Random Thoughts #101 - the "2011 review" edition

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Random Thoughts from yours truly.  #100 had the most readers of any of the ones I have written so far (including that "single" edition on Myspace a couple years back that created issues for me), so I thank all of you who read and hope you and even more people patronize my blog in the future.  As you can probably tell, there has been a change since the last edition so I'll go ahead and start the blog off today with that.  Enjoy.

 -  If you've been paying attention over the past week and a half to my Facebook and Google Plus pages as well as the blog, you have probably noticed by now the new logo I've been using for both myself and DJ's Random Thoughts which I have dubbed the "DJ logo."  It's a change that's been long coming and one that I wasn't ready to make until recently.  I'll talk more about the concepts going into the design in a later blurb but let me start off with why I did it.  A couple weeks ago I took a look at a social media ranking site called Zoomshare that just started ranking Google Plus brand pages.  I discovered that the DJRT Google+ page was ranked in the top 6% of all G+ brand sites in the U.S. and 7% in the world.  Being one of the first brand pages set up on Google+, that's no small feat.  However, given that high ranking and the possibility of more eyeballs on my blog there was the possibility that I would run into some trademark issues regarding my former logo.  The old logo was based off of the current DC Comics logo which you can see amongst the links at the top of the page (second from the right).  I don't want to have any potential legal complications going forward regarding my logo, so in order to avoid them I decided to design one of my own.  I wanted to create something that was inspired, a bit artsy, a bit modern, somewhat professional-looking yet could be commercially viable (like to put on a t-shirt or sticker) to work as my personal trademark and promote both myself and the blog.  It took me a while but after stirring my creative juices and achieving a breakthrough on the design concept..."VOILA!"...the new DJ logo.  I have to admit it looks better than I initially imagined it and it's still hard to believe I actually designed that, but there it is.  The old logo had a good three year run, but it was time for a change and this is the one I will be using going forward.  I'm happy with the design and I hope you all like it too.

 -  Before I go forward, I want to mention a couple of things related to the blog.  The first is that I've got the blog set up so that most of the links and pics open up in either a new window or new tab depending on your individual browser setups.  The second is that I am adding a couple more staples alongside SLP, the Song on Repeat, and Peaceful Journey.  One is something I used to use on my old DJ Online site several years back (when I had a website) called DJ Facts.  Inspired by Matt Hardy's "Matittude" days in WWE, it was a little factoid about Hardy that would come up during his ring entrance.  Some of them were serious, some a bit silly, some that were exaggerations, some that actually confused people and some that were actually just boring.  In any case, I decided to do a version of my own and DJ Facts was born.  I found the old randomizing script that I used to post those little factoids about myself and thought to use them here.  If I ever found a way to get that script working on DJRT I might pull the trigger on it but for now I've decided to use it as it's own section in the blog for posting every once in a while (not a regular thing, in other words).  The second staple I'm adding is something I attempted recently as a separate blog called DJ Customs.  They were pics I customized or designed outright in some fashion.  Since it wasn't updated that frequently I decided to shut down that blog and incorporate it as a staple here on DJRT.  The first "DJ Custom," which is the next blurb, will feature my most prominent design and one I just wrote about a bit ago:  the new DJ logo.

