The Thoughts of Gunnar

$34 Water
May 30, 2008, 8:50 pm
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Friday, May 16, 2008

$34 Water

Tonight, I waited on a table that ended up ordering 4 one litre bottles of our still water. For those 4 waters, their water bill alone on thier ticket was $34. I SOLD $34 OF WATER TO A STINKING TABLE. Sometimes, I can’t tell if I love my job, or if it wants to make me cry.


100,000 Miles Hits Glorious Sunset High School
May 30, 2008, 8:49 pm
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Monday, April 28, 2008

100,000 Miles Hits Glorious Sunset High School

As anyone who is truly open minded knows, Sunset High School is the most glorious high school ever, producing the richest crop of alumni of any school in secondary educational history. Fortunately for me, I happened to go there.
Anyway, driving my Suzuki Esteem home from work tonight, it hit 100,000 miles JUST as I was passing Sunset High.
I think it was a sign:
Sunset is solid, stable, and even as the miles add on, it keeps on cruising.
Also, the average salary of a Sunset Grad, I heard, is $100,000 annually.

If I won the lottery…
May 30, 2008, 8:48 pm
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If I won the lottery….

Secretly, for about the last four months, I have fantasized about winning the lottery. (It helps that the Mega Ball or whatever-it-is billboard is right on my way home.) Granted, to win the lottery, it helps to play it, I am sure. But deeper than that, I have pondered the question, if I had a100 million windfall land in my lap, what would I do with it.
I think I know.
1. I would buy/pay for Stephanie Baker’s house. (Of course she would get to keep it.)
2. I would pay off my brother in law’s law school debts.
3. I’d give every last dime of the remainder to the National Debt.

I’m serious.
I think I am just wacked out enough to do it.
My first concern, (and no offense to past lottery mega bucks winners who read my blog) but, I don’t want my kid learning to live off of lottery money, so to speak. There is nothing wrong with having lots of money…I just want him to learn how to make it by providing value to people as opposed to it landing in his lap.
But even more than that concern, is the financial status of our nation. I would pledge all the rest of the money, get insant media attention for doing so, but ask every American to give whatever they could, from $1 to $1000…towards paying down the national debt and sending a message to our politicians that we cannot mortgage our future any longer as we have. (Actually, I pray to God it actually isn’t already too late…it would take a miracle…I am fortunate enough to believe in miracles.)
I am absolutely devastated in my hopes while listening to all three of our current presidential candidates. We have a MASSIVE trainwreck heading our way economically due to the national debt, and we have for years, but none of them are stressing this much at all, it seems to me. Many of them seem to be coming up with programs, that while they seem noble, will only end up costing us even more money…that we don’t have…so we ‘print up more’ and devalue our currency…etc, etc..and it is all one big whirlwind.
I think that myself, and other Americans, are really going to need to step up,and sacrifice, and say, “I will pay the taxes, and ask for minimal services/special interests in return.” It will take a generation (or two) to live that way, in order to let the younger ones have the kinds of standard of living that we have enjoyed.
This all leaves me with a disheartened feeling for folks that could expereince some really hard times compared to the lives we have lived so far…

But my final point is this:  I won’t yet claim I do, but I do desire to deeply want to care for the poor…particularly the poor even outside of this nation.  In the past, American’s have been very generous towards that end…it seems whenever a catastrophe hits, Americans  have  stepped up in HUGE, HUGE ways.  However, we will not be able to do that in the future if our whole economy is completely crippled do to the out of control and out of check spending of the national government.  Although our politicians must curb this, ultimately, it is up to the American people to put  off many of the special interests  that we want so dearly to hold on to, and pay a price of going without so that future generations can live a life in an American which has had such an opportunity and bright future in the past.

It is time, once again, for a generation to step up and make a huge sacrifice.  It scares me how few people seem to be in touch with this.  I’d love to go down as being a part of a generation that not only got the nation’s spending in check, but in doing so, really helped to alleviate poverty on the earth effectively.

