From Kyle -- Welcome to my blog. I hope my stories bring a smile to your face.

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Once upon a time there lived a couple. They were a happy couple. A man of fair hair and blue eyes, and his wife, with hair black as pitch and skin dark as chocolate. They lived in a wonderful cottage in the Northern Hills of the Kingdom of Ra-Lee.

“Husband…my Horizon EyeSprite is having trouble connecting to the FruitVine. Would you be a dear and look into that for me?” asked the wife.

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I recently watched a couple of TED talks. I like some of the presentations…some of them. Not all of them are good. In fact, I think some of the presentations are down right silly. There was one guy who did a talk on how to tie your shoe. Seriously, that was a talk. He tried to convince people that they were tying their shoes the wrong way, and then spent twenty minutes showing them the “right” way to tie your shoe. There are many ways to tie your shoe. If your shoe keeps coming un-tied, how about you be an adult and look up alternative knots. Or, if that is too much trouble, wear loafers for the rest of your life. Another guy did an entire talk on Yo-yoing. Yup. That’s right. I said, Yo-yoing. How is that helpful to anyone? “Looking for a life skill that can’t be taught? Try a Yo-yo…and then stick to it for ten years and learn advanced tricks. BAM! Your life has changed. You are now ten years older, and living alone!” Two other TED talks I saw really just seemed like self-promotions for Vegas shows. One guy was a pickpocket. He spent twenty minutes stealing from a volunteer on stage. His act was supposed to teach people about misdirection. I think we’ve all seen at least one magic trick in our lives. I didn’t need him to spend time on stage showing me how easy it was to steal a man’s watch and wallet. The last guy I want to mention did card tricks. Again, this really seemed like self-promotion for a show. Thirty minutes of card tricks. How does that improve my life? He didn’t even show us how to do a card trick. If he showed the audience HOW to do a trick, that would have been something. I could practice that and amaze complete strangers at a party that I probably will never get invited to because someone will know I will do a card trick.

Okay, so on to my TED talk. If I was asked to give a talk, I would present on appreciating truly amazing work. Think about that for just a moment. What IS truly amazing work? I’m going to give you some examples.

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I sit here this morning, the day after Thanksgiving 2014, watching cartoons at 9:00am. It’s a lovely morning.

Last night I had a dream involving Geoff Brown. Geoff and I went to NAFA Judging Camp (NJC). It was a week-long camp where we reviewed rules, played games with our dogs, and discussed judging issues. The mornings were spent playing games with our dogs, that were designed to make our bond stronger. The afternoons were spent in class talking about rules and discussing interesting judging situations.

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Are you tired of seeing all those Facebook posts that read "They laughed at him. You'll never believe what he did next" or "This pregnant baby was asleep at the beach. Your jaw will drop when you see what happens," or "This guy was out walking his cat. You'll die when you see his cat."

I'm tired of all that crap. I think if you want to post one of those videos/articles to your Facebook account, then the least you can do is tell people what they are in for. For example...

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Writing is hard. When you research authors and journalists, you often come across those three words. I don’t believe the average reader really understands just how difficult writing is. Many people who aspire to write novels assume something like: Yeah, I’ve heard it’s difficult…but how hard can it be? I’ve been writing since the third grade. I know how to put together a sentence, and I can form a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. So, when people say “writing is hard”, I think they mean the craft can be challenging at times because of things like plot hole, deadlines, and submitting to publisher. I can deal with that because I have a great story idea.

No. That’s not it. Writing is frustrating. It’s a love-hate addiction.  At its core, it’s about communication. Think about a time when you said just the right thing, and how cool it was. Now think about a time when all you wanted was X, Y, Z and the person you were talking to didn’t understand and you had to explain it four different times. In conversation, the setting, descriptions, and all the emotion and confusion of bad conversation happen in matter of seconds. In writing, it takes hundreds (if not thousands) of words to communicate all of that to the reader. To put it another way, people assume that because they’ve been reading and writing for thirty years, they could probably write a story and get published. First time out. Boom. Another bucket list item accomplished. When you start writing professionally (i.e. with the hopes of being paid), your skills are tragically low. They are akin to a child trying to communicate with a parent. Children throw temper tantrums because they lack the skills to communicate clearly. It takes years of daily practice to develop the skills necessary to clearly communicate.