 -  DJ Customs:  The new DJ logo is just one of the latest changes not just to DJRT but to me, myself and I.  Like I stated earlier, I needed my own trademark to go forward with so I designed one.  I wanted to incorporate some inspirations of mine into the design and in a limited fashion I think I worked them in there.  Though they might not be too terribly obvious, they are at least meaningful to me personally.  Starting with the design, there are three double rings (one ring inside the other), one surrounding the DJ lettering and two in a criss-cross pattern below.  That symbolizes the "three-ring circus" that goes on around me and in my head.  Things and life get crazy sometimes so I definitely wanted that reflected in the design.  As I just mentioned, the rings below the DJ lettering are criss-crossed.  That part of the design was inspired by two separate sources.  One was from the first Superman movie back in the 70's/80's.  Early in the movie, the Kryptonian criminals General Zod, Ursa, and Non were put on trial.  The design for the cage used furing the trial was a constantly-moving double ring surrounding the criminals (can't think of a better way to describe it...go find the movie to see what I'm getting at).  I was fascinated by the rings on the cage so I decided to incorporate that inspiration into the logo to signify my status as a fan of superheroes and comic books.  The second source is the criss-cross of the rings itself, creating an "X" shape.  The X is to simulate the gesture used by the wrestling faction Degeneration X in WWE.  The stable would either criss-cross their arms above their heads or cross them quickly below their waists which is better know as the "crotch chop" motion.  It was lewd and crude at times, but it was memorable to say the least.  I wanted to include my status as a fan of pro wrestling into the design and thought the criss-cross would be the best way to show that.  After finding the right font and modifying it (believe me, finding an ideal one can be a pain), I mess around with the design until I got it the way I wanted it.  Once it was completed, I instantly knew it was the right logo for me and for the blog...and believe me, that type of instant knowledge that something is good doesn't come along often for me so I knew this was some special and meaningful.  In any case I hope you like it.  I've posted some of the pics on the Google+ page which you can view here:  #101 - The new DJ logo.  Also, like in the old DJ Customs blog, I'm putting a couple of them below for you to see for yourselves, the first being the regular logo in black and gold and the second in an ice blue variation:
The DJ logo - Gold  The DJ logo - Ice Blue
 -  This is the last edition for the calendar year 2011 so I decided to do a quick review of my 2011, hence the "2011 review" edition.  The biggest event for me was my move out of Columbus back in September.  As I talked about in the "requiem" edition, things weren't working for me there anymore so I decided to move on.  I now live in the Akron area, but overall I still see myself in the middle of a transition to whatever or wherever my life is going to go next.  I don't know where I'm going to be a year from now...heck, I don't know where I'm going to be a month from now (I might have something for February, but there's only a small chance of that happening at this point).  I did have ideas on where I wanted to go, specifically where my "dream" was going to take me, and that may still happen but in any case it looks like I'm going to be in a transition for the foreseeable future.  I am at a crossroads in my life as to where to go next but I am working on it and I will keep you all updated on what happens here in DJRT.  Another thing that's happened to me this year and is continuing is that I lost weight and am at a significantly lower waist size now.  I'm actually less physically active than I was at the beginning of last year, and that's not saying much given my lack of activity then.  However, I started eating a lot less and the weight...and my gut...started to drop off.  I've lost at least 25 pounds and currently at a size 35 pants, which I haven't even been close to in over 15 years.  It's a shock to see the dropoff and I am hoping to lose a bit more.  As most of you who've been reading my blog regularly, I took a break from DJRT from mid-August to the beginning of this month.  The plans I had for changes didn't go through, but they are still part of the long-term plan I have for DJRT and, thanks to the break, my blogging is fresh enough for me to the point that I actually have ideas sketched out for the next two editions (after this one), which hasn't happened in a LOOOOONNNGGGG time.  Outside of me, a couple of dictators and the world's most wanted terrorist died; some people got famous; some famous people got jailed; we lost some good people to the good Lord above; and some people....well, let's face it, they just plain sucked at life.  I actually made resolutions last year...let's just say I'm not doing that again.  I'm just happy I made it through 2011 and hope that 2012 is better for me overall.

 -  With the first primary elections and caucuses coming up as early as next week, I want to talk about something that's been on my mind for a while now.  There are a lot of big-time personalities in political media right now, from talk-show hosts to presidential candidates to candidates for other offices to even the common man and woman from both Occupy and Tea Party movements.  These personalities range from the far left to the far right and, very rarely, ever get the middle position close to right.  Honestly, I don't know of any right now near the middle despite these personalities' claims otherwise, so it's making it tough for me to determine where these people stand.  As a result, I can't make heads or tails what messages they are trying to send or even if there is something solid in what these people say.  You could ask the person next to you and it is very likely they will see something completely different from what you saw, which for me raises the difficulty even more sometimes.  It's gotten to the point where it looks like the messengers, that being the big-time personalities, overshadow their own messages or what they truly stand for.  This "messenger overshadowing the message" is the thing that's been on my mind, not for political reasons but for personal ones.  When I write my blog or express an opinion, I have found sometimes that it gets lost based on how someone sees me however limited or unlimited that might be or what they think of me as a person.  I think this happened to me after the "single" and "gauntlet" editions a couple years back where I was hoping people would see something in particular I wrote and separate me from it.  I know of at least one person who either couldn't or wouldn't do that and there may have been others, but all the same it seemed like who I was or am colored their perceptions and they would either read too much into what I wrote or outright lose what I was trying to get at all because of what they thought of me or what may have been going on at the time.  I'm pretty sure a lot of you have been in such a position as well, having who you are or what you represent overshadow what you would try to get across.  When it comes to these political personalities, it is difficult.  Out of what I could understand out of some of them, maybe it was a good thing the message was lost because the message wasn't true or was based on faulty or outright unreasonable logic.  The funny thing about all this is that I'm starting to find more difficulty with the people I would most likely have commonality with...in other words, the type of people I've identified and even allied myself with politically in the past.  In some cases I can get a general idea but when it comes to specifics it gets really tricky to make sense of how they're going to get from point A to point B.  That hasn't been too much of a problem with those personalities I don't have in common but it's troubling that I'm now having that with those I do.  Maybe that's why I've been averse to the political arena for some time now, my confusion and all that.  I guess all I can do is pray that I get at least enough factual information to be able to make an informed decision on who to support or even where I stand politically in the future.

