What happens if a trademark becomes genericized?

I was reading the article about Google™ getting denied on their trademark application for the name Nexus One. To quickly summarize the story, Google™ wanted to trademark the name Nexus Phone because of their new phone to be release, but apparently another company had already registered this name over a year ago.

The USPTO has denied the application and now we all await to see what happens. I don’t think Google™ will have any problems with this, but the whole story got me thinking about trademarks in general and the ensuing battles between stakeholders. More specifically, I started thinking about trademarks becoming genericized and what would happen to if Google™ simply became, google…

Genericizing is when the mainstream public starts using a trademark name as a generic word to describe a product or service. This usually happens by mistake, but it’s root cause stems from a company that has maybe done too great a job at marketing! Or maybe they just left a much larger impression on the public than previously expected.

Trademarks that can become genericized

To better define what I’m talking about, take the following list of brand names and ask yourself this question: Do I refer to every similar product by these names?

  • Kleenex® – The proper term for any facial tissue not made by Kleenex® is simply facial tissue.
  • Q-Tips® – Off brands are known as cotton swabs.
  • Xerox® – You didn’t make a “xerox” of something unless you did it on a Xerox® copy machine.
  • Adobe Photoshop® – People always attribute all photo editing as “photoshopping”, but this is incorrect. (Side note: I was reading an interesting page on Adobe’s own website outlining the proper usage of the term and all of their trademarks and it’s very specific.)
  • Band-Aid® – What else would you call it? That’s right, a bandage.
  • Blow Pop® – Not every sucker is one–just the ones made by Charms® which is now owned by Tootsie®.

I’m pretty sure you get the gist by now. So, what might happen if the brand name Google™ became a generic term for searching? If you really think about it, how many times a week do you tell someone to “google it” when they ask you something you don’t know? How many times a day even?!

I was watching an episode of the recently cancelled show, The Forgotten and in one of the scenes, they are searching Google™, but the logo was replaced with one of similar colors and simply titled ‘Web Search’. The rest of the page was google and it was clearly obvious. Ok fine, they didn’t want to pay for the use of the name, but…

In another scene, someone asks this woman how they got their information and she clearly says, “We googled it…” For anyone who knows anything about the trademarking process, you know that part of your responsibility as a trademark owner is to protect your brand and part of this protection is to ensure that it does not become a genericized term (as Adobe® outlines on their website above).

Trademarks that lost their trade value

To further clarify my point, here’s a list of some terms that were once valued trademarks:

  • Aspirin – Bayer® used to own this as one of their trademarks until it was declared generic.
  • Cellophane – Originally owned by DuPont®.
  • Dry ice – Believe it or not, the Dry Ice Corporation of America once owed this term!
  • Escalator – Once owned by the Otis Elevator Company.
  • Yo-Yo – Declared generic in 1965.
  • Laundromat – Once a proud brand, now a generic term for all coin-op laundry facilities.
  • Heroin – Another trademark taken from it’s original owner, Bayer®.

Whether these trademarks lost their “trade” value or not is open for debate, but what is clear is that each term has found it’s way into our very vocabulary. In fact, just looking at the list above, you may not have even known that these were once brand names.

All this talk about trademarks and losing them got me thinking about registering my own company name and logo for the sake of protection, but even then, nothing is guaranteed, right? At any rate, I bought a book on the subject and I must say, it has a wealth of information about all the ins and outs of trademarks and such. One of these days, I’ll actually get around to reading the step-by-step guide!

Ultimately, nobody can predict the future, but I ask again, what would the world be like if Google™ appeared in the dictionary without the capital G?

Busy weekend

I’ve been away from the computer for the majority of this weekend and even parts of last week were slow. I apologize for the delays in posts, but due to a hectic work week as well as a funeral I attended, my posts had been delayed.

I want to assure you that I have plenty of topics coming up this week and you can expect updates 1-2 times each day!

I’ll be going over such things as: WordPress plugins, more affiliate offers, blogging tips, more links and much more information!

Thanks for bearing with me…

Happy Anniversary Baby!

