parents are evil kind of sweet).

I decided to take that video and post it on my girlfriend’s Facebook page. She has over 1000 friends on there, and the 25 year old man posted a Bieber song on her wall.

Why? Definitely not because Bieber is Dr. Love, but more so, through technology, I could demonstrate humbleness that “cute” songs work for me if it fits her. Regardless of who sings it. A brave move when putting down street credit and all.

Of course, she was touched that I put it up there. Simple gestures, when hundreds of miles apart, can make a perfect day.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: LA Part IX


Not sure if 39.000 feet counts as LA technically.

It is all starting to hit. I haven’t been feeling well most of the day. Primarily due to my allergies just going nuts out west. Combine that with a incorrectly made blue martini, and currently after two cups of Seattle’s Best coffee (I can’t escape Subway) and a glass of water. I feel pretty lousy.

Unfortunately, though I knew ahead of time that it wouldn’t be easy, I have a quick turn around to work on my stores out east for two days. My fear is simply getting sick from exhaustion because it has happened before. In fact, reflecting on my life, I’d say more times then not, my sickness has been derived from lack of sleep. Such as last December when I don’t even remember getting home from southeast Kansas.

I’ll definitely be breaking out the leather jacket tomorrow. It is cold back home.

In all reality though, minus the not feeling well (I’m craving soup), my life is incredible. While spending the afternoon at LAX I was able to engage through Google Talk with one of the Lifetime Ticket Holders of the Kansas City Shock. He is a few years older then myself, but with the availability I engaged with him, speaking on our brand.

Best choice I made all day (help balance out that awful martini). Again I learned and incredible lesson about the dedication that so many people have for the Shock. They like the idea, but in this case, he was drawn to towards the integrity aspect of the program. What I always took as granted and common sense is something of serious value in the business world. Being honest and passionately excited about the company spurred this ticket holder to be fascinated with his investment. Taking the time to plug in with one devoted individual not only made his day (I hope), but also continued to show me, as a reminder, that God has me on the right path.

Realistically I’m toasted. But honesty, I couldn’t have ever dreamed of being so blessed. It’s incredible, at least to this writer, to see how everything I do now combines into not only fulfilling my utmost passion, but more importantly I can feel God’s pleasure.

Mobile Minutes: LA Part VIII


Quick step back into the joys and excitement of yesterday.
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Incredibly; it was much warmer here in Los Angeles then it was in Kansas City when I left. Many people were speaking of the incredible heatwave that had gripped this area. I thought that they had been full of it when i woke up and stepped out of my hotel. It was cloudy, cool, with a pleasant Pacific breeze.

How can a heatwave come from that?

Easy, the clouds can go away.

After spending my Sunday morning driving The “405”, to I-110, across to The Home Depot Center in Carson, California; I was quick to find the closest Starbucks. There may be a ton of Starbucks in California, but I’ll most definitely give them credit in saying that they know how to make a good mocha. I know that Starbucks has a standard protocol for making each drink that you can find nationwide. However, whatever this crew does differently, it was definitely noted. The mocha was smooth, creamy, I could taste the espresso, but I could also taste the mocha blended smoothly through the drink. It was excellent and a benefit as I strolled over to the HDC [Home Depot Center]. After paying another $15 for ‘standard parking’ I quickly found myself sitting next to Ness and Jen awaiting some of their friends for the big game that I had traveled out here for.

Soon three younger women, college age, were around Jen and Ness; they were all laughing and carrying on. The mood was light, and the atmosphere was stirring; then the sun came out.

It went from 70 to 115 degrees in about three minutes. No sunscreen, so of course I burned like none other. Eventually the gates opened up and we started to pour into the stadium
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As a soccer specific stadium; the HDC is incredible. Small, compact, and perfect for American soccer. Compared to Livestrong Sport Park? There isn’t even a contest. Jen, Ness, and myself found ourselves two and four rows from the field in the scorching direct sunlight for the entire match. However, when the national team players are that close to you; it’s hard to even care about the heat [aside from the growing sunburn].

