Friday, August 31, 2007

in some twisted way, the planets must be aligned

...or maybe it was just that they were yesterday, and they might not be anymore, or maybe it's karma. Who knows.

Things just came together for a while. The fund raising effort reached $2,500 for the MS Bike Ride. I remember, when I agreed to ride, a thousand dollars seemed like it would be a stretch. Now I'm looking for ways to hit three thousand before it's all said and done. Yeah I'm amazed, and grateful, that we got this far. That doesn't mean it's time to stop though. The ride is still a month away.

Played golf last night, and actually played decent. I also had a very good partner, which helped a lot. He lost it a few times though, and when he did, I managed to pull us through. He's the one who put a couple approach shots inside five feet of the cup, which gave us a few birdies, but I made sure when he didn't do so well, our score didn't suffer too much. Bottom line, we won. It was the first time I won the employee golf thing in a few ya gotta like that.

Now, the forecast for the weekend is rain...then some rain...and after that...rain. If it can just let up for a few hours tomorrow morning, so I can bike ride, karma will do just about everything I can ask for.

well no...there's some multi-state Mega Millions lottery thing that I gave someone money for. They road tripped to Georgia last night for our collective tickets. If we hit on that thing, then karma will be just about everything I can ask for. I'm not holding my breath on this one though.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

who says ya can't do it all

After whining yesterday about not being able to work out, I came home from work yesterday to...already baked brownies. After dinner, we packaged them up. Incompetence does have its advantages, as the wife did the actual packaging after watching me do two of them. I was shoved into 'just put them in the box' detail.

We were done by 7:30 though, so I changed and went to sweat for a few hours, Life is good!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

we interrupt our regularly scheduled workout

I'm getting a tad frustrated. In a world where it's supposed to be all about me, I'm not getting to do the things I ought to be doing.

I usually work out 2 to 3 times a week, and bike Saturday morning. More often than not, that means two times, but I can occasionally work in a third. Last week I got to work out Monday, but that was it. I wanted to Wednesday, but we had to eat out because of an electrical issue in our kitchen. Thursday night was golf (which I had to play because I was running the employee golf show) and Friday we had company. This week I made it Monday, but tomorrow our MS Bike Team is having a bake sale. The wife and youngster have graciously offered to help me with that (because I am a walking kitchen disaster), but I can't exactly say, "OK, you guys got my bake sale thing handled. I'm off to work out." No, that wouldn't go I won't work out tonight. Instead I will package fat pills, made by the wife and youngster, for sale at work. Tomorrow, again, I'm running employee golf, so I'll be real workout there. I hate working out the night before I ride, and I will ride Saturday, not Friday night either.

So many little time. Next week though...I'm getting to the gym, dammit. Maybe I'm being selfish with my time, but I really fear letting everyting I've done in the way of getting healthy go down the tubes, and I have a major bike ride coming all too soon.

Yeah, as much as I may be getting prepared, it's still a bit scary.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the sense of wonder

I took the dog out this morning well before the sun came up, which afforded me an excellent view of the lunar I scooped poop. The timing was perfect. I didn't have to do anything preparation. Of course, I figured as much yesterday when I heard it was going to happen. I thought, I ought to be out with the dog about then, and I was. I just went about my daily routine and there it was to greet my morning.

I almost missed the purpose of my being there in the first place, staring up at the beauty in the sky. Not to worry, though. We left no neighbor's yard messier than we found it.

What surprised me though was the youngster's reaction. When I came in the house with the dog, he was toasting a bagel and I said, "Hey, the lunar eclipse is out there. You can see it over the back yard."


"Well, are you going to look? It's a no effort thing. Just walk out and it's there."

"I'm OK, dad."

So I explained what was happening, and how cool it looks out there, and he gave me this look like....if I go outside and see the thing, will you please drop it? He went out, looked at it and...

"I saw it. Can I go eat breakfast, now?"

Sometimes I think this world of video games and movie special effects has just sucked the sense of wonder out of our kids. Really impressive, beautiful stuff garners less than a yawn. When that's the reaction I get from a lunar eclipse, I can't help but feel like the youngster's been robbed by technology. It's kinda like the Toyota commercial where the father spends three weeks building his kid a tree house, and the boy would rather hang in their minivan because it has leather seats and a DVD player. You're a boy with a tree house, and you'd rather play cards in a minivan? What's happening to our kids?


