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  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 6

    "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth." - Muhammad Ali

    Those of you who have ever taken a Psychology class have undoubtedly heard of  Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of basic human needs, and for most people, even in this turbulent economy, basic physiological needs like food, clothing and shelter are things we take for granted. If you haven't heard of him, here is the quick and dirty compliments of Wikipedia.

    It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth. The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met.

    The reason I bring this guy up is because I think most people in this country often take for granted even the simplest things that some other people don't have. I know I do and every now and then I'm reminded of that. Such was the case Saturday night. I was invited to attend the Denver Kids Charity event at the Wine Loft in Denver. The purpose of this event was to simply raise money for high risk kids needing transportation to and from school.

    Of course the Denver Kids group does so much more than just provided transportation. Their mentor programs and academic counselor programs serve the needs of over 800 at risk students in the Denver Public School System.

    Their mission is to improve the lives of the kids they work with today and prepare them to be successful in the future. The Denver Kids group takes on some of the toughest challenges facing today's kids and they do it 365 days a year. For one night I got to be a part of their mission and it was an honor.

    This event was co-organized by a remarkable group of woman who took time out of their personal lives too give back to their community. Jen A., Jen M., Brooke, Sandra and Tami - You guys ROCK!

    The night was huge success.  The drinks and food provided by the Wine Loft was amazing, especially the baked brie. I got to spend some time in the company of old friends and even made some new ones.

    And as the night wore on into the wee hours of the morning and the party slowly died, hopefully we all went our separate ways knowing how lucky we all were and how much it means to acknowledge that luck by spending just a small amount of time in the service of others. Now that's AWESOME!!

  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 5

    Robert Burns once wrote "The best laid plans of mice and me often go astray," as a way of talking about how discombobulated things can get in a quick hurry. We have all probably had those days where for whatever reason, one simple things starts a downward spiral and redeeming your original plan for your day is impossible.

    Day 5 was a lot like that for me and I found that my best laid plans went out the window at about 6:30 am. Not that this is a bad thing but when it comes to the task of making a full 30 consecutive days awesome, it can be a bit challenging. The weather would not cooperate for a bike ride or water skiing, (not that it has all summer here in CO) conference calls got moved around all day long messing up the schedule and trying to finalize travel plans to Dubai without an assistant is a headache at best.

    In spite of all that though, I was able to help a good friend move some furniture, spend some time with my nephew (he's not really my nephew but a good friends kid) and there is always something about seeing a two year old laugh and smile that will brighten your day, and finally it looks like the Hydropolis Hotel in Dubai might be ready  for my trip out there.This place is a 220 room submarine luxury hotel and looks amazing.

    So back to the best laid plans. Sometimes it's just impossible to get everything done in a day that you originally set out to so the trick for me yesterday was to take pleasure in the simple things, like helping a friend or making a child laugh.

    Instead of spending time outside like I wanted to on the trail or in the lake, I ended up closing out the night with a great book. For those of you out there who have read any of Clive Cussler's books you know they are a great deal of fun to read. The Dirk Pitt series is absolutely fantastic. I finished rereading Atlantis Found, the book that got me addicted to Clive Cussler so many years ago. I won't bore you all with details of the book but if you get a chance go read some of his work. The man is a master at entertaining readers from page 1 all the way through to the end.

    So there it is ladies and gentlemen, and if you are disappointed with today's level of awesome then I humbly apologize and promise that this weekend will be much more entertaining. In the meantime, get out there and enjoy yourselves and tell me about it. We still have the contest going for 25 Vitalyte Stick Packs to the best post for the day.

    For those of you who live in Colorado, or those looking for a last minute getaway, check out the link below. I will be attending the Denver Kids Charity Benefit Saturday night at the Wine Loft.

    One of the biggest problems facing DKI is the ability to simply get the kids into the classroom, so the funds raised at Wine Loft will provide the money needed for transportation (bus passes and tokens) to help middle school and high school students get to school every day. Hope to see you all there.