We officially got together on September 9th, 2009 and yes, the date was planned so we both would never forget. Could you: 09-09-09?

It’s been an interesting six months to say the least and I don’t mean that in a negative way at all! All relationships take work; work that can break one in half or make it last forever. Needless to say, we’ve had our ups and we’ve had our downs, but as strange as it is, our “downs” never really seem that bad. It makes me feel good to know that our relationship requires less work than most.

Maybe it’s our personalities or our insane desires to remain independent, but whatever it is, it works.

In honor of this day, I’d like to share with you my top ten list of things I love about my sweetheart:

Number 10

She’s an artist. Although she may disagree with my taste for art (or anybody’s for that matter), I think that she’s a wonderful artist with a skill that most people could only dream to possess. It’s hard to get her to give up an original and it’s even harder to get her to draw something you ask for, but that’s what makes it all the more special if she does do one (or two) just for you. Here is my favorite:

Number 9

She’s sociable. I have never met anyone who can strike a conversation with the most random of people (including one that goes by the name, Red Wolf). In fact, it was this trait that I mistook for flirting that got us into this predicament in the first place! One thing I have learned from this is that everyone out there has a story to tell and if you just open your ears, you might find something very interesting about that person and by sharing your own tales, you may actually find a decent friend.

Number 8

She’s independent. I can’t tell you how important it is for me to be with someone that is not going to be attached at the hip 24/7. I don’t know how people do it and I certainly don’t know how people can rely so much on someone else that they become an extension of themselves. It turns the relationship into a necessity that they can’t live without. For me, this relationship is a lesson in growth and not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for her.

Number 7

She’s not selfish. Everybody wants to feel important and because of this, it’s not hard to feel like you’re a little better than some of the people in your life. What’s worse is that you can be blinded by these feelings and end up taking more than you should. I’m a prime example of this. She, on the other hand doesn’t know the meaning of take. Even when people are taking from her, she still keeps on giving. And when you try to give it back, she just keeps on giving.

Number 6

She has a big heart. Although I haven’t gotten the full effect of this one, I can tell you that it’s there. She has an undeniable passion for the things she does in life and it’s never more prevalent than in the work she does. I’d advise anyone wishing to see what it means to love unconditionally, go visit the Biola University swimming pool during the summer weekdays.

Number 5

She loves family. This one is a combination of six and seven. She is hellbent on putting family first. If there’s one thing that upsets her most, it’s when people put their own wants and desires before those of their own children. She understands that life isn’t perfect and things don’t always go as well, so the willingness to lose a little in her own life to give 100% to her family is a daily mantra–and she doesn’t even have her own family yet. That says volumes.

Number 4

She has personal values. While the rest of us were caught in the vortex of the social pipeline, she was working on her future. While we all went out for the evening looking for a glimmer of excitement in the dim shadows of a local bistro, she was building her business. Does this make us less of a people? No, but it does say something about her. She found solace in the comfort of her own home and the friends at the gym. Her personal health is of great importance and it shows–in so many ways.

Number 3

She is trustworthy. I have never once been in a relationship where I can say, without a doubt, that I trust someone with my life. It’s a great feeling to know that no matter how bad things get, no matter how scary the future looks, you don’t have to worry about trust. She is also trusting. It’s hard when your significant other has friends of the opposite sex, but to be able to place trust and faith above small bouts of jealousy is an amazing feat. To be able to return the favor is even harder.

Number 2

She has a “nook”. This one’s of a more personal sentiment, but she has found a spot (on me) where she can place her head and effectively distance herself from the world and just be relaxed. She once said she could never fall asleep anywhere but her own bed, but I take great pride in knowing that this statement is no longer true when she gets in her nook.

Number 1

She’s with me. I’m nothing special. I often think about what I can offer the world and although I have a lot, there’s nothing really unique. Maybe I don’t have to be and maybe it doesn’t matter, but it does help the human ego when you can leave your mark in history. The point is, I did something to make her want to be with me and now, I just hope I can give her reasons to stay. With that said, I’m the luckiest guy alive to be with such a wonderful girl and nobody in the whole damn world can tell me otherwise.

What's the point?