Monday, August 27, 2007

on the good side - breakin' 'em in slow

Over the weekend I got a call from one of the guys who says he wants to try the MS150 next year, and wants to start riding with me. He just got a road bike, and he's rarin' to go.

I told him we'd start in October. Right now I'm never leaving the house planning on doing less than 50 miles, and I know he's not ready for that. He said, "It's OK. If we go for a while and I have to turn around and go home, I'll just do that." So I said, "OK, Sunday morning at 7:00?" He balked. Too early. Well, unless you want to do it in the heat of the afternoon, that's when it happens.

Still, when I planned on doing 20 miles Sunday night, I called him. I said...we can do something smaller, like 15-20 miles, and he was in. After dinner, it was drizzling out, and I thought...I don't know if I want to go, but it's worth a try. I pedaled over to his house, and we looked at the sky for a bit. In the end, I took him about 8 miles at 16 miles an hour. Then the rain got miserable and we quit. We also quit because he was pretty much worn out. So, I guess it's a good thing we didn't try anything more. At first that sounds pretty lame, but I remember back to March when I started. We went about 15 miles the first day, but we were going a bit 10-12 miles an hour, and it was a beautiful morning. Considering I got him out in miserable weather to do 8 miles at 16 mph, it's not a bad start.


maybe I'm supposed to slow down

It was kind-of a blah weekend.

The wife and I went to a class Saturday morning. It's required if you're going to volunteer at the youngster's school in any capacity that involves contact with kids. Since volunteering in itself is required, you pretty much have to take the course, or be very selective in how you volunteer. We have a hard enough time carving out the time to do what's required, let alone weeding out any opportunities that involve direct contact with we went. It was basically about sexual abuse..the warning signs to look for in suspicious adults and the warning signs in kids that may lead one to believe they may have been abused. All in all, worth the time.

After that, it was pretty much a weekend spent in frustration. Went shopping for some things, but nobody had what we neded. It's now on order though. Went out to dinner at a bar-b-que chain in J'ville. Usually pretty good, but the one we went to had marginal food and bad service. We left checking that place off the list of future dining experiences. Sunday morning I gopt up early and started biking...37 miles later...flat tire. Got it fixed and thought I'd try to get in another 20 miles after rained.

In between all that, I grilled Sunday dinner...a turkey breast that came out awesome. That goes to show, even in a frustrating weekend, I'll pull something good out of my hat.


Friday, August 24, 2007

and speaking of coming through in the clutch, where's Brady Quinn?

The Jaguars were involved in a preseason game last night in Green Bay. I hesitate to use the word "played" because altough the score says they won, I'm not sure they actually played the game.

I was so hoping Byron Leftwich would show up and play. I wanted him to silence the critics and stop worrying about the naysayersand go out and show us all why he's the starting quarterback of the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn't even come close. Now the Jaguar Nation is calling for....David Garrard, who looked good last night, albeit against lesser talent. The thing is, I watched him play regular season games last year and I know...he isn't the answer either. I hate being a glass-half-empty guy and I keep hoping for a ray of sunchine. I'm finally to the point where I don't thing either of these guys are capabe of giving me that.

Why...oh why did we not draft Brady Quinn when we had the chance? He may not be the answer either, but if he was here, at least I'd have some hope. At least I could look to him and say, maybe we have an answer a few years from now. Maybe we'll have a competent quarterback someday. As it stands, I don't even have that.

If the first three preseason games are any indication, it's going to be a long season in J'ville. The future after that ain't lookin' so bright either.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

once least favorite golfer comes through in the clutch

Once again, Tiger Woods shows me why he is my least favorite golfer.

The PGA Tour is running a playoff system for the first time in it's history. There's quite a bit riding on making a success of it. One hundred and forty-four of the best players are invited to the first event, a field that, by the last event, will be whittled down to thirty. One hundred and forty-four guys have the chance to be the first playoff winner. One hundred and forty-three of those guys are showing up to play in the first playoff event today. One decided he can skip the event and probably stil have a good shot of taking the championship.

Tiger Woods.

One guy blows it off. One guy thinks he's all that and a bag of chips. Well, the fact is, he is all that and more, but does he have to shove it in the collective face of the golf world?

