Where is my break?

You are the glue that holds your routine together. You are the engine that gets you through the day. The course is charted and you are well on your way to the targeted destination. The engine becomes corrosive, the glue wears away, and the course seems like a horror movie side road along the woods. What happened?

A normal occurrence of being human is what happened. We can all try to go 110% everyday of our lives, but the cracks will eventually widen. Looking at time, from the perspective of scarcity, changes how we view this unit of measurement. Every minute we do not use to be productive is considered a waste. How does one define productivity? That word has a unique meaning for all of us.

A person relaxing on the beach is being productive just like the single mom working for minimum wage. The context for each is different, one of leisure and the other of work, yet both are fulfilling a need that will get them from point A to point B. I am not encouraging us to be lazy. We should always strive for 100% with the realization that sometimes this self imposed quota will not always be met. It is okay to step away from the course and take a pit stop. Go, check that engine! I sometimes feel the need to disconnect from my reality. This action keeps my needle from pointing at empty.

The trick is to follow the clues your body gives you. Did you snap on Bob the other day? Go take a nap! Is the laundry stocking up? Don’t neglect your personal hygiene! Is your engine creaking and sputtering before the day begins? Lower the intensity! We are only as good as we allow ourselves to be. The walls we put up have cracks, would it not be best to replace the bricks before they fall?

Others Go, But A Defensive Midfielder Stays

Defensive Midfield is a position made famous by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Patrick Viera, Claude Makalele, and Sergio Busquets. It’s withing the midfield, specifically in the back, where this position breaks up plays like a jackhammer on concrete. Throughout the years, tall, muscular, and hard hitting players with a touch of technique have taken that spot. Within the last six years an evolution of the spot has allowed small and technical players to take these spots away from the Vieras of the sport. I’m not saying that brute strength has left the sport. Physicality has transcended to a more technical style of contact.

A nimble DM will draw fouls and intercept passes with good positioning. Lionel Messi, while playing a different position, is able to draw fouls with his dribbles. It’s two distinct positions that follow the same concept. You slide in for a tackle to win the ball, and then what? That ball has to be passed forward to be distributed by the rest of the midfield. A DM not only wins the ball back, but has to be the eyes of the team. A quick pass or a long cross to the winger cutting inside can make a counter attack from a turnover. If not, at least you keep possession for your team.

What about the defensive in defensive midfielder Daniel? I’m only two paragraphs in and nowhere close to ending this post. In a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 formation, your defensive players pushing up to congest the midfield leave gaps. This results due to midfielders pushing up to increase the attacking options. You have two centerbacks attempting to cover the back line. When this occurs, the DM moves down and adds another body to the defensive line. When their team is defending, the DM is a shield for the back four. He is the first line of resistance to prevent a goal from bombarding the net. This will either be enough to recover the ball or give the defense enough time to organize themselves.

A DM is an essential cog in any of the popular tactics used today. I believe that having a midfielder stay behind the half line is the only way to achieve balance in modern football. Real Madrid has committed the mistake of selling their DM twice, and both times they have been left with an abundance of attacking players in the front, without a link to start transitions. These DM’s are an engine that is felt on all sides of the pitch. They are the one brick that makes a wall structurally sound. The wall collapses if it’s taken out.

Talk To Me Mundane

The mundane is a key part of our daily lives. We all have to brush our teeth and commute to work or school. We pass by the same buildings and see the same people begging for change. Does it have to be this way for everything? One part of our day that should be more dynamic is conversation. No, I’m not talking about complaints, small talk, or the same reminders we feel so obligated to repeat. What was the last book you read? What scene captured your attention? Was it a fiction novel? Who was the main character? These questions don’t require raging debates or academic style answers. They serve to perk our attention.

The sounds that escape our open mouths establish a connection with another person. We use speech to communicate our ideas and thoughts. Talking is an action that occurs everyday, and depending on the context, requires a range of concentration. Not being able to talk is, unfortunately, a possibility due to certain medical conditions that prevent the body from doing so in mental and physical ways. When these sounds become so establish in our head that we push them to background noise, I think a change is needed. Not engaging conversation directly is a breakdown of communication and it allows conversation to become one sided.

What calls for mundane talk? I would say it’s the act of preventing yourself from capturing the attention of others. Complaining is a huge turnoff for people because it underlines a commitment to not act. These people find more comfort in complaining than in actually resolving what is being complained about. It becomes an example of what I like to call passive communication. If you want to drive push people away, building a wall of complains will help you achieve this goal.

Anaconda Plan

The Anaconda Plan was constructed by General Winfield Scott to shut down Confederate naval and shipping capabilities. The Confederacy, without ports, was unable to import European munitions. Even with the surplus in cotton and switch to wool, a market for cotton still existed. It was a cotton for guns exchange. Trading opens up foreign relations, and if the Confederacy was to become a recognized nation, foreign allies were needed. 

The American Civil War was divided into two main fronts. The eastern front took place mainly in Virginia with the goal of capturing the Confederate capital of Richmond. The western front took place west of Virginia spanning from Kentucky to Texas. The battles of Fort Donelson, Port Royal, Baton Rouge, Mobile, and Vicksburg all had a naval presence. These cities or forts had to be captured in order to control the waterways that flowed through them. It would help split the Confederacy into geographical pieces. A tactic called divide and conquer comes to mind, The Union was seeking to control the Mississippi River, Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico to use as transport lines for their armies. This was the result of them doing the invading and the Confederacy fighting a defensive war.