  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 4

    A few housekeeping items first. Starting today we will be awarding 25 assorted Vitalyte Stick Packs a day to the best 30 Days of Awesome blog as determined by the Vitalyte executive staff. Send them in!.

    Google Talk

    I am certainly one of those guys who doesn't stay up on the latest technology. I have a Blackberry which is awesome for e-mail and making phone calls and that's about all I need my phone for. Basically I am bit of a techno simpleton so when Vitalyte's VP of Ops recommended I use Google Talk to facilitate a call to Northern Africa with one of my clients I was a little reluctant. I tried it and WOW, that was awesome. Over an hour on the phone to someone in Africa with crystal clear reception and it didn't cast a dime. That's cool.  Maybe I should read a Wired magazine once in a while.

    Chatfield Recovery Expedition

    Anyone who has spent a great deal of time in the foothills of Colorado knows that it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Denver sits in a valley just east of the Rocky Mountains and for those who enjoy an active lifestyle, there is always something to do. Whether you like camping, hiking, biking, fishing or any of the multitude of activities, Denver is really an outdoor paradise, unless of course you are an avid wakeboarder or waterskiier. Nevertheless we who enjoy those kind of water sports venture out to the so called lakes surrounding Denver to try and get in our choppy runs when we can, usually on nights and weekends. Having been doing this for a number of years, I have noticed that every person I have been on the boat with has lost at least one pair of nice sunglasses, if not more. Being an avid scuba diver, it also difficult to do any real diving in CO so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone and try diving to recover lost sunglasses.

    The adventure was a complete failure. My good friend Brian and I spent over two hours submerged in the murky waters of Chatfield Resevoir, and even with dive lights couldn't see more than 3 to 4 inches. The muck bottom of the reservoir made it impossible to see, so looking for anything was the equivalent of a blind man looking for a needle in a stack of needles.  Recently I watched a TV program about man eating catfish in the depths of murky lakes around the world and fumbling blindly through the water produced visions of a 400 pound catfish waiting patiently to enjoy me as dinner and Brian as dessert.

    Luckily we both survived and with nothing to show for our time in the water, we sat on the platform of the boat with a cold beer and laughed at ourselves. I have always argued that life is the sum of our experiences, good or bad, and even when things don't go according to plan, the ability to sit around after a failed attempt at something with a cold beer and a great friend and know that you'll have a story to tell for years to come is one of the greatest things.Plus I got to see Brain trying to feed a goose a cheeto out of his mouth, that alone was worth the trip.

    In the end we put away the dive gear, pulled out the wakeboard gear and Brian landed his first 180 of the season. Awesome Day!

  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 3

    First things First...

    When I first heard about the idea of "30 Days of Awesome" from Lesley Betts up in Breckenridge I thought it would be easy. Basically just write down what I did every day. The problem with my thinking is that it takes real effort to complete a challenge like this, especially in the way that Lesley did. I have included a link to her original "30 Days" blog as a way to pay homage to our ambassador of awesome. Take a look and see what kind of dedication it takes to make the most of every day.

    Of course there are always things that get in the way of having fun, we all have responsibilities, kids, carpools, mortgage payments, all the things that we can use on a daily basis as an excuse to keep us from not having an awesome time. The trick, in my opinion, is to find the things that you want to do and make it a point every day to take some time for yourself and do them. I know that sounds like a quote strait from a self help book but it's not. It's a call to action. Go have some fun, find something you are passionate about and do it.

    http://leftwithnothing.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/30daysofawesome-day-30/

    Now onto today's blog:

    Sometimes Awesome doesn't hurt.

    Since I started my quest for 30 Days of Awesome I have tried to cram as much physical exertion as I could into the last couple of days. My body needed a break so it was off to the movies instead of mountain biking or wakeboarding, which will most likely follow in the next couple of days.

    I'm not a movie critic but I am a huge fan of the cinema. In the waning years of my grandfathers life, when he was renderd mostly immobile by Parkinson's disease, he passed the time watching movies with his grandson. I know my love of the cinema grew out of our time together and even though he has been gone for almost fifteen years, I always wonder what his view of some of the movies I see today would be.