Way to go, Tigger. Way to support the sport that gives you that kind of leverage. Way to go out of your way to help the industry that builds your mansion. Way to grow this playoff system, and the sport of golf in general.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mandatory Parents Meeting, part deux

So, the wife and I, deciding that we were indeed Mandatory Parents, went to the Mandatory Parents Meeting. What torture!

It was pretty much about fund raising, and I knew that going in. I expected it....but well over two freaking hous of it, saying the same things over and over and over...and yes, over again. Then we had to acknowledge and thank everyone, and thank the people who thanked everyone for thanking them. Then they let these two women do this half-rehearsed skit for...I dunno...half an hour. It was old. It was boring. It was prison, because we couldn't leave. I at least stayed quiet. The din of conversation around me, fueled by boredom, kept growing and growing as these two women kept making it up as they went along. With the drive to and from, it was over three hours out of our Tuesday.

I understand the point of the meeting. I volunteered to help with the school golf tournament. I just think there have to be a lot of better ways to organize and run that kind of meeting that get the same results, keep it interesting and do it in half the time. Maybe that's where my volunteer effort should be going.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mandatory Parents Meeting

The youngster's new high school is taking some getting used to....for me and the wife, as well as the youngster.

We got an e-mail last week...Mandatory Parents' Meeting on the 21st at 5:30. I sat there thinking I'm off the hook. Damn, I'm glad I wasn't a Mandatory Parent. I'm one by choice. (Sometimes I question the wisdom of that move, but still, it was my choice.) Nobody made me be one. If they had, I'd have to be at this stupid meeting at 5:30. 5 freaking 30!!! Don't these people think we have jobs? How are we supposed to be at the school at 5:30. Oh well, sucks to be you, Mandatory Parents.

Then the wife explained it to me. I guess I am a Mandatory Parent.


Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Yeah, I love sliding in lines from the best movie ever made (yes, even better than Spiderman 3)whenever even remotely possible and almost relevant...

A month after telling everyone he was looking forward to clearing his name, Ron Mexico is ready to plead guilty to federal dog fighting (and dog killing) charges. Can anyone possibly be surprised?

I watched a clip of him coming out of court a few weeks ago and you could hear him say..."It doesn't matter what happens. People are still gonna love me." Yeah, we'll see how much they love you and your cute little quarterback butt, Ron....on prom night in the ferderal pen.


Monday, August 20, 2007

so much for the not bleeding part

I gotta say, I had a great time Saturday morning in the MS Bike ride practice thing....all things considered.

It was on the other side of J'ville from where I live, and I thought I left in plenty of time to be pretty early. I was wrong. I still made it on time, but when I got there I was rushed, and they were scrambling for places for people to park, because the turnout was huge. Still, I got registered and made it behind the start/finish line before they said, "Go!"

It was a great overcast morning...not too hot and definitely not cold. We started slow and cautious, and then people started separating out into groups at different speeds. I was pretty much in and out of groups, and sometimes by myself for the first 20 miles or so. Then we hit a rest stop. I stopped, had a snack and left about the same time as two guys I had seen several times so far. For the next few miles we were all riding single, occasionally passing each other. One guy was real strong on hills (and yes, west of J'ville there are some hills) and would pass me on the uphill side every time. Then I'd catch up and pass him on the flats, because I learned, the other guy was a friend of his and they were riding together, and he'd wait on his buddy. Eventually the three of us were riding as a small group, and I was doing all the stuff....hand signals and yelling "car back" and all of it. It got to be my turn to lead, and I did it. I kept us going at a steady 20 miles an hour for about 5 miles. Somewhere in that five miles though, unbeknownst to me, we picked up a few more people. When I signaled that I was breaking off the lead and stared moving back down the line, people were thanking me for the "pull" (what they call it when you lead and people draft off you) and complimenting me for going so long...and there were about 20 of them. I kept looking back thinking, "damn...where did all you people come from." It was so cool do that and do it right, and have people say thank you.

Most of them stopped at the next rest stop. I continued on with the two guys I had been riding with. We ended up catching and blending with another larger group. We stayed with them pretty much of the rest of the way. Somewhere in there though, we started slowing. Everyone yelled "slowing" and I did, but then for reasons I never figured out, we stopped. There was someone from the ride on the side of the road who got hurt, and they had medical people there helping I don't know why we stopped, but we did...abruptly. There I in this whole clipless pedal thing...not moving and not fast enough getting my shoes off them. I fell over, skinned my knee, and my bike chain came off. I fixed the chain with a little help from another rider, and continued on...bleeding just a little. Found out later I also broke the cleat...the little thing that keps the shoe on the pedal. It still works, but my foot can slide around on the pedal a lot more than it should.