Ness took off like a rocket when we stepped into the seating area. We couldn’t figure out why until we found her running down the stairs to the very edge of the seating. There, Aussie and all, she started to wave and yell at some of the Australian National Team players. Of course I would find myself hanging out with someone who played club soccer with these players. So, while waiting for the game to start, during warm ups; I got to just watch and listen to Ness and these players just carry on conversations as if they were neighbors. Go ahead, ask me if I’d ever been that close to national players from another country; yes, never. As quick as they came, they went back into their locker room for pregame.

We took our seats and waited for the crowds to arrive. By 12:30 AM PST there were close to 19,000 people crammed into this stadium; not a sold out event. Australia got off to a rocket start, and by half they were leading 1-0 over the United States. Truthfully, it was evident that when you’re playing a game that isn’t worth anything [not a qualifier] there isn’t much motivation except to please the public [aka US Soccer Federation]. Needless to say, as expected the USA came back in the second half with a quick goal and a PK to win the match 2:1. The little girls were thrilled, LA saw their childhood stars carry on, and the head coach left the USA on a good note.

Warm fuzzy’s all around.

Naturally, like many of the ‘critics’ out there I saw the game in its political sake of a ease of enthusiasm to the fans of the United States. It is what it is, for me it was definitely more about growing knowledgeable about the dynamics around me.
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During halftime I was able to meet several individuals that follow me on Twitter, and even two of most vocal people on the USA women’s deaf national team [who had just won a gold medal in the Deaf World Cup]. It was incredible to see so many people around me, so passionate, so moving on what their dream is; growing women’s soccer. So many, like the captain of the national team for the USA women’s deaf program had been neglected by so many over her 16 years of playing, and yet she never/hasn’t stopped. Jen and Ness, several times they were being told that their philosophy, their location, their dream wouldn’t succeed. This trip wasn’t just about the national game and Los Angeles, it was about finding the root, the believers, the growers, and the faithful.

While I did leave burnt to a crisp from that game, while sitting at Starbucks afterwards with Jen and Ness, prior to them hopping on their flight for home; it was a few hours of growth, determination, and fueling frustration. The system for women’s soccer in Australia is a complete mess. You/I think the US has it rough? We’re clueless. The USA Women’s National Deaf program? They have to find $120,000 prior to the Deaflympics next year in Bulgaria. These are programs that have been around, they have existed, and yet they continue to struggle. Who am I, the owner of a new program with fresh legs, to complain about the ‘unknown’ versus the rough and tumble?

While physically I’m rather spent, even though technically I haven’t done much [warning: allergies…dang…smoking me right now], mentally I’m charged and ready to go at. There’s so much to do in so little time, and even though I want nothing but success for the Kansas City Shock; mentally, it is so, so bigger. I want to run with Legacy FC, help Milwaukee United get off the ground, hang out with the Gulf Coast Texans, and watch the fans stream in for everyone of them, regardless of size.

The potential lies for something incredible, unique, and innovative, and this weekend; I got a taste of how far we’ve already come.

-D-

P.S. The left over Chicken Parm was out of this world good! Even without a fork.

 

Mobile Minutes: LA Part VII


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I’ll admit there are two things I’m not a fan of in Los Angeles.

One I suspected: Everything is overpriced! $10 for three pancakes? Seriously? My Iced Mocha was $4.50, about the price of a gallon of gas. Ouch.

One that surprised me: The coffee. I assumed that there would be home town shops everywhere, similar to Seattle. Nope. Not that I’m upset, but Starbucks dominates this city.

Regardless, I found the best I could this morning.

Cheers.

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-D-

Mobile Minutes: LA Part VI


Sleeping through osmosis…

Current state of mind…I’m hoping that if I keep the pillow on my head, that my body will recover energy without me actually having to sleep.

This is a failed experiment.

Heading back to Kansas City LATE tomorrow night. Out of hotel by 11:00 AM, car returned by 2:00 PM, boarding at 5:55 PM…arriving in Kansas City around 11:45 PM. It’s going to be a late night.

Today has been, again, non-stop. Will definitely take some of my free time tomorrow and get it all posted.

Yes, I do have a sunburn and I am as surprised as you are.

-D-

 

 

 

Mobile Minutes: LA Part V


I’m letting these out at a rapid pace, just because I’m trying to catch up for the past near 48 hours.