It’s weird when you realize that things you used to do in the past are no longer exciting. Before, going out and having a few drinks was the thing to do–in fact, it was the “only” thing to do. Now, it feels more like a chore. Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of fun tonight riding around in a stretched Hummer and eating sushi up in Manhatten Beach, but once it was over, all I wanted to do was sleep.

Tomorrow is Saturday, so it’s not a matter of going to work the next day. I just don’t feel like doing this anymore (outside of a special occasion of course).

Maybe my girlfriend is on to something. She was never caught up in this “scene” and she never wonders what she has missed. She’s perfectly ok with how her life is and how she chooses to spend free time.

The point is I’m tired and I want to be sleeping in my bed. Maybe I just miss my girl.

Douchebag Drunk Driver

Last night I was about to go to sleep and I hear this really loud noise outside. I already knew what it was because every time there’s a loud noise coming from my neighborhood, it’s always a car accident. I’ve lived here over a year already and have seen four accidents near the major intersection behind my house. The intersection is Magnolia and McFadden.

At any rate, I ran out in the backyard and looked over the fence to see a very large van that had ran into a slightly smaller SUV. As near as I can figure, the SUV was just making a left turn as the van came barreling through the red light and hit the SUV right at the driver’s side.

As I’m looking at things unfolding and people getting out of their cars to help, I saw this guy start walking down McFadden toward my direction and he was yelling at someone. I couldn’t see who he was talking to until I saw another man walking under the street light also in my direction. Right then and there I realized what was happening.

The driver of the van was leaving the scene and in quite a hurry! He ended up crossing the street onto my side and I got the feeling that he was going to come down my block, so I ran through the house and out the front door. Sure enough, he was heading straight down my street and the other guy was quick to follow. Just to be sure, I asked the other guy if he was looking for that person and he said yes. I joined him and started walking toward the driver. He wouldn’t stop, so I finally shined a flashlight on him and told him to stop moving. He finally sat down on a wall in front of my neighbor’s house and we started to talk to him.

He began by saying how scared he was and that he left because he didn’t know what to do. His Spanish accent was so strong, I could barely understand what he was saying. I said to him, “You don’t have insurance, huh?!” and all he could mutter was that he wanted us to “work something out” with him. I couldn’t believe that he wanted us to potentially hide him or something! Unless he was also driving a stolen car, he would surely be found out by the DMV records.

We advised him that leaving the scene of the accident just makes things worse and that he needs to go back because he didn’t even know if the other driver was ok or not. I didn’t want to get more involved so I let the other guy walk him back, but I did notice that right as they rounded my corner, the cops pulled up!

I went back to my backyard and watched from over the fence again. The guy that was chasing after the driver walked back to the scene and as he did, he passed by me once again so I asked what was happening and he said they were arresting the driver and that he was really drunk.

There wasn’t much to see after this and I can at least say that the ambulance left without it’s sirens so we can probably assume that there weren’t any major injuries.

Official Countdown

It’s the official countdown to my final hour at Best Buy. I made a simple Flash counter that will keep reminding me how much time is left until my seven-year “career” at Best Buy is over and done with. I have nothing negative to say about Best Buy as a place to work and I’m truly going to miss a lot of people that I’ve worked with at the Fullerton store and others who have moved around the company. You know who you are.

It’s over. This next part is my simple story and some recollections from the past.

I’ve spent the last 7 years in and out of two Best Buy stores starting off as a seasonal digital camera sales rep wearing the blue shirt. I quickly moved up to the black shirt and found myself on the doorstep of my future career: information technology. I saw the birth of Geek Squad; well not the actual birth, but I was there when Best Buy bought them and converted their black shirts over to white button-ups and clip-on ties. I remember being excited for the prospect of branching our services out of the store and into people’s homes. I was already a manager at this point and was promptly given the opportunity to serve as one of the first wave of field agents, but a dark cloud was hovering over me: my horrible driving record. Even though everyone wanted to promote me, I was stuck because of this one thing. I ended up waiting it out and quickly became part of the second wave of agents. At this time I was able to add something new to my uniform; a shiny new badge and Agent #1828 was created. Among the other perks, I also got a free cell phone and a company car.