So now I have this huge raspberry thing on my knee that doesn't hurt all that much, but will take some healing time. ...and I have to buy some new cleats (about $20). Other than that though...the experience was a huge confidence builder. I'm glad I went.


Friday, August 17, 2007

not bleeding yet, so let's try again

Sometimes it feels like I'm continually slamming my head against a wall with this stubborn desire to learn how to bike ride in groups. Sometimes I sit back and look at it...and people are just too serious for me. I don't need it.

Yet, tomorrow, I will try again. Again, it won't be the most advantageous situation. The MS Society is running a practice ride on the other side of J'ville, with three distance options...20, 40 and 52 miles. I will undoubtedly do the 52. I'm not driving all the way over there to do less. Also undoubtedly, I will end up riding with a group...just because we're all going the same direction at about the same speed. Again, it will be with a bunch of people I never rode with before.

True, I know more now about how the whole pace line thing works, so I'm better equipped to participate. It's not nearly as intimidating. Maybe the third time's a charm. If I give it a chance though, and start doing this regularly...for enjoyment and exercise...with a fairly consistent bunch of people that I get to know, I think it'll work for me in the long run. I think I'll start doing that eventually, and hopefully keep doing it long after this MS bike ride is over.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

sometimes...people just suck the life out of my faith in humanity

I while back, I posted a video from an e-mail I received. It was a commercial for Bud Light that involved a swear jar. It was pretty funny. The idea was that people start putting a quarter in a jar every time they swear, and then when it accumulated enough money, they could buy Bud Light.

Well, we can't buy Bud wouldn't buy into that plan. We thought, though, it's still a good idea. We'd find some good use for the money, so we started a swear jar. After a while we decided to donate the swear jar money to the MS Bike Ride. People started swearing, just to contribute a little. A little was adding up to a lot. Well, while I was on vacation....someone stole the swear jar.


High School jitters

Yesterday was the youngster's first day of high school, but it was kind-of like high school on training wheels. Only the freshmen were there. They got their lockers and walked through their classes, but no real work was done, or homework assigned. When I dropped him at the bus stop, there were only a handful of kids on it.

Today it's time to dive in the deep end of the pool. I dropped him at the bus stop and when it got there, it was fairly packed. His is the last stop before it heads to the school. Everyone will be there and real work starts happening. Needless to say, he's a little apprehensive. Most of that is just not knowing what to expect, but as he goes along, that'll disappear. For now though, I'm saying a little prayer.

Work...damn I hate the first day back.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

last day of vacation...first day of high school

I scheduled this time off so it gave us lots of time to get a breather and get the youngster ready for high school, which started today. Nedless to say, he was a bit anxious, and probably will be for the next few days until he figures out it's not that big a least not yet...until he starts dealing with the peer presure and the cliques and whatever other social issues get in the way of actual school. It's a pretty big day in his life...well, in all our lives. It actually started last night at 6:00. They had a ceremony at the school, welcoming the new students...a freshman class of 89. The wife went back to work yesterday, so it was left to me to make dinner early (please don't laugh too hard) and get us out the door by 5:30. Close, but no banana. We ended up 10 minutes late, but just missed the welcome speech.

After I dropped him off at the bus stop (first time in his life he rode a bus to school), I went biking...53.35 miles averaging 17.8 miles an hour. One thing I learned from the new bike shop guys and their group ride is to not burn myself out...and it's helping. Ever since I got my first ten speed bike, I thought the object, if you want to go far and fast, was to get to the point where you were pedaling on the largest possible gear ring on the front where the pedals are, and the smallest possible gear ring on the wheel. This gets you the most distance for each rotation of your foot. Up until now, that's how I'd ride...downshift for stop lights and corners, but always make my way back to the big gear in front and little gear in back. The problem with that is that it works your legs harder and makes it easier to burn yourself out early. If you downshift a little, you make it easier to pedal. You have to pedal more, but it's easier, and easier to adjust to changing speeds, wind direction, and hills, because you don't have to work as hard to accelerate or maintain speed when you start going uphill. What it does after 50 miles, is make my knees feel better and builds a little more thigh muscle...and makes me feel like I could go a lot longer, because I can.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

group therapy

It's being a very relaxing break...with a few bike rides thrown in for good measure.

