Monday, June 30, 2008

baby it's hot outside

We seem to be in a cycle, at least for the last week and a half, of very warm days that make for towering clouds of humidity that rain down in the late afternoon and evening...which cools things off.

For bicycle training, that means get up really early and ride before the heat of the day makes its arrival, which works pretty good on Saturdays. Sundays, if I want to ride, are another matter. We do church early on Sundays, so we're home by about 10:00 and have the rest of the day to do whatever we want with. This Sunday, I knew the bike needed air in the tires and it's about time to lube the chain. Since I was doing mine, I did the youngster's chain too. Part of that routine means riding around the block and getting the lubricant on all the gear rings in front and back, and then wiping down the chain to get the excess lubricant off, so it doesn't build up and make a mess. It also means standing around and sweating a bit. By the time I did both bikes, I was dripping, but that's when I wanted to go riding. It didn't make sense to go take a shower, only to immediately get nasty again, do I got a bottle of ice and powerade and started to walk out the door.

and I heard.....where are you going? (the wife)

The youngster was being the dutiful court reporter and telling her how hot it was and that I was already sweating just standing in the driveway and...I understand the concern, and I appreciate it, but.....

"I'm going for a ride."
"It's really hot out there and you're already sweating. How far?"
"20 miles?" More of a pleading question than a statement. I didn't want to go much farther than that anyway, with the porta-potty incident from a few weeks ago still on my mind, and rain in the early afternoon forecast.
"Well, please don't go any farther than that, and be careful."

Once I got on the bike and started moving through the self generated breeze, it didn't feel nearly as hot. Oh, it was pretty warm. I'll grant you that. It was bearable though. I went out at about 11:15 and got home a little over an hour later. The clouds were already building and the breeze was picking up. I probably lost a pound or two of water weight, but got home and gulped it right back down.

Even in the heat though, I enjoyed getting out there...and I wasn't the only one. Once I got out on the road I had plenty of company in the bike lane, and I'm thinking we all made it home alive.


Friday, June 27, 2008

I guess I'll never really be a southerner

You Are 50% Yankee, 50% Dixie

You're a pretty even split of Yankee and Dixie. You've probably traveled around a lot in your life.


ask the fat guru

I have two friends in the neighborhood whose wives visit the gym. One guy works out there occasionally. The other doesn't, but we play golf, and he's expressed interest in bike riding with me, but we haven't quite gotten there yet. His wife doubts we ever will.

Anyway, last night was a gym night, and I was in there and one woman does a yoga class, and then goes in the gym for a little bit of weight work. She showed up while I was there and she started talking about working out and asked about my diet. The basic question was, have I started eating differently since I've been exercising to lose weight.

Excuse me? The quick answer is "no", but did you look at who you're asking?

I'm still the fat guy. OK, I'm thinner than I used to be, but Mr. My Doctor is still telling me I need to lose about 15 pounds, and it's not going away quickly. I know I ought to alter my diet, but I'm still a sucker for the gravitational pull of the chocolate chip cookie. She told me I'm crazy, and my doctor's crazier, which is a little flattering, but she doesn't have M.D. after her name and some other guy I'm paying money for check-ups does. His opinion still pretty much rules.

She left, and the other woman came in, and I got pretty much the same thing. "I wanted to ask you what you're doing to actually lose weight. Because as I'm getting older, I'm exercising even more but no matter what I do, I can't lose weight." I just told her, welcome to getting older. I pinched an inch of my gut and asked why she's asking me? I have the same issue, and have for about the last 6 or 7 years. You get into your 40s and the metabolism ain't what it used to be. Sliding into your 50s doesn't make it any better. I console myself with the fact that I feel healthier, and I'm not getting any bigger, but I'm trying to shrink some, too.

No, folks, I'm not some anorexia candidate who only thinks he's fat. I have a medical opinion behind the observation. Realistically, no, I'm not really fat, but I do need to lose some more weight to help with high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. Still, I'm hardly thin, either. The most casual observer could tell you I'm no expert on weight loss. So why, all of a sudden, does my opinion on diet and exercise mean squat?


Thursday, June 26, 2008

we have confirmation

Tomato withdrawl is officially over.

Today's lunch out for a tuna sub came with all the trimmings!


serious, moi?

Not only that. What the hell do turtles have to do with being wise or energetic?

You Are a Turtle

You are wise, grounded, and focused.

You also have an extreme energy... an energy rare for someone so serious.

You respect the earth and truly love nature.

You wish that everyone was able to live in harmony.

The only thing you have to remember in life is to slow down and pace yourself.

You can get wound up easily over things that really don't matter much.


the huge golf comeback

After whining about how much the game has slid lately, I actually played fairly well last night.