I worked my way up and up, gaining more and more knowledge and experience as the months passed. I then found a mentor of sorts who taught me more than I could have ever imagined while on the job. At this time, Geek Squad was a fun and exciting place to work. We didn’t know what we were doing because everything was so new and the details hadn’t been ironed out yet. We were literally inventing processes and procedures as we went along.

Of course, nothing lasts forever and sure enough, this time came for me. I was promoted into working specifically with small businesses and the management quickly changed. I feel less and less important in the jobs I did and the whole operation seemed to be more about money and less about the customer. We won’t go into that here, but needless to say, I was starting to feel burned out. In a bit of twisted irony, I lost my opportunity to work as a field agent once again to a tarnished driving record. It was at this time that I was placed back in the store doing what I used to do. A step backward actually turned into many steps forward. This was last February.

I began the search for a job and anyone who’s been looking through this economy will agree that it’s not easy, but they always say it’s easier to find a job when you already have one. I can say that although it took almost a year, I was able to find my ticket out. At first, I regretted having been placed back in the store, but at least one great thing came out of it: I met my girlfriend in that store and she’s been the best thing that ever happened to me.

With that said, things are going to be different from now on. The days are looking better and the feeling of growing up is getting stronger. 2010 is poised to be a great year and if I can help it, I plan to make it my best year yet.

I’d like to thank a few people that have helped me along the way. A few of these people still work for the company while some have moved on to bigger and better things.

  • Nathan Garcia — Thanks for everything you’ve taught me and the many ways you’ve helped me grow as a person.
  • Rich Hames — Thanks for always treating me with respect.
  • Bob Solkol — Thanks for giving me a chance to show everybody what I was capable of.
  • Tom Richards — Thanks for teaching me how to be a better leader.
  • Enrique Gomez — Thanks for always being there for me.
  • Britne Watson — Thanks for always having my back and letting me vent.
  • Henri Padilla — Thanks for helping me take care of business.
  • Scott Giles — Thanks for the interesting conversations.
  • Steve Castner — Thanks for being there when the crap hit the fan and for inspiring me to get out of the “black hole”.
  • The Geek Squad team at Fullerton — Thanks for welcoming me into your ‘family’ and treating me like one of the guys. Good luck to those that plan on leaving soon! And to Alice, thanks for the card!

I know I’m missing a bunch of names here, but you all know who you are! Thank you.

Leaving Best Buy

I remember about two years ago I started thinking about the day I would leave Best Buy. I used to wonder how it would feel and what I might say when the time came. I ran through a series of different ways it would go down and not one of them was a simple as the reality of it.

Little did I know on October 27th, 2002 that I would be at Best Buy for so long. I had gotten the job out of necessity during a time when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I had just left a job working at a grocery store and after starting at Best Buy, I quickly realized how much better it was. More importantly, I saw potential growth in my field of interest: computers.

I started as a seasonal sales rep for digital cameras. I was already impressive on my third day, as stated by one of my friends. I remember it like it was yesterday. He says to me after just teaching me how to do something, “You better slow down, man; you’re gonna make me look bad!” I’ve always had strong work ethics and I feel that if someone is paying me to do something, I better do it right and quick. It was already paying off.

I will admit that in the beginning, I didn’t know what my future held here. My main concern was getting through the Christmas season of 2002. Afterward, I got the news that I was staying onboard as a part time employee and I kept on selling those digital cameras! I was still young enough at this point to be caught up in the party scene and hanging out with my co-workers produced many friends in my contacts list. We also had a lot of great times.

Over the years, I’ve held various positions that eventually led me to becoming a Special Agent within the Geek Squad. I felt that I had found my calling and I was headed in the right direction with my “career” although I never intended on staying at Best Buy to satisfy it.

During this time, I was working as a field agent in a company car doing IT work for various clients. It was considered by some a dream job and even though it started out as one, it eventually took it’s toll. Retail politics, good people leaving the company, unruly clients and strange management hierarchies all helped to create a less-than-desirable workplace. It became less and less about the client and more and more about the money. Granted, a business needs profit to stay alive, but I don’t think they should go so far as to risk losing good customers as a result. Anyway, that’s another story!