 -  The essay I'm about to post may bug a few people so please consider not letting the messenger overshadow the so-called "message" here.  One of my female Facebook friends reposted something she found online a while back regarding what men actually think about certain things and really look for regarding women they may want to be with.  I thought it was fascinating enough to fix up the formatting and text, add one thing I thought was needed to it, and repost it here as an essay.  Some of you may agree with it, some of you might not, but in any case I thought it was at least worth sharing.  Here it is:

Reality Check:  What Girls Need To Realize

I've got some "rules of the road" for ladies when it comes to dealing with guys. We guys don't care if you talk to other guys. We don't care if you're friends with other guys. But if you're sitting next to us when some random guy walks into the room and you jump up and tackle him without even introducing us...yeah, it's gonna make us mad. It doesn't help when you talk to him for ten minutes without even acknowledging the fact that we're still there. We don't care if a guy calls or texts you, but at 2 in the morning we do get concerned. Nothing is that important at 2 AM that can't wait until the daytime. Also, when we're complimenting you and saying you're pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, cute, and/or stunning, we freakin' mean it. Don't tell us we're wrong because sooner or later we'll stop trying to convince you of it simply because you don't want to believe us. The sexiest thing about a girl is her confidence. Don't be mad when we hold the door open. Take advantage of the mood we're in. Let us pay for you. Don't "feel bad" because we actually enjoy doing it. Smile and say "thank you." Kiss us when no one's looking. Better yet, if you kiss us when you know somebody's looking, we'll be more impressed. You don't have to get dressed up for us. When we go out with you, you don't have to feel the need to wear the shortest skirt you have or put on every kind of makeup you own. We like you for you and not how much you can get dolled up. Honestly, a girl looks more beautiful when she's just in her pj's or in a T-shirt and boxers. Don't take every single thing we say seriously. Sarcasm is a beautiful and underrated thing...see the beauty in it. Stop getting angry or worked up so easily. Stop using magazines or other media as your bible. Don't talk about how hot Chris Brown, Brad Pitt, or Justin Beiber is in front of us. It's not that we're jealous...we just don't care because it's really boring to us. That stuff is what you have girlfriends for. Whatever happened to the word "handsome?" We'd be utterly stunned by a girl who greeted us with "hey, handsome!" as opposed to "hey, baby!" or stud or cutie or sexy or whatever other generic pet names are out there. On the other hand, we're not saying we wouldn't like it, either. Ladies, we can't stress this enough: if you are NOT being treated right by a guy, don't wait for the idiot to change. Ditch that sorry disgrace to the male population and find someone who will treat you with the respect, love and dignity you deserve...someone who will honor your morals; someone who will make you smile when you're at your lowest; someone who will care for you even when you make mistakes; someone who will love you no matter how bad you may have just treated them; someone who will stop what they're doing just to look you in the eyes and say "I love you" and actually mean it. We do wonder why a lot of you females keep lusting after wannabe alpha males or so-called "hot" guys who have continuously treated many of you like dirt and would dump you at the drop of a hat in the event some "hotter" girl came along while there are other decent guys out there for the taking. You say you want to be with a "nice guy" but in reality they're just empty words because you haven't meant it nor done it. If you really wanted a nice guy, we'd rather you just stop talking about it and go flippin' do it already! Who knows? Maybe it's a guy that's been in the background all this time you never thought of before in that way. Seriously, ladies, how are you gonna know unless you actually find out for yourselves?