No, I haven't got in the practice time, and no, I'm not saying I'm drastically lowering the handicap, but I actually played half decent golf last night.

It was a team thing with a funky format, and we had nobody on our team with a handicap lower than 20. No, we didn't win, but we didn't embarrass ourselves either, and yours truly made significant contributions to the effort....including sticking it about 10 feet from the pin on the famed island green at Sawgrass. Of course, we missed the birdie putt, but still, it was an encouraging night all the same. Might even get me back to a driving range in the near future.

Now that I'm done jumping up and down and fist pumping (and rationalizing that I played good golf) and all that...

I think that's a big part of why I haven't been going to the range as much. Yes, there's another form of exercise that's better for me that's been hogging the spotlight, but the golf thing has been a downward spiral feeding itself. If I don't play well, I don't want to play as much. Since I don't play as much, I play worse, and when you're paying 50+ dollars to play worse, it starts to lose its appeal. Then when you get good at something else that eats more of your time, you play even less. I'll be first to admit that bike riding isn't as challenging as golf. Any four year old can ride a bike. The stamina part of it...riding distances, is more the discipline of training than any amount of talent or skill. Golf relies more on talent, skill and the mental aspect. It's far harder to be good at. So is chess though, and even more than golf, involves very little physical exertion. Bike riding will keep me healthier and living longer than either golf or chess. Biking also has the advantage of being something I do with my son, and that makes it more enjoyable. You could argue that I could golf with my son, but he has very little interest there, and I'm not willing to force it. Maybe someday, but he's far more enthusiastic about going 30-40 miles on a bike than spending an hour or two at a 9 hole course.

Somewhere in there I'll find a balance that lets me enjoy both biking and golf.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

spam subjects

Norton does a good job of separating most of the spam e-mail I get at home into a spam folder. I still have to delete the crap though, so each night I start at the top of the list and just scan the sender and subject as I scroll down, making sure nothing from someone important got filed in the wrong place, before I do the mass delete. Last night I saw a subject that just made me wince.

Upgrade your penis.

Something about that sounds extremely wrong, and maybe even painful. What if I don't want to upgrade that part of my body and, what happens if something goes wrong in the upgrade process? Do you back out the change? Just...scary.


my sliding golf game

It's sad what's happening to my golf game, and it's finally hitting home.

I used to hit the driving range every weekend, at least once. Now, if I have a free couple of hours, I'm grabbing the bike. It's better exercise and it helps toward a mission in September. I used to play a round of golf every month or so. I haven't played a round of golf since New Years Eve.

Now, it's the summer golf season at work which I've blogged about before. $5 for nine holes. Hard deal to beat, and I'm not passing it up. I have to come to grips with one simple fact though. I was never all that good, but now...I'm devolving into just plain bad. I'm slowing sinking from mediocrity to the world of the dismal.

I think it's time to get a little perspective on the bike thing and work more toward a balance in my outdoor activities.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

the training never stops - an MS Ride update

Saturday morning we participated in the kickoff ride for the Bike MS training season. It started in Ponte Vedra Beach and ran south down A1A to a gas station/convenience store and back again, for a total of about 29 miles. The picture's from the finish line.

I got the youngster up bright and early so we could get there in time for the 7:30 start. The boy surprised me. I started putting together a cooler with some Gatorade in it for after the ride and he asked why? When I told him, he said, "Daaaaad, it's only 29 miles." (Yeah, it was the three syllable dad.)

For whatever reason, he does better on rides that are group affairs like this. I'm not talking about training rides where everyone is part of one organized group. I mean things where it's just a bunch of different people and we're all going to the same place. I noticed it in April when we did the Katie Ride and I saw it Saturday.

If I wake him up on a Saturday when it's just the two of us, or us with a neighbor, he's difficult to drag from bed and get out the door, and then when we get going, he's not exactly pushing it.

In the April ride, and the one this weekend, once we get around all the other people, he's rarin' to go. I saw some friends and asked if they wanted to ride with us, knowing they're pretty slow, but thinking that'd be OK with the youngster. It'll probably change one day in the not too distant future when he gets stronger, but for now, our pace is as fast as fast as he'll go. We talked about it and they wanted to go about 13-15 miles an hour. He looked at me and said, "I don't know, Dad. I'm feeling pretty hyper. We could be doing 17 easy." I laughed and said we'll see, but we did. We stayed between 17 and 18 for the whole trip, and he wasn't exactly winded when we finished. In fact, we passed several people and he was wondering how they ever go in front of us. I explained that some folks have never done a ride this long and didn't know how to pace themselves and were probably burning out, or they never made it to the halfway point at the convenience store, and turned around when they realized they need to just go home and train.

