Jonathan Begley

July 16, 2010

GOODBYE, MY FRIEND?

Filed under: Other,Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 2:50 pm

Dear Writer’s Block…it’s not you…it’s me.  It’s been great, really, it mean it.  Twenty years of wanting to be a writer, how pathetic.  It’s time that I realized what you have been trying to tell me this whole time- I’m better off spending every ounce of free time staring at the television watching others live the life that I dream of.  Dreams are good enough for me. 

This “eight to five” job of mine is plenty exciting.  Who needs art and culture, adventure and danger, love and laughter?  Here, I have the World Wide Web.  I have the whole world at my fingertips.  I have an hour of commuting, everyday, that I can use to think and dream.  I have structure, predictability, safety; the only pain I fear is carpel tunnel. 

Who needs an imagination?  Why write these dreams down when I have them perfectly safe, inside of my head?  Why experience reality, a reality that could hurt?  Why keep records of feelings and thoughts and experiences that will expose my true being to the world?  Do I really think I am ready for that?  Who was I kidding anyways?  

Thank you, Writer’s Block.  I won’t forget all you’ve done for me.  I won’t forget all I’ve done with you by my side.  Remember that time…that time that I…I knew you would remember.  Why don’t I remember?  Oh, because you’re protecting me.  Thank you.  

Nevertheless, we must part ways.  There are many others coming along the road less traveled that need your guidance and protection.  I am holding you back.  I realize what I am and who I am afraid to be, so you don’t need to worry about me any longer.  You know exactly where I will be…right here, not experiencing life.  I won’t know what I believe or what I want because I know that if I take a stance, I may hurt someone, or someone may hurt me.  

Goodbye, Writer’s Block.  Go reach the world with your wisdom.  Change lives.  Don’t look back.

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July 15, 2010

NEVADA-THE FUTURE WASTELAND OF AMERICA

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 7:47 am

Check out this article from CNBC:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/37516043

Obviously, Nevada’s approach to bring in quality business by decreasing the tax burden on employers isn’t quite working out.  We are drowing in debt and are facing enormous cutbacks all across the state due to our state and local governments lack of attention and plain irresponsibility. 

A corporate tax is a must.  No, it’s not politically popular.  It’s a tough stance to take, and small businesses will be effected.  The fact is, Nevada will become somewhat of a “third-world state” if something isn’t done.  Those small businesses won’t matter anyway if our state can’t educate a workforce capable of surviving the 21st century.

For decades now, education has been a low priority.  Why would we need an educated, skilled workforce if all they need to do is work in casinos?  Cook the food, clean the rooms, deal the cards, and if you don’t like it, we can find thousands of other qualified candidates.  I don’t think Nevada will ever have an educational system that compares with states like California and Texas; but the one in Nevada now is pathetic.  The college graduates and others with advanced degrees that do come out of the states two universities leave because Nevada is not the “land of opportunity.”

Education shouldn’t be funded solely by business.  It’s a community, statewide effort.  We need to change the culture of Nevada to a state that values education.  We need to be a state that is unified toward a common goal.  And this all starts at the top.  Harry Reid has been a leader of this state for decades, and he finds himself in the race of his life with a second rate candidate.  He’s able to raise 19.2 million dollars for his own self-promotion.  Just think if he put those talents and resources into changing the culture of this state, leading by example, and focusing on Nevada more than Washington.

As a young professinal and young parent, why on earth would I want to stay in this state.  Economy is the worst in the nation.  Education, also the worst.  People are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and there is no hope in sight.  I have my future ahead of me.  I have a family to think about.  I am not the only one ready to pack up and leave this state to become a wasteland.

July 7, 2010

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 8:06 pm

Ten years since I graduated high school.  Like a blink of an eye, yet memories that will last a lifetime.  Moving away on my own, meeting my wife, pouring my life into the lives of abused children, graduating college, marriage, moving west, becoming a father.  These are some of the things I am most proud of, and after catching up with many of my buddies, I can honestly say I took the road less traveled.

Why then, do I constantly ponder “what could have been?”  Why do I constantly look for ways to rejoin the majority?  I have too much to live for to spend my life measuring succss against people I have little respect for.

I learned early on that the life of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll wasn’t exactly for me.  Sure, I had some fun, but I also have countless regrets from those years of wandering.  And that’s exactly just what it was, wandering from place to place, job to job, relationship to relationship, while always focusing on keeping my mind as numb as possible.  It wasn’t for me.  Some people have what it takes to live productive, meaningful lives while at the same time striving for that “right” feeling.  Some people think they are better than they really are, and are seen by the rest of society as the “bottom of the barrel.”