 -  I was going to talk about the Cleveland Browns 2011 season here but I think I'll hold off until the next edition so I can talk about their whole season after they're actually finished with it and what they have to look forward to in the offseason including the 2012 draft.

 -  I also thought I would have my plans for New Year's Eve this weekend solidified with me more than likely going to Akron's First Night, but with the weather being a little unstable with a possible rain/snow mix, I've decided against that plan, so I probably won't do anything for NYE itself.  I have actual plans for New Year's Day but for right now nothing for the night before.  If I do get something I want to pass along, I'll put it up for my friends on my personal Google+ and Facebook accounts.  In the meantime, for those of you wanting more info on Akron's NYE thing, you can go here for more info:  Akron First Night.

 -  On the local coaching front, the University of Akron got a big-time coach for their program.  Terry Bowden, the former Auburn coach and ABC college football analyst, is now the new head coach of the Akron Zips.  He did have a short assistant coaching stint under Gerry Faust so he does have some history with the program, but this was a major coup for a college team that desperately needed some legitimacy as a football program.  Before the hire, I would talk with my parents regularly about how bad the search for head coaches has been and the past choices they made (making the Bowden hire a complete shock to me).  Heck, it got so bad that they actually advertised the head coaching position on their career website.  As somebody who's looked at other colleges for jobs and careers myself, I had never come across one for a head coaching position (or any football coaching position) from any major university until Akron's posting.  Up to that point, they couldn't do much worse than what they had for the past 2 or 3 coaches, but it was...interesting...to see (I say "interesting" with a snickering chuckle).  The posting was taken down after the Bowden hire but I have a screenshot of the posting found on UA's job website here:
University of Akron - Head Football Coach position posting

 -  I want to congratulate my friends Jen and Dani on their recent college graduations.  I know how tough it is to get those degrees so kudos to the both of you on getting them.

 -  At the Heisman Trophy ceremony, winner Robert Griffin III wore Superman socks with a cape on one of them.  THAT is a dedicated fanboy.

 -  Recently I came across a commentary on the Huffington Post from actor Orlando Jones titled "No Offense But..." (you can find that here:  No Offense But...) that caught my eye.  There was a passage and a half that stood out to me that I thought you might find interesting:

The one thing that seems clear is this -- there's no such thing as a sacred cow when all cows are sacred. When you speak or write, no matter how careful you are there is a chance someone is going to be offended. Everyone acts like we all should know better than to say this or that. Like it was outlined in that iTunes update we all click agree to without reading.

Every step in a mine field is potentially dangerous. That is true whether you know you're in a mind field or not. Can we agree on that? Can we agree on anything?

 -  I think I have found my generalized "insult," for lack of a better term, that I will be calling idiots, shams, dunces, jerks, bullies...well, you get the picture.  Here it is:  "goofnugget."  It sounds so innoculous and I'm shocked I've never seen it before a few days ago.  It was initially used to describe the rapper Drake (I don't think he's one, but some do) and I've actually seen it one other time since elsewhere.  I like it so that's what I'm going to call those people I described before...goofnugget.

 -  The day after I posted #100, my friend Todd and I went to the new Books-A-Million store at the former Borders at Chapel Hill Plaza.  There was a customer dressed up as a pirate in the bookstore.  I don't know why he did it or what he ws trying to do but it was very strange.  I wonder if it was because he missed Halloween and he's trying to make up for it?  Oh well...

 -  Song on Repeat:  "Come On Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson.  It was a song I've passively listened to for some time now but only until recently did I actually search out the name and the artist.  Here it is:

 -  SLP to the following:  Griff, Todd, Bob, Debbie, Aunt Sue, Holly, Joe M., Lynn, Ernest, Ron, Jenny K., Regina, Rob H., and Andrea.

Another long edition is in the books.  Before I go, I hope everybody had a happy holiday season and wish you and yours a hearty Happy New Year.  See you next year, folks.  Until next time.  Take care and God Bless.