G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

Archive for the ‘Other Stuff’ Category

I Want to Be: A Hot Dog Vendor

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Aaron and his hot dog cart, in downtown Baltimore

For the last couple of years, there has been a vendor that I see weekly, without fail, outside of my job.  Characterized by a colorful umbrella, and huge signs, Aaron has posted in the same area for years. Prior to that, his carts were seen on college campuses, and other government buildings.  Most of our conversations have surrounded music, or even different types of ways to top a hot dog (I prefer the “Coney Island” hot dog).  Recently, Aaron took a vacation to London (yes, London!), and before he left, I wanted to pick his brain about what would a person need to do, to become a hot dog vendor. Here’s what he shared:

  1. Location, Location, Location!: Aaron stated that to have successful customers, you must have a successful location.
  1. Plan EVERYTHING: Aaron says that he wanted to own a hot dog stand since college. While everyone was attending job fairs, he was writing down ideas, pricing information, marketing strategies, and scheduling.
  1. Do your research: Figure out what exactly you need for your vending license, what is the sales tax in your state, and requirements for selling food.
  1. Be prepared to fail: Aaron wanted everyone to know that “do not think that everything is going to work out. Have back up plans, and also, possess the ability to get knocked down, get up, and keep your focus on your goals.”

As always, thanks for reading.

Garry

P.S. If anyone, after reading this, starts their own hot dog cart business, could I get a hot dog named after me? Names like the “Big Garry”, or the “See.Plan.Do. dog” would work…right?

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

November 12, 2014 at 11:32 am

Stone Soup: A Letter of Thanks

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stone-soup-campbells

Months ago, I was online, and saw a great idea that would help out the community. They were called “blessing bags”, and they provided essential items (soap, snacks, toiletries etc.) to our homeless brothers and sisters.  So as I did previously, I put the word out, and again, the response was awesome! We were able to not only meet our expectations of the amount of “blessing bags”, but we exceeded it! We even had other various items to donate.  Again, here I am, simply saying thank you.

When I received the donations from some of you,  I often heard, “I wish I could donate more”. This reminds me of an awesome story, titled “Stone Soup”:

There once was a traveler who came to a small village, tired and weary from his long journey. The traveler did not have anything to eat and hoped that a friendly villager would be able to feed him. He came to the first house and knocked on the door. He asked the woman who answered if she could spare just a small bit of food as he had traveled a long journey and was very hungry. The woman replied, “I’m sorry I have nothing to give you. I can barely feed my own family.”

So the traveler went to another door and asked again. The answer was the same: “I have nothing to give you.” He went from door to door and each time was turned away. Undaunted, the traveler went to the village square, took a small tin cooking pot from his bag, filled it with water, started a fire and dropped a stone in the pot.

As he boiled the water, a passing villager stopped and asked him what he was doing. The traveler replied, “I’m making stone soup. Would you like to join me?” The villager said yes, and he asked if carrots were good in stone soup. “Sure,” said the traveler. The villager went home and returned with carrots from his garden to add to the boiling water.

Soon, another curious villager came by and was invited to join them. She went home and returned with some potatoes. A young boy passed by and soon joined the group, bringing his mother and dinner plates from their home.

In time, a crowd gathered with everyone offering their own favorite ingredient: mushrooms, onions, salt, black pepper, acorn, and squash. Everyone wanted to be part of the creation. Finally, the traveler removed the stone and declared, “The stone soup is ready!” And the whole community joined in a feast where there was none before.

While it may prove difficult for one person to take on a task, when the entire community gets involved, anything is possible. Any donation, whether big or small, is a blessing. I sincerely thank you for your donations, and adding to the pot.

Amazed,

Garry O’Neal

completed

P.S Here is the picture of the completed bags! We donated the female blessing bags to the House of Ruth, and the men blessing bags to the Helping Up Mission, both here in Baltimore, Maryland. You can also check out my Facebook page, CommUnity Action of Baltimore for upcoming community projects!

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

December 13, 2013 at 10:38 am

A Toast to the Fathers

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Here is a toast to YOU….big guy!