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I tried to post this to Craigslist earlier this week. My goal was to see what kind of responses I would get. I figured I’d get a few strange responses, and maybe a few funny ones. I wanted to share those in my blog. Obviously it was a joke, but Craigslist didn’t like it. They sent me a notice stating that it violated their terms of use. I read through their terms and didn’t see where I was in viloation, but I’m not going to press the issue. It’s not that important…it’s a joke.

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This is a guest blog from Kristen Capogrossi. You can find her blogs at: Oven Lovin' Runnin'

Enjoy...

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Tanisha and I went to our first Crossfit workout yesterday with our friend Bob Cooney (

http://www.allsportmuscletherapy.com). The workout consisted of:

  • 400 meter run
  • 100 kettlebell swings
  • 80 Ball Pass Squats with a partner
  • 60 Ball Pas Sit Ups with a partner
  • 40 Partner Burpees
  • 20 Pull Ups
  • 400 meter run 
Bob was more experienced. He had been to a few sessions earlier in the week. Since this was Tanisha’s and my first time ever doing Crossfit, and since we haven’t worked out in over a year, the instructor told us to cut everything in half (except for the run). Instead of 100 kettlebell swings, do 50 kettlebell swings. Instead of 80 ball pass squats (40 per person), do 40 ball pass squats (20 per person). I went into this workout with the attitude of I’m going to do my best but be very mindful of my body because I don’t want an injury
 
Before we started the workout, we did a lap around the building. According to my calculations, that's 266 meters. That doesn’t seem like a long run, but if you are not a runner, you feel it after the first 50 meters. Once the lap was completed we were instructed to do some stretches (Spiderman lunges, alternating side squats, quad stretches, etc.). When we returned to the building, the instructor went over the workout routine, demonstrating each exercise (again, the run was the exception). Then he set a clock and shouted “GO!” Everyone raced out of the building.
 
We ran counter-clockwise around the building. I managed to get boxed in right away. To my right and ahead of me were two couples. I’m not a fast runner, but they ran exceptionally slow. Tanisha and Bob were fifty yards ahead of me at the finish. When I walked into the building, I was winded, but not exhausted. The warm-up run was harder for me.
 
We jumped right into kellebell swings. If you’ve never done kettlebell swings, they are quite difficult. It’s an exercise that uses most of your major muscles. I used a 35 lb weight, and I felt my muscles pushing at every swing.
 
Next we did the ball pass squats. Squat, stand, toss the 10-lb medicine ball to the next person. Since there were three of us, including Bob, we formed a triangle and passed the ball counter-clockwise from person-to-person. By the end of this exercise my thighs were burning. I felt like they were going to seize up on me and stop moving entirely.
 
Burpees. Ever done a Burpee? Here’s a video demonstrating a Burpee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Dq_NCzj8M
Since there were three of us, we each did twenty Burpees. Perform a Burpee, and upon standing, high-five the next person, who then does a Burpee and passes the work onto the third person. Round and round we went until we each finsihed our twenty Burpees. Upon finishing this exercise, we ran over to the pull-up bars and performed a modified version of the exercise. We then rounded out the day with another 400 meter run around the building.
 
After we finished all the exercises the instructor came over to talk with us. He told us he gets all kinds of people starting Crossfit, athletes, military, and people who haven’t exercised in years. Many of the non-exercise people give up after the warm up. Which is understandable because the warm up was hard. He told us a story about some people who literally walked out after the warm up…they just left. “Nope! I’m out!” He told us that he was very happy and impressed that we completed all the exercises. Between heavy breaths I said, “I know this may look like sweat all over my body, but it’s actually tears. This is what what it looks like when my body cries from pain.” He laughed.
 
Of all the exercises we performed, the pull-ups were by far the easiest. My back muscles are the only muscles that don’t ache today. There are a lot of muscles in the human body, but only about two hundred that will ever be discussed in a gym. Of those two hundred, about half of mine are sore today. This afternoon I’m heading to Pinehurst with my dad to watch the end of the US Open. I keep picturing that I’m going to have to tell my 72 year-old father to slow down because he’s walking too fast for me. Please don’t let there be stairs.
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