My $102 Mistake
May 30, 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My $102 Mistake

Tonight, doing what it is I do at Morton’s, I made an error, and served someone the wrong bottle on our wine list. The gentleman ordered a Malbec, a type of red wine from Argentina…and low and behold, we have a few different versions of Malbec on hand, and I did not ask him for the bin number on his bottle, even though he pointed at the one he wanted. Anyways, the bottle he presumes he tried to order costed $45..and I served him another bottle that sells for $147.
And I paid the difference.
My other option would have been to be written up. I was not down with that for a few reasons…one being that it was MY fault…Morton’s didn’t do anything wrong…I should have not been afraid to get that guy to be really detailed when ordering. I get intimidated due to my utter ignorance in wine, and the guy was busy talking to his table-mates, and I didn’t want to bug him further…I assumed. A second reason is I just got started…and I don’t think folks get too many $102 dollar write-ups under their belt…so I went ahead and paid it.
The way I am, (I can only imagine most people are, but I know from some friends, some people are NOT this way, ) but that $102 is likely going to be a PERMANENT lesson to me. I am so deal motivated in my buying decisions, so paying the balance on some cats super expensive bottle of wine left a serious tatoo on my brain. I don’ care…I am triple checking that crap from now on!
As a side note, while the guy was drinking it, he could not stop talking about how good the wine was. I don’t understand paying $147 for any bottle of culinary liquid, but, I guess that helps explain a ‘fine’ wine from a normal wine. He was enthralled.

My New Job…and My Heart, Part 2
May 30, 2008, 8:46 pm
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My New Job…and My Heart, Part 2

Ha! So I made it all through my testing, and I am officially on the staff at my new job. I am way down with that scenario.
True story, I got really nervous towards the end. I had some final stuff for Friday night, and during that shift, I got the living daylights kicked out of me. They gave me one more shot at it last Saturday night.
That afternoon, I showed up for work and took all my written tests, which I aced. (That really wasn’t what I was worried about…I was worried about actually running a shift on the Morton’s dining floor.)
Saturday night, everything went a TON smoother, and I was not perfect by any means, but certainly did well enough to justify giving me the offiicial chance to be a newbie and learn.
Truth be told, Friday night, after not quite making it, was kinda critical to me, because the very real thought did cross my mind, “Well, you gave it your best swing, and missed, time to pack it in.” There was a definate part of me that didn’t want to come in on Saturday night, just to fail again. But I kept reading and rereading my last blog, and determined that was not how I was going to go down. Especially after reading some of the comments to my last blog.
I have a few shifts under my belt, and there have been a few more ’humbling’ moments, but it takes time to get one’s rhythym established, learn the best, quickest way to do things, etc. (It is a fine, fine art at Morton’s.)
I also am working just a few lunch shifts a week at Red Robin. I worked one yesterday, and it was one of my favorite all time shifts there. I got to have a wonderful guy follow me and ’train’ him, (as if he needs it), and it felt good to come back right away and train somebody, just coming out of training myself. Also, Brian was managing that shift…and I just realized how much I dig that guy…and my other coworkers there. When I finally do go, it will be sad to me, because I so dig all of the wonderful people I work with there….from the servers, the buspersons, and I love so many of the kitchen staff. Nothing against Red Robin, but I now know that I know that I know what kept me there so long…the great people…and certainly not the job! And that is not meant as a slight…it is just the truth. I don’t knowingly have any enemies there that I am aware of, but even with people that I may not have ’hit it off with’ there, I can see the value in all of my coworkers there as people who have neat skills, abilities, cares, conerns, and giftings that, when pondered, are a delight to observe. In fact, the hardest part of my transition is not seeing everyone from Red Robin as much. Sometimes, when we see folks everyday, we can just get so ’familiar’ with them. But when I walked back in for the first time in a few weeks, and I saw Brian smiling as he saw me and asking how I was doing, I was able to see with a ’clear view’ how honored and blessed I have been to be able to work with the caliber of people I have worked with…and still get to, just on a much smaller basis!
My new coworkers will really have to blow me away to match that!