For me, drugs and alcohol started too early, at a critical time in my life.  They awoke the demon of depression inside of me.  Do I believe that drugs and alcohol caused my depression?  No.  I remember signs of depression in my behavior during little league.  Bud they did open the door for this pitiful demon into my life, and it forever changed the way I see and deal with life. 

I call it a demon, not a disease.  It’s not that I don’t believe that there is a chemical imbalance in my brain; but because calling it a disease gives it too much credit.  It has no control over my life, only tricks of self-doubt, memories of failure, and illogical thinking, that I allow to effect me. 

It is time to realize the man I am, and the man I am not.  I am a man of integrity, a man of adventure, and a man devoted to his family.  I am a man always looking for ways to grow.  Shouldn’t role models in my life reflect those qualities?

July 6, 2010

ARIZONA IMMIGRATION

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 7:22 pm

America was founded by immigrants. These people left what was common and normal for them, hoping for a new and better life.  These people were willing to work hard, to push the envelope, to live a life of adventure.  In just over two-hundred years we have created the most powerful nation in the world.  Millions of people worldwide would do almost anything to live here just a short time, and it is a direct result of the power of the American spirit.  It is because of this adventurous spirit that our forefathers were able to join together against a tyrannical government, or stand up against slavery, because everyone has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  It is precisely these rights that are being taken away from the citizens of Arizona.  Not by the federal government, but by the Mexican drug cartels who follow now rules and obey no boundaries.  Some may argue that our nation was founded by immigrants, and this new law is in direct violation or our Constitution.  I say that times have changed,  and Arizona must do whatever it takes to protect its citizens from harm in their own backyards.

The federal government has been in a virtual standstill for years.  The radical right and left wing politicians have made it almost impossible to get anything passed.  As a result, nothing has been done, by any of the recent administrations, to address this critical issue of illegal immigration.  It is obvious that this situation is an extremely sensitive issue to millions of Americans.  There is no doubt that many Americans and their families will be hurt by whatever policy is put in place.  This is not time, however, to argue about the details.  It is time to protect our citizens from a faceless and lawless gang of criminals that is terrorizing the south. 

The real issue is not the father who has worked hard for the last ten years to provide for his family.  The man who allowed his work visa to expire, and therefore, is an illegal alien.  The real issue is not the mother who if she gets sent back to Mexico will be seperated from her children who are United States citizens.  The real issue is the drug smuggling and corruption that is rampant all across the south. 

Will racial profiling take place as a result of this new law?  Probably.  Is racial profiling the intention of this law?  No, it’s not.  To be honest, racial profiling already exists, and not just in Arizona.  Racial profiling takes place any time the police are called to a residence, or see a speeding car at three in the morning.  Racial attitudes and prejudices and beliefs are a part of our society, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.  We can continue to work to eliminate racial attitudes, but this is not happening overnight.  What is happening overnight is women and children are being killed.  Evil has invaded our American homeland. 

So what do we do about the officers who will use this new law as an excuse to target Hispanics.  We put measures in place so that when it is discovered that this has happened, these officers no longer have a job.  What do we do about lawmakers who feel it necessary to take the immigration issue on themselves, and those who may have other motives behind such actions?  We vote them out. 

We vote them out.  We let our voices be heard.  But until Washington comes up with a plan to secure the borders so that all citizens have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, Arizona can and should do whatever it takes.

July 5, 2010

THE PROUD RECIPIENT OF A KIDNEY STONE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 4:04 pm

Without a doubt the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. 

5:30 a.m. and I am laying in bed trying to decide if I should go for a run.  Of course I should go for a run, it’s 5:30, I’m awake, and it’s a beautiful day.  My head is saying get up, but something is keeping me from sliding from the  bed to put my shoes on.  I feel a little funny, maybe I need to take a crap.  5:40 a.m. and I stumble to the bathroom thinking that forcing one out will make everything better.  I will still have plenty of time to get a quick run in before I need to get ready for work.  5:45 a.m. and that crap made my stomach feel worse.  It actually feels like someone kicked me in the groin.  I will just lay back down in bed and let the pain in my stomach subside.  5:55 a.m. and I find myself on my hands and knees beside my bed.  The baby is crying and my wife stares at me with a tilted head, like a puppy who doesn’t understand. 