I did my first real group ride Saturday morning...41 miles. Wednesday I went to the new bike shop that opened near stately Lumberyard Manor. I wanted to ask about clipless pedals, because everything I read and hear about them says they make you more efficient, and they're easier on your knees than toe clips, which are in themselves, better than just a regular pedal. I had asked about them at the shop where I bought my bike as well, so I had a few opinions to go on. The big difference was, the shop where I bought the bike wanted to put me in very high end equipment, at a cost of around $350 for the pedals and shoes that fit them. The guys down the road said there was no need to spend that kind of money and still get good quality gear, so I went back there on Friday...and got fitted with new clipless pedals and shoes for about $150. While doing that, we talked about their group ride the next day...40 miles...17-22 miles an hour.

On Saturday morning I showed up at their store for the group ride. They asked if anyone was new to group riding (and, already knew I would be one, because we discussed it). I raised my hand and so did one woman, who also said she didn't know if she'd be able to keep up, but wanted to try. They explained the route we'd take and gave a little safety talk. The route was pretty unfamiliar to me, going south into farmland on infrequently traveled roads (good for biking, but explaining why I had no idea where they were). We took off...immediately around 20 miles an hour. Ooookay, I'm much for the 17 mile an hour part. Some of the people there obviously are far from beginners. I can hear some saying it's a decent pace. The hand signal thing and general communication didn't go any farther than what I already learned doing the MS practice ride, so I was comfy there. So far though, I'm hanging..even as the pace picked up...22...23 miles an hour. We traveled some roads I knew to start, but about 10 miles in, I was lost. Not completely lost. I could find my way home if I had to, but I was in unfamiliar territory, and couldn't tell you where we were going from there. It was about then that I was the third guy in line, and the first guy dropped to go to the back of the line. The guy in front of me called back for me to lead, because he didn't know the route. Well shit, neither did I, but I can follow the road for a while, so I picked it up a little and started doing about 22 miles an hour, passing him and all of a sudden, finding myself...alone. I glanced over my shoulder and nobody was there. I turned and looked, and they were all way behind I slowed to about 20 and waited for them to catch up...and still nobody was there. A few minutes later I thought, well, I'll slow to 19...and did. About then, they caught up quickly, started passing me and one of the guys who obviously rides a lot, snidely says, "C'mon buddy, keep a consistent pace" as he passed me. Well fine...whatever. I fell back in line (which was a good thing, because we made a turn shortly after that which I never would have made if I was out front, because I didn't know where it was) and we continued on.

At about 25 miles, we stopped at a country store for a break. I noticed the group was a bit smaller. The woman who was concerned about keeping up, didn't. She and another rider fell far behind. One guy turned back. Soon, the woman, one other guy and one of the shop owners who I assume was trying to look after them, came riding to the store. About five of the serious riders started talking about breaking off from the group and going much farther. One of them said he had five more hours to spare and was looking for people to go a long way. We had company at the house, so I wasn't going with them, but they recruited a few more. As we left the store, they were all in the front of the line, but it was also the last I saw of that woman and the other guy who was behind with her. We got to a traffic light that turned red after the first few people went through. I got the idea that the proper etiquette is to stop and wait for those that had to stop. I got that idea, because that didn't happen. The group in front kept going...some through the red light. The guys who run the shop yelled at them, telling them they have to stop at red no avail. They kept going and that was the last we saw of them. The group started breaking up, and the shop owners were trying to get whoever was left back together. I, with one other rider, led that group as the shop owners relayed the message to anyone else that we would stop at another store and regroup. When we did, there were a total of 5 of us left, two of them being the shop owners. Everyone else either went with the fast group or dropped behind. The shop owners were clearly pissed at the group that left us behind at the light. We finished up the ride uneventfully, except for the one place where I fell over. We got to a stop sign and the guy in front of me stopped faster than expected, and I didn't get my shoe off the pedal in time...and fell over. Nothing hurt except my pride.

And so it went for what turned out to be about 41 miles. I learned a little...and thought the whole bunch of people were a little temperamental about it all. I'll do it again though. In time I'll get to be a regular on that ride...comfortable with the route and how it all goes. I won't get yelled at for not being consistent in front...because I will be. Whoever around me wants to go off and do whatever they want to do...fine by me. It's all not worth getting your panties in a wad for.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

baby it's hot outside

It's being a sorta relaxing vacation, with errands and biking thrown in.