On top of all that, I think he realized he needs to do more work during the week. For the first time since we started this training thing, he's getting up early and riding during the week. Of course, part of that is that he can. It's summer vacation after all. Still, it's summer vacation and he's up early, so I'll throw him a few brownie points.


Monday, June 23, 2008

holy shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits

I'll apologize for the language, but I had to do tribute.

George Carlin is dead at the ripe young age of 71. The author of the seven words you can never say on television (which I memorized as a teenager, said Capt. Obvious) is gone, and I'm slightly stunned. Mr. Carlin was responsible for a lot of laughs, many of them mine, and a lot of insight into our figures of speech and the humor to be found in them. He did hilarious things with words and phrases, and not all of them ones you can't say on TV. He also did a lot of controversial things, some of which I don't agree with, but still, I admire the spirit that took him to those places. The world will miss least as much as it does Tim Russert.

Black armbands for all my friends....


Friday, June 20, 2008

the mighty mississippi

I don't really have a lot to say about the Mississippi River and the flooding in the Midwest. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of being there. You live down river, and you see the devastation happening to those north of you and you know it's coming your way. You just know it. You fill sand bags until there's no more sand...or bags, fortifying your life. Then you wait. You wait and watch the river get higher and you pray the levees hold.

That's gotta be so hard.

Those people....and the Red Cross...are going to need all of us. Remember, we're all dealing with ridiculous gas prices and inflation, and a tough economy. Those people are too, and they're dealing with a lot more.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

bits and pieces

Got an e-mail from someone at the Wall Street Journal, asking about my blog post on tomato withdrawal. Seems they're considering a fluff piece on the phenomenon and wanted to ask me some questions. I excel at fluff, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. At first I just dismissed it, but then curiosity got the better of me. That and just a little bit of ego. I mean..the Wall Street Journal, for God's sake. Who'da thunk it? Flattered, much! What could they possibly ask though? OK, I miss tomatoes and I want 'em What more is there? So I e-mailed them back and said, sure...ask away. Some guy called me and I think he was a bit disappointed. I think they hoped for someone more passionate on the tomato withdrawal front. I just want them back on my sandwiches...and truth be told, they are now. I didn't go out to lunch yesterday, but after the call, I asked a few people who did, and the tex-mex place they patronized was fully tomato stocked.

Working from home today, so I caught some of the Today show. Some woman is suing Victoria's Secret because she was injured by a thong. A piece of metal from the thong snapped off and hit her in the eye. Oh, I should be so lucky. Anyway, doncha think the folks at Vicky's could settle that her medical bills, give her a free teddy, pat her on the thong clad ass and send her on her way? I do. Apparently she wants more though. Don't know how much more, because every time they asked her sleazebag lawyer for a dollar figure he did the sleazebag lawyer dance and gave a non-answer. This has all the makings of the McDonald's coffee injury lawsuit. Could the world just back off the ridiculous lawsuits..please? As long as there are greedy people and sleazebag lawyers to milk that...I guess I'm asking too much.

Tiger Woods is done for the year. As much as I don't like the guy on a personal, vindictive, can't let go of a grudge level, I do hope he has a full recovery and picks up where he left off next year. The golf world is really going to miss him. This ought to give a few other guys a chance to shine in the spotlight though, so maybe some good will come of it. As much as the Tour will suffer some, the guy with his head in his hands is Paul Azinger, captain of America's Ryder Cup team, as his supposed star is gone. I don't know why. The truth is Tiger's never been all that in Ryder Cup play. Maybe someone a little less 'me' oriented will serve the team better, and Paul and his team will ultimately benefit from this incident.

Boston...yeah, I'm among the millions in the country who are seriously sports jealous. First you have the Patriots, then the Red Sox, now the Celtics. I think we can now dump the 'long suffering' prefix from any of your sports teams when followed by the word 'fan'. Your ticket's been punched. You don't get to play the 'suffering' sports fan card for at least a decade.

Lastly, hey NBC! I get that Tim Russert was your guy and all, and it really is sad that he's taking the great dirt nap way too early (said the 51 year old guy). He will be missed by a lot of people. Can we lay off, let the guy rest in peace and move on, though? I get that everyone thought he was a great guy (and he probably was) and you miss him, but he was a media guy...a reporter for a TV network. You act like he discovered lasagna (commonly known as the eighth wonder of the civilized world). I've seen more than enough of his son toasting him, and interviews and anecdotes, and outtakes and the coverage just seems to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on....and on. The best thing that happening is I hear a snippet of Bruce Springsteen doing an acoustic version of Thunder Road, but even that's the same snippet, over and over and over and over and over.... I don't remember this much eulogizing when the Pope died, fer cryin' out loud. What's next? Tim Russert:the mini-series? Enough already!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

pride or concern

I need a medical opinion, or an exercise trainer opinion, or something,

I went to the gym last night, and was amazed when I walked in the door. Not all, but a fair amount of the machines were replaced with brand spanking new equipment. Wooooo Hooooo!