After destroying the Double Double, I took an hour nap until the vibrating phone on my chest alerted me of a missed message. I think the area code was 208?

Regardless, one of the exciting features of this trip was meeting up with people that I randomly met through Twitter; all of which revolved around the concept of women’s soccer. Primarily two ladies; Jen and Ness. These two wonderful ladies are the founders of a quickly growing youth club in Sparks [Reno], Nevada called “Legacy FC” with the tag line, “Building A Legacy” [I’m serious, our generation is coming up with all the good quotes]. Jen is home grown from the Nevada area and Ness is actually from Australia. They both played soccer at the University of Nevada and have since graduated and have grown into building this non-profit organization. Last year [their first] they had 30 players register, this year they had over 130! Obviously they’re doing something right. As much as I’m intrigued about the growth of their program, they too have invested interest in the Kansas City Shock.  Between myself being 25 and the two being 27 and 24, we also share the similar age group. With them coming to LA for the game, and myself; it was a set a few weeks ago that we would hang out.

I’m not familiar with “hanging out”, it isn’t my thing primarily because I’m not very good at relaxing. However, for sake of curiosity I agreed to meet and I hopped in my car [another huge thank you to Avis for getting me hooked up again with a stellar vehicle at a great price] and headed towards this area that I had heard about before in movies; Santa Monica Boulevard.

To get to Santa Monica I had to take The “405” to I-10 and across to 4th street, only to intersect with the boulevard and take it two blocks west to the Pacific Ocean and Ocean Avenue. Uh-hu. I’m still amazed that I didn’t get lost.
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In the process of finding a place to park [after my first successful attempt at NASCAR racing], I noted a few interesting things about parking in Santa Monica:

  • You’re paying, the real question is how much are you paying?
  • I’m sure to continue to encourage health the county of Los Angeles thought it would be wise to stick McDonald’s underground in the parking garages [I’m still as surprised as you are].
  • Promenades are cool…except for the people crossing from them to the next; I almost racked up 5 people in one inch of movement in the car at the cross walk.
  • The paying process for the parking garage is all automated. You are given the slip [duh], placed in the car, take the other slip with you when you leave the car, coming back you have to take the slip you have with the barcode and insert it into the machine. Next, you pay the outlandish fee for parking, and get the slip back. Get in your car, drive out, at the gate you put the paper back in the machine, it reads that you’ve paid and it lets you out.
  • Make sure you note what time you are to leave that garage. I parked at a location that allowed me to stay until 12:00 AM, some close at 10:00 PM and your car will be towed.
  • Coolest feature: Parking meters…yes…you can pay for them via your debit/credit card. In Kansas City, we’re still keen on the quarter.

After getting my parking business down I stepped out onto Ocean Ave, crossed the massive street, stepped into the park, stepped over the drunk homeless man [it was sad to see a park that was so nice and trim, and so many homeless people just sleeping there; sometimes our money and priorities get a little skewed.

Now from Ocean to the ocean is a massive cliff that I had to scale [walk down the stairs], crossed I-10 via a walkway, and stepped into the sandy realm of the Pacific Ocean beach and more notably; the Santa Monica Pier. When, after a few miles, I finally got to the pier I was welcomed by a man rocking a LA Lakers jersey [to no surprise] and with a black Bible in his hand, he was proclaiming his faith. Now, I stood around looking like a tourist [oh wait…] and listened. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that there are more screwed up people on their ‘faith’ in Topeka, Kansas [specific ‘church’ if you will] then this man on the pier of Santa Monica, California. I just chalked it up as unique.

Speaking of unique, while watching him, I noticed I was standing near a strange little shop…COVERED WITH ROUTE 66 STUFF!
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*As my own little, unique, strange hobby; I thoroughly enjoy collecting and reading about the legendary Route 66 that started in Chicago and as it turned out…ended in Santa Monica, California.

I was standing at the end of the Mother Road, the final piece of the puzzle, the heavenly destination of the road that started it all. It ended at the pier. I was completely spazzed at this point about my discovery, killing my battery, sending it to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace [that’s a lie], etc…

Finally, once my heart rate calmed; I kept walking along this pier and these two ladies came up and said, “You made it!”