                I remember when I first found out when my wife and I were having a baby; the movie we watched when it was time to look at the test results, and what I said to myself when it read “positive”; “here we go”. I remember all of the things associated with the arrival of my son, the doctor visits, the strict list of approved meals/food that could be brought into the house, the endless runs to subway for their pizza- I remember it all.  I remember how I felt as the sonogram person (I’m pretty sure she has a fancy title, but, eh.) informed us that we would be having a son, and when the doctor informed us in March that a baby would be coming, I remember saying to myself “here we go”.

Now, a year and some change later, my son is a small computer; able to process what he does not want, or want within .00032 seconds, and effectively communicate with me in the same time. I already realize my son will be better than me, simply because we are supposed to be better than our parents, for our parents put in the hard work for that TO happen. My son has already been able to use sign language at 1 (I didn’t start till I was 3). All of my decisions are now geared toward his success; all my sacrifices, all of my efforts, and achievements are designed so that he can one day say “my dad did this, so I can too”. For the fathers/dads/daddy’s out there (not the “sperm donors”, or dudes who aren’t around- I’ll get to you in a minute), realize that in a family structure, the dad is pretty much like the offensive/defensive line in football: our job is an endless, time-consuming, daunting task- we protect and assist to make sure that the QB is protected. Yes, you will be beat up from time to time, undervalued, and not appreciated at times, but  we are responsible for making sure our children grow up to be productive. As you will see tomorrow on the social media networks, people will have a lot of negative stuff to say about the males who helped in the creation of their child, from issues of not being there, or not contributing financially, it will indeed be an onslaught of harsh comments. If you fall under the category of one of ones they will be talking about, fear not fellow brethren, for this isn’t the place to bash you. Realize you can start being a part of your child’s life today- sure, there will be some issues that you may have to overcome, but you’ve heard of the adage about the journey beginning with a single step haven’t you? Of course you have. So get back to it, your kid(s) need you.

So to my peeps who have been there from day 1, tomorrow is a special occasion, sure, it’s not momentous as Mother’s Day, so don’t worry about it. Realize that your homemade cards, gifts, and the hugs from your children are the real gifts. So, tomorrow, raise your glass and give a “Mazel Tov” for the fathers out there; because we got to get back to work. Enjoy your day. We earned it.

Garry O’Neal Jr., Dad

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

June 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Garry Does “X”

 

Hopefully you didn’t click on this link thinking you were gonna see this:

 

 

 

 

 

SO WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?

 

I have made a commitment to focus on my health, so I have decided to train using the popular exercise regimen P90X. If you are a fan of my blog , you see that I talk about making personal commitments to things that you want to do. I learned a lot when I went vegetarian for a while (click here for that story), and I think that in terms of my life, this is one thing that I have struggled with.

There is truth to the phrase, “it’s not what you eat, it’s what’s eating you”. I can be fully transparent and say that I have gained a lot of weight due to some things that have happened to me. As you will see, it’s easy to fall:

I remember when I went to Morgan State; I was in talks with the head coach, and he was  willing to give me a shot at walking on! Oh how I was ecstatic!! (even though they were like, 1-13, I didn’t give a damn, I was going to play!) It just seemed that my life was heading the way I dreamed! I MADE THE TEAM!! I was a walk-on, which means just that- I walked on, (no scholarship). I remember that when I started conditioning with the team, I was 250 lbs. Although the work was hard, I was happy.

Then, through some failed commitments, I was unable to stay. As a NCAA athlete, you can’t work, so I had to make a decision as to my future, and I had to support my family. I asked the coach if there was any way that I could get a scholarship and stay in a dorm. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. I remember that day; I remember walking towards the bus stop, tears in my eyes. For me, the dream was over.

That’s when the eating began. chicken boxes, and cheesesteaks, and restaurants, and all the other foods were what I liked. I still played ball, but I was also eating. I had sedimentary jobs, which really didn’t have a lot of movement, and that contributed as well. Fast-forward a couple of years, and I am almost 100lbs heavier than I was when I started college.

I realize now, I have turned into a bear; I sleep HARD (I’m talking about ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ). I snore, and I have a gut now. I realize that this isn’t the way to go. Yeah, Buddha had a round belly, and so does Santa, but can they just go out to the beach when they want? Nope.