I took care of my safe driving course to eliminate the points on my driving record from my little crunch a month ago, and have been doing a few things around the house. Mostly it's being just a breather from work, and I needed that. The youngster and I went to see Order of the Phoenix at the World Golf Village IMAX theater yesterday. I'm glad I waited for the initial rush to end. The theater wasn't crowded and it was a decent portrayal of the book. A few things were eliminated or outright changed in the name of time savings, but I've learned to accept that. I've finished The Deathly Hallows, but the youngster and I are reading it now. It'll probably be the last book I ever read to him like this...end of an era.

Biking...61 miles Saturday, 47 and a half Monday, and 51 this morning...and it's pretty darned hot out there by 10:00 when I'm rolling back to the house. This morning it was 82° when I left at a little after 7:00, and 90° when I got back around 10:00. All good training though...over 150 miles in 5 days. By September, I'm pretty sure I'll be set.


Friday, August 03, 2007

outa here

..for a week and a half.

Have a great first half of the month.

don't ever let anyone else define you - part deux

I realized last night that both of my examples yesterday involved people of a female persuasion. Lest anyone think this is a purely female affliction, let me offer up the following...also based on a true story...

The year was 1980. I was in flight school, but pretty much over the hump. I was close to finishing and could almost touch my wings. This was a fairly stupid time in my life where alcohol was concerned. We would caravan from beautiful downtown Milton, Florida, on the 25 mile road to Pensacola every Friday night. You see, as beautiful as downtown Milton was, it was also dry. There were no bars. Yet, a scant 25 mile drive away was bustling Pensacola, and McGuire's Irish Pub...popular hangout of future Naval Aviators, and women hoping to meet future Naval Aviators. If you follow the logic, you can see that this exercise led to more than one 25 mile drive under the influence to get home, but I digress.

One night in McGuire's, I was having several adult beverages with my friends, and someone asked me if I'd go talk to this guy. He was all depressed and he had decided to D.O.R. (Drop On Request - ie. quit). So, half lit, I went over and introduced myself. He was a young marine who was just starting flight school. The beginning of flight school is all academics. You don't start the actual flying part for a few months. He was struggling with the books. Aerodynamics and meteorology were kicking his ass, and some marine drill instructor had pretty much asked him to do himself and everyone else a favor, D.O.R. and fill a spot in the infantry. He was ready to march in to the administrative offices first thing Monday morning and take the drill instructor's advice.

I asked him, "How bad do you want to fly?"

He said, "I've dreamed of it since I was 5 years old."

"So, why are you ready to give up on it before you ever sit in a cockpit? You're ready to chuck it all because some D.I said you're not good enough. Why? What made him the expert on what you can do? You haven't failed...yet. You haven't got to the point where they throw you out. You're about to let someone else tell you to quit before you fail. If you do that, you did fail. If you stay here, and you get to the point where you flunk out of flight school, what's the absolute worst thing that they do to you? Where do they send you?"

"I'd go to the infantry."

"OK, so you're about to voluntarily take your worst possible option. Don't do them that favor. Make them kick your ass out...or at least follow this dream until you're actually flying airplanes. If then you decide you'd rather be in the infantry, fine. Go that route. But give this a chance before you up and quit. Don't let them just tell you you aren't good enough and get you to leave without giving it your best shot."

Yeah, I was on my drunk soapbox that night.

Seven years later, I was finishing my tour in Pensacola as a flight instructor. A new guy showed up. Part of my job, at that point, was to train new flight instructors. I honestly didn't remember him, but he remembered me. It was the same marine...and he pulled me aside, and thanked me for that drunken soapbox Friday night, when I talked him into sticking it out in flight school. He was about to start teaching it.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

don't ever let anyone else define you

I know a couple who live on the gulf coast of Florida. He was in the Navy with me and they met about the same time the wife and I did.