    Last night I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince with Tami and I have to say it was Awesome. Being an avid reader it took me a long time to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon but once I did I understood the magic of J.K. Rowling's work. She has a gift and regardless of what you think of the books, one can't deny that she is one of the best authors to come onto the scene in a very long while.

    It's a rare occasion when Hollywood is able to present to the public a movie that is even comparable to the written work, and in the case of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I would say they fell way short again. That's not to say that Hollywood didn't put together a great movie, it's just to say that there is no way to adapt a book like hers and keep a fan of that book happy with a finished onscreen product.

    The movie was still a great experience and after a hard couple days, it was a much needed break. I highly encourage you avid readers to check it out and let me know what your thoughts. Also, remember to read Lesley's blog for if I can't inspire you to start your own 30 Day quest, I know she can.

  • 30 Days of Awesome - Day 2

    Sometimes awesome hurts!!

    I have always done my very best to stay in shape. I don't necessarily follow a strict work out routine but lean more towards the Matthew McConaughey philosophy of simply finding a way to work up a sweat every day. Part of the fun of living an active life is finding new ways to do that, so when I was offered a free class at LA Boxing's new club in Denver I jumped at the chance, and wow am I paying for it today.

    La Boxing boasts that each class can burn up to 1000 calories through a combination of bag work, punching, kicking, heavy ab work and stretching. I can't comment on the number of calories I burned but I would have to say that I lost at least 6 pounds of water weight, two of which came from me crying like a baby after the class (just kidding).

    We all have fitness goals, or we all should anyway. LA Boxing is a great class for people looking to take those goals to the next level. The high intensity class is fun, challenging and most importantly not boring. Check them out online to sign up for their free class and let me know what you think.

    By the way, this is not some shameless plug for another company. Part of my 30 Days is to hopefully inspire as many people as I can to get outside, or in a gym and enjoy the rest of summer by being active and having fun.

    For those of you not wanting to post on a blog please feel free to catch me on Facebook.

  • 30 days of Awesome - Day 1

    Two mystery clues, six challenges, 30 miles and in the end, a big party with lots and lots of beer. This is New Belgium’s Urban Assault, the biggest bike scavenger hunt series in the world, and I was there competing. Tami Monaghan, a seasoned biker, graciously agreed to compete with me in the co-ed division of the 2009 Urban Assault as part of Team Vitalyte, which despite my lack of preparation, did very well. A week prior to the race, a quiz was sent out to all Team's and the scoring of that quiz determined starting order. I didn't take the quiz so we started at the end. Of course, prior to starting the race there are things one should do, something I quickly realized upon getting to the pre-race event in the morning and seeing all of the competitors with their trail maps outlining their prospective routes throughout the city to optimize efficiency.

    A crossword puzzle on the website held the key to the location of the first mystery clue. The night before the race I did the crossword and discovered the location which I quickly plugged into the computer along with all the other stops and hit "optimize". The computer spat out a highlighted route which upon examination, looked perfect. I e-mailed the route to my Blackberry and with a smile, congratulated myself on a truly efficient and perhaps, new and improved, way of optimizing bicycle routes for just such an event.

    Two things were ultimately wrong with this simple efficiency pick up. Those of you who are bikers already know one of my mistakes which I will get to in a second, the other issues is one I will have to take up with my IT department. Supposedly, my network e-mail server decided to sync with my Blackberry to conserve space and took all the e-mails on the blackberry and archived them to my desktop Outlook. So I show up to the race ready to amaze the masses with my new idea and no e-mail, which of course means no route, which means I don't know where the heck I'm suppose to go. This brings me back to the other issue which almost makes the 1st one mute. Traditional software packages that create routes for driving don't use approved "bike trails" and roads to create those routes, so all my work the night before probably would have been useless anyway.

    Vitalyte Tip: In a bike race where you have to create your own route, buy a bike trail map.