I ended up working back in the store in February of 2009 due to some of this drama and it was then that I realized I was done. I needed to get out of there because I felt I wasn’t going to be able to reclaim my old position and not only that, but I didn’t think that even if I did that I would be helping my future much.

The job search began, but with the economy heading downward, it was glaringly obvious that this move wasn’t going to happen overnight. I eventually found that job and got it.

I am out of Best Buy come January 29th and it has been a long run! I was so happy to be able to walk in there and drop the news that I found a new job. I felt so liberated. I feel a little sad about leaving because its a comfort zone and I’ll be missing quite a few people, but I have so many memories to take with me.

This is a new chapter in my life and I can’t wait to see what happens next! The two best things that happened to me at Best Buy was the experience and friends I gained and the meeting my girlfriend.

Unfair business practice

As a computer user, I can usually separate scams from reality when dealing with things online. I  help people all day long that can never seem to figure out how they get viruses on their computer when they have an antivirus program running or how their FaceBook account was hacked, etc, etc.

Or they wonder why all of a sudden their getting spam and pop up windows telling them they need to purchase some software to fix the problems and then their credit card is now being charged weird amounts of money at random times. The first thing they blame is the computer, then usually the credit card companies and lastly, their email provider. Who they should be blaming are themselves.

This post is particularly interested in unfair business practices by some businesses to extort extra money out of people when it comes to services. In fact, most businesses don’t make much, if any profit on most of the products they sell, so they rely on services and other high-margin items to make up the difference.

One specific issue happens to be the way antivirus (and possibly other software makers) companies try to attach an “extended download” service to their customer’s shopping cart at checkout. Essentially this service claims to allow for the customer to be able to download their purchased software anytime within the time frame as defined by each company. What this implies is that when you purchase your software online, you can access the download for about 15-60 days, but if in the future you restore your computer or get a new one, you will NOT have access to the software in order to re-install it UNLESS you purchased the extended download service–this is simply NOT TRUE!

First of all, this sounds very illegal. If you purchase software, you are entitled to its use as defined by the user agreement and I have never ran into a user agreement that did not allow you to install the software on another computer provided that you removed it from the first one.

Anyway, back to my rant. Let’s clear something up while we’re at it. When you buy software, either online or from a store, you’re not actually buying the software (the disc, the download, zip file, etc.)–what you’re really purchasing is the license to use it and in order for them to verify your “legal usage”, they issue a product key. What this simply means is that you’re able to plug that product key into any matching version of that software.

In the case of antivirus software, if you bought a product key from a 2007 version of the software and have kept it renewed to this day, you do not need to go and purchase a new 2010 version to update your software; you just need to go download the 2010 version and use your key and voilà, you have a legal copy of the software. “But, how can I download the new software?!”, you ask. Well, I’ll tell you…

You can download the software by simply going to the manufacturer’s website and look in the support section. Some make it easy to find, some a little harder. If for some reason, you can’t find it, you can always download the trial version and just enter your full version key to unlock it.

What makes me sick is that they tack these charges onto your shopping cart automatically, so if you don’t catch it and remove it, you might mistakenly pay for it and this can cost anywhere from $4.99-$10. What makes it even more sickening is if you click on the “What is this?” link, you might see something like this:

When you purchase downloadable software from Symantec’s online store, Digital River, Symantec’s authorized online retailer, automatically grants you 60 days from the date of purchase to download your software order.

If you add Extended Download Service to your downloadable software purchase order, Digital River will keep a backup of all the software on your order for ONE YEAR. If you need to re-download your software, or access your Serial Key; it will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for ONE YEAR from the date of purchase by going to www.symantecstore.com/orderlookup.

This is the actual text from Symantec, the makers of Norton AntiVirus. If you read this, you might actually be worried that your software will only be available for 60 days! But how can this be if you’re able to go over to Norton.com right now and download the software? And what about storing your product key? For one, you can store it yourself on your own computer, but if you don’t, you’re able to access it from your Norton account over at www.MyNortonAccount.com at any time anyway–and you’re forced to setup this account when installing!