One of the damning moments was when my wife and I were walking around shopping. We came across this fat guy in his truck, and what appeared to be his son playing on the sidewalk. Here was the conversation:

Fat Guy in the Truck: “Hey, come on over here”

Kid on sidewalk: *side eye*

Now, when I saw that brief glimpse of the kid giving his dad the side eye, I KNEW WHAT THAT MEANT! What I interpreted it as:

Fat Guy in the Truck: “Hey, come on over here”

Kid on sidewalk: Yeah, or what?  Your fat ass is NOT going to get out of that truck and DO anything about it”

 As a new parent, I understand how vital it is for your actions to support your words. My son will not hear me talk about how health is important, if he sees me smashing Chocolate Juniors constantly. (Let me pause here…Chocolate Juniors are the 5th best thing to happen to pastries….I’m just saying)

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

My goals for this change of lifestyle are to:

  • Lose at least 30 Lbs
  • Increase muscular tone
  • Increase Cardio endurance
  • Decrease body fat
  • Be able rip my shirt “Hulkamania-style” at any given moment for any reason. I’m talking like:
    • ‘What do you mean Superman couldn’t beat Batman?! *Rips shirt*
    • The price of gas is TOO DAMN HIGH *rips shirt*
    • Why can’t the red-haired girl at least go out on at least ONE date with Charlie Brown?!! *rips shirt*
    • “There’s a rip in my shirt” *rips shirt

 I don’t look at P90X as the savior to my issue. It’s merely just one of the tools I plan on using to help me along as far as getting into shape. I think that what happens is that most people use things like P90X, and don’t plan for the future. That is a set up. P90X is only meant for 90 days, 180 if you want to extend it I plan on using other exercise programs to work on strength, cardio, and conditioning.

SO WHEN DO YOU START?

My initial start date is 05/02/2011. By the time you read this, I will have already secured all the necessary items.

I plan on posting the “before” and “after” pictures once I am finished the 90 day program. I am really excited, and I look forward to taking it to another level! As always, thanks for reading.

 PS. My stomach texted me “f*ck you”…..I guess he knows too………..

 

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

April 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

The Decision: Who You REALLY Should be MAD With

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Tonight, most of us watched LeBron James play his former team in his former city which he just shitted on  “took his talents to South Beach”. Cleveland looked as though they were going to give LeBron the WORST heckling/taunting/booing/inappropriate chant fest EVER!( which they really didn’t, very disappointing) But when you really look at it, they were booing the wrong people. It wasn’t LeBron, or D-Wade, or even Bosh; the REAL people who should be booed, are the people who make up the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers!

 I know! Crazy right? But really, when you think about it, it is the Cav’s fault that he left. I’ll explain:

The NBA is a business a performance based business, and in that business, you are constantly changing; the NBA went from “Bad Boys” with the Pistons, to “Run and Gun” with the Suns.  Power forwards and Centers now shoot three-point shots, and even teams like the Clippers seem somewhat relevant.  The fact is, in order to be a winner, a team must make the necessary changes for success.  What happened was Cleveland did not look at it as a business, but more like a family. They used things like these to convince LeBron to stay:

 

 

What the front office SHOULD have been doing was finding out what it would take for him to stay, instead of singing and dancing. They should have been signing some real talent- not Mo Williams, or Jamison, or even Shaq (even though he one of my favorite players), but top 10 players. They also should have talked to him and asked him who HE wanted there; then, they could have at least made it difficult for him to leave, but they didn’t.

The lesson here is simple: do not use emotions to fix problems. IT DOESN’T WORK! What people need to do is getting to the root of issues, and solve them. If you are presented with problems, don’t sugarcoat!  If someone brings you a plate of dog crap with sprinkles, sparklers, and a bow——-it’s still CRAP!  This situation happened to Kobe previously. The mere MENTION of Kobe leaving sent L.A. into a frenzy! (I was going to book a flight just in time for “L.A. riots 2”, so I can get a 65’ flatscreen) You know what the Laker’s front office did? They changed things around! They got better players, and next thing you know—-POW! championship rings!! So when you have issues with people in your life, deal with them, before they deal with you…..As always, thanks for reading.  (Ps. If this was Michael Jordan, he would have scored 79 points…seriously) (p.p.s.  38 points is good too…)

Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

December 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm

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