    Luckily we paired up with a team that was gracious enough to let us tag along. The race began at 9:00 am. We decided to make our first stop the mystery clue where we had to decipher a puzzle coded in numbers which would tell us the location of the second mystery stop. After decoding the clue which told us to go to a swimming pool, we took off for the farthest location on our map. Here Tami and I had to compete in a three legged race to get our bead (a clearance piece for each stop) before heading off to the pool. Once there, we had to strip down to whatever we could and still be family friendly, swim the length of the pool and collect another bead from a woman whose sole job this race was to sit in a tube and hand out beads. (Not a bad way to spend a Sunday)

    From there it was a bike trip back to the other side of Denver. This obstacle required me to where a basket with a hole cut out on my head so Tami could throw wet sponges at me which I had to catch in the basket. Looking back I would have to say that she seemed to enjoy this one a little more than she should.

    Three obstacles down, three to go. Luckily the final three were all in close proximity to each other and the finish line. So after riding a log ride at Six Flags, sitting on a skateboard and using a plunger to propel ourselves around a course collecting beer cans,  a ring toss at the Rio, and a grand prix race course on a little kids tricycle, we crossed the finish line a little more than three hours later.

    The finish area was a giant party, with beer, games, and the general fun that comes when a large group of people get together for such an event. I met up with some friends, old and new, traded war stories from the road and had a great afternoon knowing that I had completed my first bike race, already looking forward to the next one.

    30 Days of Awesome might mean something different for each person. For me it is about the daily commitment to have fun, meet new people and experience things that I haven’t before. I didn't place first or win any medals but I had a blast at this event and that, after all,  is what 30 Days of Awesome is all about.

  • 30 Days of Awesome

    There is this long standing tradition across the country to make an extensive list of resolutions towards the end of the year, implement those resolutions in the New Year, and completely give up or forget about them by February or March. I have often wondered why New Years resolutions fail for most people. Is it because we attempt to make changes in our lives that are to difficult, to far reaching? I would argue that is not the case. Heck, history is full of stories of the unyielding power of the human spirit so why is a simple resolution to loose 15 pounds or stop drinking such a difficult thing for most? My guess is simply that most resolutions are not fun. I believe that human beings intuitively seek out fun in their lives and the idea of a resolution, which for the most part usually involves giving up something, is counter intuitive. Of course this has just been my observation with no supporting data to back it up except my own experience, which is why I gave up on New Year’s resolutions years ago. On a recent vacation in Breckenridge, CO I had the pleasure of meeting a woman who changed my idea about the nature of such resolutions. Lesley Betts and her boyfriend Sean, at least to the best of my knowledge, are credited with creating the “30 days of Awesome.” Their rules are simple. Embark on a consecutive 30 day quest for awesomeness and write about, photograph it, let the world know. And so their idea and their rules paved the way for the Vitalyte 30 Days of Awesome Campaign. Before I get to the idea and rules behind that campaign I want to thank Lesley and Sean for creating such a fantastic idea, for letting me borrow that idea, and for, in their own way, inspiring me to embark on my own journey. It is my hope that my journey will inspire others and that the karmic payback for Lesley and Sean will be a whole lifetime of awesome.

    On to the rules of the Vitalyte 30 Days of Awesome. I have agreed to be the guinea pig for this little adventure of ours and so I encourage you, avid reader, to check back daily for my latest post about my quest for 30 Days of Awesome. Feel free to post your comments (be nice), ask questions and for those who are daring enough, begin your own 30 day journey. Who knows, there might be a Vitalyte contest in the works with cool prizes. So go out and do something awesome everyday and write about, take pictures (preferably with your Vitalyte Water Bottle, there was my shameless Vitalyte pitch in case you didn’t catch it), tell your friends. The goal for me as an executive of this company is not to jam some ridiculous sales strategy down your throat but to inspire you all to begin your own journey and hope that you take Vitalyte along for the ride. Go out and do something you have always wanted to do, try new things and most of all have some fun. And if by chance you see some tall dark and handsome guy in a Vitalyte shirt (hey my grandmother always called me that so I can say it), try to keep up cause tag, you’re it!

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