At least Kaspersky does it a little different. They charge you $9.95 for a backup cd. I still find this to be a rip off, but at least you’re getting something for your money. Also, when you buy this cd, it literally comes to you in a basic cardboard shipper and the disc is a poorly made CDR. It looks like someone made it at home with a crappy cd printer. At any rate, why do you need a backup cd when you can download your program anytime from their site? And when you have this download, you can make your own backup cd! Others that offer physical cds are McAfee ($12.95), AVG ($10.95) and Webroot ($8.95).

I just don’t understand why a company would participate in such a dishonest act. I know there’s an old saying that says “Never let a sucker keep his money.”, but is that how you want to imagine that corporations view the public?

Direct download links for the latest antivirus programs:

Congrats to Webroot as they are the only one from above that does not try and charge you for free downloads!

Lessons learned today:

  • No matter where or what you’re buying online, always, always, always review the entire contents of your shopping cart before submitting the payment.
  • Do not be suckered into purchasing “antivirus” software from popup windows or junk emails. Legitimate companies (if you can still call them that after reading the above) will not spam you for business.
  • Don’t believe the hype! Think logically.
  • Backup your downloads and product keys. They really don’t take up that much room.
  • If all else fails and/or you’re still worried, always buy your software from a retailer. Not only will you get the same price as online, but you will also be saving money by not having to buy that backup disc.

Vegas '10

I don’t remember the last time I went to Las Vegas, but given my many prior visits and the very short times between them, it has been a very long time since I’ve been there. Gone are the days where my friend and I would each get a free room at the Wynn in which we would acquire adjoining rooms to create our custom suite. Gone are the nights when we would buy a cheap box of Bud Light and walk down The Strip until we found a casino worthy of our monetary donations. And most of all, gone are the days of turning red under the sun while we became waterlogged in the pool.

A new Vegas experience emerged in this new year–maybe it was a turning of the times; a slowed economy, an over-saturated city littered with club after club or simply the over-rated “attractions” that seem to get more boring and dull over the years. Or maybe it was the dim realization that I’m just growing up.

For better or worse, Vegas is just not the same anymore. For the first time since I was too young to gamble, I went to this desert town to enjoy the sights and sounds. I cared less about what hot new club or bar I’d visit at night and cared even less about how much alcohol I could consume in one sitting. I laughed at the sea of cliché people that surrounded us–guys dressed to impress and hitting on girls that wanted nothing to do with them, girls dressed like hookers but not wanting any attention and the real hookers making a living among the crowds of people ranging in age from 10-65. As they say, only in Vegas.

We started our completely spontaneous adventure at 21:30 Friday night, arrived into town around 01:20 Saturday morning and made our first stop at an old friend’s house. It was here we enjoyed a warm climate and reminiscent conversation. We couldn’t stay long because he was on his way to sleep and we had business to tend to.

Our plan didn’t include a place to stay or any particulars throughout the trip. We hadn’t even planned the time we’d return home. All we knew is that we wanted to drink a little and gamble a lot. We drove to The Strip and landed at the Sahara in hopes to find $5 craps tables. We ended up playing some slots.

We were tired. Rather than stay up all night and day, we opted to sleep. This was where the fun began. If anyone has ever had to sleep in a Scion, you understand was a feat this is. It wasn’t enough that it was numbingly cold–it was also a small space and very uncomfortable. The time is about 04:30 Saturday morning and I’m trying to sleep fully clothed and covered only by a second shirt that I brought. At one point, I was laying in the shape of an ‘L’ and draped over the suitcases we had stacked in the back. Everything would have been fine if I had been able to keep my legs from losing circulation.