Like an anaconda, the hybrid force of the Union offensive was to snake though the water routes and squeeze the Confederacy tight. A major aim was to cripple the southern economy in the form of scarcity. Not allowing imports and crippling manufacturing would cause desperation among the people. We all have to feed our stomachs. You cannot have soldiers marching without anything in their stomachs. It can be argued that the forces guarding some of these locations could have been put to better use reinforcing the main armies of Northern Virginia and Tennessee. Your forces being cut up like that and losing routes limits transportation, which was a key interest in this war.

The massive casualties in battles like Antietam (where a lot of troops were lost in a single day), Gettysburg, and Fredericksburg (pointless Union assault of a fortified field) suggests that whoever had superior manpower would triumph over the other. Both sides needed constant reinforcements to their massive armies. Yet, both civilians and soldiers need supplies. Taking away water access imposes a barrier to this need. Many factors go together to make up a complexity like this. Take one away and it comes tumbling down like a wall.

  • I will publish one more article to make up for last week

Make A List

Think, Write. Remember. Three words that I didn’t pull out at random. These words come together to put a name on the actions we do when we make a list. What is a list? A list, according to me, would be a platform that stores our thoughts for later access. It would be laughable to think that our brains would store every thought we ever incurred. Have you ever had a random thought or memory come to you at an odd moment?

Like a booger getting cozy in your nose, these random memories or thoughts pick at you until you address them. We don’t always have the ability to recall things whenever we want. That is why students take notes and we take pictures of our trips. A list organizes your thoughts in whatever way you want because you are in control. The content and how to implement it on a list is left to you. Are you going out for groceries? Make a list? Do you have chores that need to be done today? Yes, make a list!

I probably have a pile of them hidden in a drawer. Those old lists, compiled with the crumpled ones currently sitting on my stack of books, motivates me to get things done. A completed chore means one more item I get to cross of my list. It becomes a game with a clear way to win. The crossing of every item on the list ensures that victory becomes yours. Who doesn’t like winning? I know i do!

No excuses, heck, technology provides us with apps and software to make lists. No more stressing out your fingers over a pencil grip or wasting candy money on a notebook (What you eat is your decision). All you need is a data plan or an internet connection. By comparing both examples, access to the internet is more costly than a notebook. If you are a techie, man I dislike that word, going this route fits your preference. Each item you cross out is a building block to a wall of fortitude you are building for yourself. Go on, make a list! 

1/2 UEFA Supercup Please!

This UEFA Supercup lit up to a very entertaining start. Preseason rust still lingered in the air, among new players Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, but the movements are there. James had a very good play where he ends up on the wing, after switching with Christiano Ronaldo, to create a wonderful dipping cross to Gareth Bale. Later in the first half, he failed to clear a cross in his own half. This almost gifted Sevilla FC a goal. Iker Casillas prevented this from happening. On that note, he is looking very composed this first half. What decline? The competition between him and Keylor Navas will slow done the decline of Casillas due to age and a rotation policy that has him playing the cup matches. James’s passes have been both good and bad from my point of view. This will be nothing to be alarmed about because more games will ensure he develops an understanding with his teammates.

Toni Kroos has been dictating play like a summer dress does to my eyes throughout this game. He decides in what sector the ball will be. The teams attacking movements shape up based on his composure with the ball. Granted, he had a passed blocked, and a few long passes cleared. He is a good acquisition for Real Madrid and you get the impression he was needed. Daniel Carvajal has been the weak link in this game. An assumed finger wag will be needed in the locker room after his performance! On the opposite side, left back Fabio Coentrao, has ran up and down the sideline providing depth in the attack by being another option. His link up with Ronaldo and good crossing are an extra topping on the pizza.

Denis Saurezwas the bright spot for Sevilla FC. Going from Barcelona B to a two year loan at his current club doesn’t seem to faze him. It didn’t show in this game as he was making runs forward and giving solid passes to his teammates from the flanks. It shows that he has honed his craft at Barcelona. We have seen world class players make their current team debuts and Ronaldo has scored a wonderful go to make this game 1-0 for Real Madrid. However, the rumblings of my stomach will cause my analysis to end here. The begging in my gut leads me on an adventure to consume different snacks that will lead to wall of satisfaction once they all dissolve together in my stomach. Good day.

  • UEFA = Governing body of European football
  • Real Madrid (current Copa del Rey, Champions League, and UEFA Supercup holders) are a Spanish team
  • Sevilla (Europa League holders) are a Spanish team
  • Results ended up being Real Madrid 2 Sevilla 0
  • April WaffleCone and Ted Nyguyen from my Unlocking Time post are fictional characters I made up.

Unlocking Time

We are all running against the time trying to keep ourselves healthy, getting important stuff done, and mixing fun throughout our day. Going to work, getting to class, all take more importance over a season one marathon¬† of your favorite television show. The three things I listed in the first sentence are the trifecta of our day. Where does that leave learning new skills? What time can we set aside to learn these skills? I’m not a wizard who can bend time to his will or a doctor in a telephone booth. I can tell you that the answer to both questions lie in ourselves.

We all know our schedules and time commitments. Hell, I put off writing this post for a few days. Not a smart move, if I say so myself. How many times do we (myself included) complain that time is lacking? “I want to finish that book, but it’s already time for bed”, said April WaffleCone. “No time to touch my guitar”, points out Ted Nyguyen. All of this complaining can be fixed. Complaining is healthy, but no one wants to hear it… not even you.

Fifteen minutes, or whatever time you can spare, is all it takes to start. We all have five minutes laying here and there. All those small increments of time add up throughout the week. We can shorten the morning routine by picking out outfits the night before. If coffee is your thing, have it set to go before you wake up. I’ve read of business people who sleep less than normal to make a whole day of extra time each week!

Time, we have, yet it’s used on wasteful activities. Time, like bricks add up over time. A wall is what forms when combined.