My New Job…and My Heart…
May 30, 2008, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My New Job…and my heart…

So, I have a new job, at Morton’s downtown. It is a rather high end restaurant.
I am learning a lot about how much I really don’t like change, and how I want to have a overly strong desire to ’be in control’ all the time, and not be in a position to fail.
Melissa, my great friend, helped me realize this.
Daren, one of the bestest friends I have ever known, sums the truth of the matter up to me when he speaks of ’settling for security over blessing.’
Part of me really wants to go back to Red Robin full time. While I am so utterly far from perfect, basically, I know the routine there, and I know I can do it. However, the potential is in place for me to possibly make a much more significant financial living working at Morton’s, and further myself as a person by learning new things! So, responsibility wise, wisdom tells me to keep the Morton’s thing up…but change hurts so bad.
I am halfway through training at Morton’s…in some ways, I have done great, and in others, if I am going to make it, I am going to have to get really clutch, really fast. They say 50% of job candidates fail out of training there. I think one guy just did last Friday. This freaks me out, because I am tempted to feel really ashamed to fail. And so many of my personal friends, and especially some of my friends from The Dirty, Dirty, Dirty Filthy Bird, have wished me well in this switch. (a.k.a, Red Robin.) The stress of it all this past week defeated me, to the point that I have not even been celebrating or having joy that I have a really great opportunity with this job that can tie in with so many of my personal dreams. (The restaurant is only open at night, giving me every day off to pursue entrepreneurial things, have good family time while working, etc.)
About four years ago, during a time of reflection, I asked God openly, “Show me something in my life You want to make better.” The first thing that came to my mind was, to me, one of my biggest failures.
When I was 11 years old, I had one very clear goal in life: to be a major league baseball player. I was not much for playing with toys as a kid. I played ball in the yard…always. Even in the Oregon winter rain.
My baseball team got invited to a tournament where the first place teams from different little leagues had a one loss and your out bracketed championship. My team made it to the final game, which we ended up losing 1-0. In that game, I was up with the bases loaded, and two outs, and was facing, for the first time, a pitcher who threw a curveball. I struck out looking at strikes instead of swinging at strikes, and took the brunt of that loss HEAVILY on to my shoulders. My parents came to a pretty fair share of my games, but for whatever reason, they were not at that one, and after that game, I just really needed to get loved up on. For whatever reason, I historically felt that never happened. (And I was too ashamed to tell them I was the ’goat’ that cost my team the championship, so how could they!)
Now, I had not recalled that experience in a long time when the remembrance of it came to my mind. I beleive God let me in on remembering that to get this idea in my head: instead of always focusing on the results, focus and take joy in ’being in the game’ and ’taking a swing.’ Out of fear of failure, I didn’t swing the bat! But if you don’t ever swing the bat, you are not ever going to win the game for your team, either!
In life, ’pitches’ often come our way. Sometimes, just like the curveball, they can be pitches we have never seen before. If you are like I was at that moment, I felt completely unprepared, and I just froze.
Thus, my temptation right now, being at this new job, not being sure if I will pass all that I need to pass to stay on, (the game is in the balance) I am really, really tempted to not take a swing, by ’giving up.’ But reflecting like this, I realize that is not an option. I’ve gotta take a cut and go for it. This is a ’home run’ of a job for me if I connect…but I won’t connect if I don’t ’swing the bat.’
I still recall the first game of the season when I played Babe Ruth baseball years later. I was proud to be batting cleanup, and we had the bases packed with one out. Stepping up to that plate, I had one idea in my mind for the first at bat of the season…I was going to beat the living daylights out of that baseball. (Thus, I was swinging!) In fact, I did end up tatooing the crap out of that ball. Perhaps one of the top two or three hardest balls I can recall hitting. It was hit right into the first baseman’s glove, as a matter of fact. I recall him catching it more as an act of self defense than defensive prowess, to be honest, as it was going right at his face! (That is not a brag…honestly, that is how it went down.)
Now, the same result happened…in the unforgiving rules of baseball, and out is an out. In fact, the runner on first was off the bag, and so the play turned into a double play. However, going back to the dugout, instead of feeling like a failure, I had a HUGE grin on my face. I made an out, but inside of me, a truth existed: I tried my best, did it in no fear, and thus, had no regrets about that at bat. Could I adjust later and maybe reaim the hit? Perhaps so. But you know, I remember thinking, “Dang, I could NOT have hit that ball any harder.” Acting in fear leaves huge regret, but acting out fear free, even when we fail, is so much more freeing. Experience and training and practice would help me redirect that hit for later opportunities…but if fear had me then, and froze me at the plate…I would have once again gone back to the dugout in shame.
Life can be goofy sometimes. I had really good grades in high school…mostly all A’s, but I did get one C…in typing! (Ironic that I now type 120WPM…). But my identity was not wrapped up in typing at all…so while I was a bit stressed about the hit to my GPA, in reality, I could have cared less about being identified as a good typist. But failing like I did that baseball game…that was how I wanted to define myself…and inside of that little guy that I was…it planted a psychological wound, I am sure.
So, as I believe God helped me recall that event, He helped me recall some other things too. Even though my parents were not there, my coach, who was not overly talkative with me, took a lot of extra time with me after that, and even called me at my house to encourage me. And I remembered some small, but great plays I made during that tournament. I think God wanted me to take that moment to heal that wound, and let me know that even when I ’failed,’ He was there to get me support. That no matter what it looked like, if my heart was willing to have it’s eyes opened, I would be able to see Him in it. And despite what any person ever tells me, I now know that I do.
This new job has all kinds of ’pitches’ that I have not only never seen…I have never even heard of them before. But I am making a decison now, even as I write this. I am not going to stand and watch them. I am going to ’try and smack the hell out of those pitches.’ If I connect, it is going out of the park. But even if I fail, I am going out with a grin. Because I am leaving no regrets on the table. No matter what the result, I know God is there to catch me. I don’t have to retreat in fear. If it is this or something else, I know it is time in my life to grow, and I will not settle for security over blessing. I am willing to take the risk, get in the game, and go for the fences. Life is not designed for us to hit a home run every time. (Which is a bummer to me, because I fantasize about that all the time.) But, no one hits the big one if they don’t swing.