It was Jen and Ness. They presented me with a Legacy FC scarf [note; I need to get their address to send them some shirts], and took me down towards the very end of the pier. Out there, while listening to a lady, live, belt out “My Heart Will Go On”, we watched the sunset over ocean and the 90+ degree day instantly turned to a 70+ evening. We talked about soccer, traveling, Nevada, California, what on earth I’m doing out here alone, etc…

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Eventually, like any good former soccer player, Jen piped up ‘I”m starving, have you ate?’ Aside from slaughtering the cow the second time on that Double Double, I had not. So off we went down Santa Monica Boulevard looking for food.

We wound up at this Italian Restaurant please note the previous experience traveling and Italian food] and sat down to a beer and some* pasta.

*Some: This is a family portion style restaurant, so the Chicken Parmesan was the size of my head…one of them was, it came with two.

I think we spent nearly four hours in that place, just talking, eating, laughing, and most importantly; talking soccer. Talking to business owners, innovators in the own sense, it was incredible. I was getting a taste of the mindset and thought process of the world around me, without me being part of the equation. Part of the unique setting of developing the Kansas City Shock, that since it is the first of its kind in the area it is practically sandbox mode for me 24/7. When I’m out traveling, I’m getting to peer into the minds of others and see, compare, and discuss the differences between their business model, patrons, and demographics versus my own.

In other words; I was spellbound for four hours listening to these two talk about how their growing not just women’s soccer, but soccer as a whole for a large group of people that wouldn’t be considered ‘elites’ within our current culture. I was able to witness passion for the same idea and concept from different people with different walks of life. It was inspiring and man alive was it motivating.

As the pasta cooled and the glasses emptied, we parted our ways [they were so kind that they picked up my bill, I owe them dinner when they’re in KC for sure]. I hopped back on I-10, scooted to The “405”, found my way to Century and located my hotel.

Laying in bed, listening to the airlines fly overhead [I’m rather close to LAX]; I was trying to process the day. So much went on all at once, but similar to the theme of Maryland. Some count this ‘soccer-thing’ as a hobby; I understand [to the best of my ability], but I tell you the truth: my life just shines when I’m in something comfortable. Watching, talking, and listening to how the dynamic game of women’s soccer is growing throughout the United States, sensing the concept of a cultural revolution, a real changing of the guard…

I went to bed relaxed and exhausted, and I went to bed giving praise for the fact there’s no doubt in my mind that my calling is set and passion, though tested, continues to shine through.
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-D-

Mobile Minutes: LA Part IV


I’m still trying to process everything.

There’s something about Los Angeles that just seems huge and overwhelming. I noted that even Dallas doesn’t have that charm. It’s like…hearing Justin Bieber on the radio and realizing, “Hmmm…the snot-nosed punk isn’t across the United States; he could be a few blocks from here.”

It’s walking into Starbucks and not knowing if a real Hollywood star is going to spill their latte on you [sadly, this story did not happen, but it would have been awesome].

The point is that this city is vast in ways that I literally, lyrically cannot express. I’m used to three [soon to be four] major interstates in a city. In Los Angeles…every road is a major interstate. One of which is so popular [notorious?] that it is only referred to by its number The “405”…I often wonder if they were tempted to just reference it as The “666”. It’s incredible because [road scholar geek moment coming] of its three digit identity we can conclude that it was originally designed as a ‘spur’ route off of I-5 through downtown Los Angeles; if we were going from the rules of road with interstate numbering. Also, like its design since it is a odd number we know that it is a north-to-south highway. However, I-5 isn’t used as much as the “405” because Los Angeles has grown so much that the “405” IS the route to take to get to downtown. Thankfully, being here over the weekend I was not subjected to the horrendous rush hour that so many warned of. However, when there isn’t rush hour be warned; driving on the “405” will prepared you for driving in Germany. If you are not at or above 65 mph by the time you’re off of the entry ramp…frankly; you have little hope. I’d venture to say that this highway’s average speed is around…85 mph? That’s inside city limits, I mean people burn along the “405” at a rapid rate of speed. Very fascinating and my little four cylinder made it, but at grave risk.

This is Los Angeles, fast paced at a constant 85 degrees and 85 mph.

More importantly though; I crushed the “405”…I was born to drive.