6:10 a.m. and I am in the passenger seat of my wife’s car, racing down suburban roads.  The pain has increased steadily and now feels like someone has driven a nail straight through my right testicle and into my lower abdomen.  Not the left side, just the right, and for some reason it brings me some comfort to kick my left leg back and forth against the dashboard while I try to breath.  My wife is driving, somewhat slow due to the fact that we have a two month old child in the back.  “Could I be passing a stone?” I ask.  She shruggs, with a bit of panic on her face.  “Maybe my appendix has burst?” I suggest.  More panic.  Then I start to panic, still kicking the left leg, but now mixing it in with doubling over to have my head between my knees.  Now add a bit of nausea.  And a little more nausea.  It’s damn hot in this car and I need to roll down the window.  “Run this light please!” I grunt as I hold my head to the cool breeze coming in the window.  Vomit.  More vomit.  It’s a good thing I rolled that windown down.  One more time…and there go my glasses.  Some construction guys on the side of the road, just arriving for a day of work, look at me in bewilderment.  I almost feel bad that one of them will have to pick up my vomit covered glasses.

6:20 a.m. we arrive at the Emergency Room.  Only one other person is waiting to be seen.  Surely I will leap ahead of her as it is obvious to all staff behind the counter that I am definitely in a lot of pain.  I tell them “my pain is 10 out of 10” just to be sure they understand, and I know they will ask anyways.  The woman behind the desk continues to shuffle papers my way, so I add “and I am vomiting”, thinking that this will surely get their attention.  She jots some things down on the margins of the paper, asks me to fill out a form with my name, address, and phone number. ” Unbelievable” I think.  Then my wife comes in the door with my son.  Surely she will get the point across.  I can’t stand up anymore so I drop to one knee.  “What are we waiting for?” I ask loudly.  “The nurse…they know you’re hear”  they respond.  The nurse finally calls me back.  Younger guy who doesn’t look to concerned about time.  The truth is that I couldn’t have found a quicker ER, but then I had a nail in my testicle and nothing could be fast enough.  The nurse asks me to get on the scale.  I step on while saying “5’8″ and 140 pounds.  Pain is 10 out of 10” thinking this will speed things along.  It doesn’t.  He tries to get my blood pressure, but it’s not registering.  I double over again, still kicking my left leg.  I wonder if my leg has been kicking this way the entire time.

The doctor fianlly sees me about 6:45.  He asks me about the pain.  “It looks as if you’re the proud recipient of a kidney stone” he says.  I could care less what it is at this point.  All I manage to say is “it’s fucking huge” as I gasp for air.  I want drugs but my wife seems to be concerned that I am “pushing” for drugs.  Hell yes, I am pushing for drugs.  They tell me I will be “seeing blue sky and roses” in a matter of seconds.  “I’ll be the judge of that” I think to myself. 

I never did see blue sky or roses.  What I did see, the next day while I am straining my urine back at home, was a tiny, jagged, black “stone” fall into the strainer.  It was almost humiliating how small this peace of hell really was.  That will be my secret.

July 2, 2010

JUST LIVE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 7:20 pm

Life will surely pass in the blink of an eye, if I let it.  So much has happened over the last few months.  So many experiences, so much life.  I can honestly say that fifty years from now I will look back on these days filled with joy and happiness.  I am sure that I will look back with my fair share of regret as well. 

My son Benjamin is now almost three months old.  It is understandable that I find myself exhausted these days.  Not that I am the one staying up long hours every night, but having a child that needs you is an incredible adjustment.  Not only him, but my wife needs more of me as well.  I have found myself dreaming of time to myself.  No work, no baby, no to-do list.  But what have I done with the time that I do get…I watch TV.  That I will surely regret.  TV has far too big of a role in my life, and it needs to stop.  I refuse to watch my life pass by, one sitcom after another.  I refuse to “experience” life through others.  No longer can the World Series or the Superbowl be the most exciting time of the year. 

What really makes me come alive?  What kind of a father do I want Ben to grow up with?  What have I allowed myself to become? 

What am I going to do about it? 

Life is made of choices.  I pride myself on the fact that I have made more good than bad.  However, I find myself living for tomorrow.  Or worse, existing in this life, wondering “what could have been.”  How many days go by where I  fail to acknowledge the wonderful life I do have?  I find myself constantly wanting more.  More money.  More time.  More adventure.  More praise.  More freedom.  More sex.  More knowledge.  More wisdom.  More respect.  MORE.  MORE.  MORE.

But even I don’t want it handed to me.  I need to work.  I need to sweat.  I need to be challenged and to know what I am made of.  Most of all, I need to know what I have, who I am, what I stand for, and what I will fight for.

March 14, 2010

THE BOTTOM LINE

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 2:16 pm

I had a very interesting talk on Friday with a local entreprenuer who just happens to have founded a very successful restaraunt chain in the area.  His views on a presentation we  both heard were astonishingly different than my own.

The presentation was from a group of at-risk youth who were employed at a new silk-screening company.  The company is run by a local organization who received a federal grant for an entreprenuer training program.  I was impressed at the opportunity that these youth had and more so of the fact that each of them understood the possibilities and what they could achieve. 