The Bodyguard Movie Review
May 30, 2008, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Bodyguard…The Movie Review
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

Do to sheer demand from people wanting to get far, far deeper into the ‘Whitney vs. Celine’ arguement, (if you can call it has been pretty much determined, Whitney wins, hands down) I took the liberty of rewatching, for the first time since it came out, The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The following consists of my random observations.
1. The movie was WAAAAY worse than I remember it. It freaked me out. When it came out, it wasn’t like I was in love with it, but I recall thinking, “Well, that wasn’t too bad.” Now, I watched it realizing, it was just plain bad, bad, bad.
2. Still, as real as that last statement, was, and while this can only sound mean, it is still true: Celine replacing Whitney in that movie would have made it 100 times worse.
3. I’ve seen and experienced women cussing, and to me, that happens in life, and I am ashamed of myself at how chauvinistic this sounds, but hearing Whitney Houston drop the ‘F-bomb’ repeatedly does not sit well with me. I couldn’t take it. She dropped quite a few SH bombs as well, but it so did not fit my image of Whitney, whatever that is, and it horrified me. That is not fair, but that is the way that it is.
4. The ‘unintentional comedy scale’ is ran off the charts during the movie seeing Whitney’s progression of attraction to Kevin Costner.
5. At the boxoffice, the movie was somewhat successful as I recall, and no offense, but it is easy to see how Whitney didn’t get recast again…literally, her voice and music totally overshadowed that, and thus, I am assuming, drew the box office. Even a diehard Costner fan, if they are out there, couldn’t be too up on this role for him.
6. What really messed me up is how I remember the movie to how it really was: I recall they never really admitted feelings for one another, then at the end, they get off the plain, and they smooch it all out…and it is ‘super romantic-like.’ In reality, like, 15 or 20 minutes in, they sleep together on a sudden urge after she points a really sharp Japanese sword at him and he uses it to destroy her expensive silk scarf at his trashy bachelor pad. And it happens kind of all the sudden. Ya. Right. That just destroyed the movie for me. Nowhere in anyone’s wildest thoughts could Kevin Costner hook up with Whitney Houston so fast, without having dated or anything, and without even trying to ‘win her over’ in the least bit. I mean, seriously. From that point on, I felt really ill about my decision to review this film again…and we are at minute 15 in the movie or so…
7. I am not a big romance movie fan anyway, but for the love of God, there was no reason given that either one of them should even like each other, much less hook up. Please.

In summary, this actually further strengthens my rock solid opinion that Whitney is a much, much stronger female singer to be a fan of over the comparatively inferior work of Celine Dion. To me, with Whitney in top singing form yet downgraded by a horrid script and poor acting technique, she still seems lightyears ahead of Celine, and one could only have bad thougts when pondering Celine trying to fufill the same role with an open mind.
Still, fortunately for me, I will never, ever have to review The Bodyguard again in my life. I strongly encourage and exhort all of you not to rent the film…you will lose money and time you can never regain, and if the music beckons you, all the videos are on youtube anyways.