Somehow I fell asleep and woke up to sound of the song from Kill Bill Vol. 1 blaring from Nina’s iPhone alarm. The day was as normal as any day could be. We ate, met with friends and gambled a bit. The nighttime is what brought us an interesting adventure–it was the darker side of my roommate after being consumed by alcohol–yes, he did not consume the alcohol, but the other way around. We ended up at Bar at Times Square™ in the New York, New York hotel, but instead of paying a $10 cover, we stayed outside and enjoyed the free entertainment. I, myself was completely sober and wanting to go home having lost my gambling money. My roommate had other plans. He was to obliterate himself with tequila and Budweiser while becoming a quasi-celebrity on the thoroughfare by shaking hands, following girls, staring people down, throwing up ‘high-fives’ and dancing like a clown. I will admit, this was comical for a short period of time, but being sober, all this wore thin (very fast) on my patience.

Around 01:00 Sunday morning, I grew tired both physically and mentally and decided to retreat to the car to sleep until it was time to leave. Once there, I managed to brush my teeth using a cup of water obtained at the bar on my way out and laid down to sleep. Not more than thirty minutes after I left, I start getting phone calls from Nina telling me that I need to come help her with Chris because he’s become too drunk to handle himself and is starting to act out in ways that would upset the most liberal of people.

Once I got a hold of him, I moved him back to his car and put him inside to sleep. I went back and got Nina and thought about what to do. We were left with two options: one, stay and sleep a while or two, drive home. It was decided that we should leave. I was the only one that could drive because not only was I sober, but I was the only other one of our group that could handle driving a manual transmission. In reality, I’ve only driven a stick shift once in my life–about 4 years ago! I re-learned this process in the parking structure on the way out.

After getting on the 15 to head home and after finally finding 3rd gear, we were on our way home. The intention here was to make it home in time so Chris can get to work by 10:00 Sunday morning. At the rate I was headed, we were due by 06:30. I can tell you right now that driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk and I do not recommend it to anyone! I can’t say I completely remember the drive home, but I do remember falling in and out of reality, hallucinating and feeling like I was in a dream for the entire four hour drive.

We arrived at almost the exact time planned and I promptly went to sleep.

I took five pictures during the time we were there, which is a far cry from the hundreds I used to take and all five are of the new hotel, Aria. I can say that the next time I go to Vegas, it’s going to be simple. A nice hotel room, nice restaurants, a show or two and my beautiful girlfriend. I can say that I’m almost 28 and I no longer have an interest in finding out how many shots I can take without passing out.

A Most Awesome Christmas

Better late than never.

I wanted to tell the story of Christmas Eve 2009. For anyone following my previous FaceBook notes have read how I feel about the wonderful girl I’m dating and how very lucky I feel just to know her. Some people will go an entire lifetime having never known someone that they can trust completely and someone who they feel much respect from. I think this is unfortunate. I have to go on a small tangent here and say that I’m not sure why people settle for some things in life. Maybe it’s a job or it’s a living arrangement or simply a relationship. I hear more and more people complaining about the “problems” in their life, but then appear to do nothing to try and revert or remove these problems. This is especially true of relationships. I think people are impatient or feel like they can’t do better, so they make the best at what they have. Fortunately, I’ve never been this way and I vowed I would not settle for anything in life that does not make me happy.

Ok, moving on!

My girlfriend draws. She actually draws a lot and she’s very stingy about who gets her drawings, if anybody at all. In fact, she does maybe three drawings a week and I only possess two. Aside from that, she always asks me what she should draw next. For the longest time, I’ve asked her to draw a picture of Elvis for me and she always complained that it would be too hard to do.

Anyway, for Christmas, she brought over to my family’s house a really, really large box for my gift. I couldn’t begin to guess what it was. She wanted us to open our gifts in front of everyone, so we did. I opened this big box and found all sorts of things inside. All the little gifts were related to each other and they all had something to do with Elvis–some books, a cd, a dvd, coffee mug, etc. Then I unwrapped the large gift at the bottom and discovered this:

Elvis drawingI couldn’t speak a word, but everyone else thought it was absolutely amazing. I thought it was much more than that, but for the first time ever, I couldn’t say what I wanted to say and for the briefest of moments, time stood still. I couldn’t stop staring at it and at that moment I felt that feeling again. The one I felt the day I met her. It’s a feeling I can’t explain, but it’s similar to what I imagine winning the lottery would be like.

It is the best gift I’ve ever gotten.