Each youth acknowledged that without a program such as this there was a significant chance that they would be involved in local drugs or gangs.  They were thankful that this company was formed and that they had an opportunity not only to make money, but to make money doing something that they loved.  All of them were self-proclaimed “artists” and the work that they  brought with them was impressive.  Art and silk-screening was the least of the skills that these youth were learning.  They saw every aspect of startng and running a business, from meeting OSHA regulations to marketing; making sales and meeting deadlines.  These are skills that are highly transferable. 

I saw a training program that was teaching youth skills they could use the rest of their lives.  I saw enthusiasm from at-risk youth that most adults shy away from in public places.  I saw a federal grant (an expensive one) that was actually making an impact on the lives of our nation’s youth.

The man sitting next to me saw things completely different.  He began asking questions about costs.  Granted, this was an expensive program and these questions need to be asked.  He went further to demand updates be given in six months time because he did not believe that this business would be self-sustaining as planned.  I couldn’t resist pulling him aside after the presentation to ask more about his concerns.  He informed me that his particular business uses a silk screening business for hundreds of orders a year.  This competitor was able to complete these orders for a cost that was “dirt cheap.”  “If these young people can’t find their niche, they don’t have a chance.” 

I mean no disprespect to the man.  He is a very successful businessman who I can learn a great deal from.  He is certainly a “bottom line” kind of a man who achieved success by closely monitoring his expenses and by finding his “niche.” 

There has to be more to life and to business than just the bottom line.  This new business may not be highly successful.  It will not make anyone a fortune.  They more than likely will not be a strong competitor to other silk-screening businesses.  After all, these are not business people.  They are servants of the community making a difference in the lives of kids.  The bottom line is beside the point. 

I feel that the days of bottom line focused business are coming to an end.  Businesses that will succeed will be doing so to the benefit of that community.  I for one will be supporting this business and others like it, not because they can do things cheaper than everyone else, but because there is meaning to what they do.

February 9, 2010

C.S. LEWIS’ PERCEPTION OF HELL

Filed under: Uncategorized — jonathanbegley @ 7:02 am

“I like bats much better than bureaucrats.  I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin’.  The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint.  It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps.  In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.  Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” 

–C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, p. 233

February 8, 2010

WHAT MAKES YOU BUY?

Filed under: Character,Current Events — jonathanbegley @ 7:58 pm

Yesterday I sat down with a handful of friends to watch the best of the NFL battle it out in the Superbowl. The game did not disappoint. I can’t say the same for the commercials. For much of the country (myself excluded) I believe that the game is secondary to seeing the million dollar ads that organizations and companies produce. It amazes me that at the end of a three hour game I had a hard time remembering even a handful of good, quality commercials despite the astronomical amount of money spent.

 I define a quality commercial as one that not only is clear and memorable, but one that gives America a reason to buy that product over a competitor’s similar product.

When companies like Budweiser or Pizza Hut can shell out millions of dollars for a thirty second spot that is forgotten thirty seconds later, what does that say about their priorities? What does it say about who they are and what they want to represent? Giving away a free pair of pants or a free Grand Slam breakfast doesn’t get me excited about a product or company. Neither do cows and Clydesdales, men without pants, or Punxatony Palamalus (okay that last one was hilarious, but I still cannot recall what the company was).

In the weeks before we all heard countless opinions about the Tim Tebow Pro Life ad. Whether I agree with a woman’s right to choose or not, I know what Focus on the Family stands for and what they believe. I heard several commentators today complain about the sexist commercials that were so prevalent during the game. How offensive a particular commercial was can be debated but it is clear to me that some companies just flat do not deserve my money.

So while some commercials are funny and others full of sex or star power the mark of a good commercial is one that makes you want to act, to choose that product or service over another. In an attempt at name recognition I think that many companies are turning off the very people they are trying to reach. Name recognition is important, but not as important as a company’s character.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which commercials were great? Which were not? What makes you want to move?

January 19, 2010

WHO ARE YOU FOLLOWING?

Filed under: Career,Development,Workforce — jonathanbegley @ 3:19 pm

 

What do actions like this say about a leader?  We have all made mistakes and we have all made decisions that have negatively affected others.  Some decisions must be made and others are made blindly, often with no intention of ill will.  This is just a fact of business.

My hat is off to these businessmen who care enough to take off their board meeting blinders to see and get to know the people who make their organizations run. 

Who are you following today?  Examining those you follow is a great indicator of the leader that you will become.  What qualities do you see in your leader that you wish to acquire?  How will you do things differently?

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