Simply put, he's an asshole. He always has been. He knows he's an asshole and takes pride in his assholiness. She's a great person. She's very pretty, very smart and kind, considerate...and yeah, I wondered what the hell she saw in him...but she did and they married. For 20 years he treated her like his trophy wife. She was great to look at, but don't look for her opinion on anything that mattered. She was his dumb blonde wife. Over the years, she let that define her. Now, she's at the point where she's had enough of his assholiness, and she's thinking about leaving him, but she's trying to set herself up to be financially independent. She's talking to people about possible business plans and being surprised that they actually value her opinion. She has such a low opinion of herself that other people she talks to have to convince her that she knows what she's talking about.

That's just a crying shame. Her lack of confidence might sink her before she starts and that's a shame. The fact that she let his opinion of her define who she thought she was is a crime.

I knew a girl in Virginia when I was in the Navy. She was going to Old Dominion University and dated a friend of my little brother's. I found out later she had a crush on me, but I never thought of her outside the context of my little brother's ex-girlfriend, and it went nowhere. Her parents knew though, and her father gave her a lecture about 20 year old girls dating 28 year old guys. That's not the point of where I'm going though. She wanted to fly. She wanted to be a Navy pilot. Her ex-Marine dad told her she couldn't. Her dad....her effing dad told her she wasn't good enough, and she'd fail. She let her dream go...until one day I was talking to her and asked...well, have you tried? She said no. So I do you know you aren't good enough unless you try. How do you know, unless you push yourself to the place where someone says...this is where you stop. This is why you can't do it. Against her dad's advice, she went to Air Officer Candidate School. She made it through that and did well in flight school, and went on to fly jets.

Don't let anyone else tell you who you are, or what you can and can't do. You know who you are...and most of the things we tell ourselves we can't do are things we won't try.

Most of all, don't ever let anyone make you think you aren't good enough...for anything.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dante Culpepper goes to the....Raiders?

There's one I didn't see coming. Dante Culpepper signed to play with the Raiders. I thought for sure he'd hang out and wait for Ron Mexico to get hauled off to jail, and have a panic stricken Falcons team begging him to play. That situation was just playing into his hands and all he had to do was let it happen.

Maybe this is the smarter move. Maybe it's better to jump on a sure thing. Maybe when the dust settles and all the facts come out, Mexico isn't guilty of anything. The Duke lacrosse team made me believe it's possible, and made me realize the media jumps to conclusion far more than they should in an effort to gain market share. As much as it's possible though, I don't think it's probable...and the Falcons are going to head into the season with Joey Harrington behind center...and they're gonna suck. They're gonna suck, not because Harrington is all that bad. I think he's a servicable quarterback. He doesn't have the players around him, though, to make the Falcons good. Mexico could make up for that deficiency. Harrington can't. The Falcons put all their eggs in one doggie bag, and it's going to bite 'em.

The Raiders, on the other hand...made a great move. If it doesn't pan out, they didn't lose much of anything, but if it does, they win big. Culpepper could make a great mentor for Jamarcus Russell, and that's at a minimum. If they decide to let him play and he does well, they could win even bigger, letting Russell settle into the quarterback spot instead of thrusting him out there raw. We'll see.


sports passions butting heads

I love playing golf. I love the feeling when I hit a good shot, and the feeling when it actually goes where I want it too. I'm not very good at it, so those moments aren't as frequent as I'd like, but I love getting out there and playing. I go to the driving range almost every weekend for an hour, trying to get better. I've never played enough to get really good, but the range time makes me good enough not to embarass myself when I do get to play.

I love bicycling. I loved it as a kid. I loved the freedom it gave go where I wanted (because I didn't have a car). I loved going farther and farther. I remember in high school. I led a group of kids from our neighborhood across the Susquehanna River to a mall on the other side of Harrisburg...probably 15 - 20 miles...and back home again after a little bit of shopping. It was a huge thing for all of us. I kinda lost that over the years, but I'm getting it back now in training for the MS Bike Ride. I really enjoy getting out on my bike. I love riding, and I love how I feel when I push myself. And, yeah, I like the effect it's having on me physically. I feel better and I look better.

Now comes what's becoming an issue...making time for both. Biking wasn't really cutting into my weekend when I was going 20 or 30 miles. I'd get up at 6:00 and be on the road before 7:00, and home before 9:00. As I go farther though, it takes more time. I'm cutting into the time I usually run around and get errands done. Some of those errands aren't getting done until Sunday and the driving range is suffering because of it. Since that's mostly what I do in the world of is suffering. I need to get better at organizing my time...and maybe cutting down on afternoon naps.