Gone was my old stationary bike. Gone were the old treadmills. Gone was one of the two elliptical machines. To be honest, all of them needed to be replaced. The treadmills were occasionally out of order and occasionally wouldn't hold a constant speed. The old elliptical machine made a banging sound with every revolution and the stationary bike was pretty much on its last legs too...or mine.

In their place though, were these new things with more buttons than a universal remote, and functions I won't figure out for at least 6 months.

I jumped on the new elliptical machine and just tried to be simple. Just set it up to do 35 minutes. It asked for my age and weight (and I'm thinking...oooooh boy...the women are gonna hate this puppy) and sent me on my merry way. About 5 minutes later I get this scrolling message in capital letters...


Well, ooookayyyy. Isn't that the idea? I figured out, looking at the display, which number it was talking about, and it was fluctuating, but mostly staying around 150. I thought...that doesn't look too high. I consciously slowed down a little. A little while later I saw the same message scroll across the screen. The number was back up around 150 and my pace had unconsciously increased back where it had been.

For the entire 35 minutes, I cycled through this pattern.

Then I did another 35 on the stationary bike and while the message scrolled across less frequently there (because I figured out how to increase/decrease the effort required to pedal, which I hadn't figured out on the elliptical and it was kicking my butt), it still made an appearance.

So the question/worry is...should I be happy I'm pushing the heart rate up there? I would think so, because that's one reason I'm there in the first place. I guess I ought to ask someone with some expertise in that arena. First I have to find that person.....


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

creepy stalker paparazzi feel

I realize the tabloids have an audience and people want to know what celebrities are doing, but I saw this story on E's stuff on Yahoo and clicked on it. I was conceptually amazed.

This thing says two people are currently in the air on their private jet after vacationing in Mexico. I thought about what kind of resources would be necessary to know that. I can't imagine anyone really caring. Anyway, you have to have people tailing their every move, and it'd have to be more than one, because one could get lost or fooled. It'd have to be a team. They'd probably have to have their own private jet, too, because they have to hang with the first private jet, and finding a commercial airline that fits the bill would be too hard (though I have this vision of taking the aisle seat, and having someone from the Inquirer leaping into the window seat next to me, armed with binoculars, or one of those humongous lens cameras). This more than borders on creepy stalker stuff. It wallows in it.

I guess I'm naive. I thought, as author of the world renown and critically acclaimed Right in the Lumberyard blog, I had hit the pinnacle of celebrity-hood, myself. I thought my occasional paparazzi run ins were as bad as it gets for everybody. I guess real celebrity people put up with this crap constantly. As much as I may enjoy the money, that level of fame is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy....yeah, even Michael Moore.

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my sports world in turmoil

There's a disturbance in the force.

Tiger Woods

I so want to like this guy. I watched what he did this weekend and was in awe. The guy hits clutch golf shot after clutch golf shot. I watched him grimace in pain. I watched him come back to force a playoff. Then I watched him come back in the playoff to force sudden death. The I watched him win, all while his knee was killing him. He's an amazing golfer and I admire his ability.

So why does he have to be such a shit?


Monday, June 16, 2008

wife to the rescue

Dads are notorious for doing stupid things and needing to be bailed by family. Bill Cosby talked about it in his infamous 'Himself' monologue. If you've never heard it, go buy it or rent it. I don't think it can cost more than about $6 and it's well worth it, on many fronts besides this one. Somewhere in there he talks about...if left by himself for any length of time, his wife would get one of the kids to check up on him because they feared for his safety. He, like most dads, isn't good on his own, and being left unsupervised for long periods of time can be cause for concern.

Well, what better day than Fathers' Day for me to go and prove that axiom. I listened, Saturday night, to the weather folks, knowing full well that they lie. They said we would probably get rain on Sunday, probably late afternoon. With that in mind, I decided to go bike riding after church..which put me out there around 11:00. I wouldn't go real far...maybe 20 miles...get me home a little after noon.

So I did. It was sunny, and I could see the clouds building in the west as I headed that way. No worries though. They still had a few hours to build until things got nasty...or so the weather folks said. Then the wind picked my face. It got stronger as I still headed west. Seven miles in it got real strong and the temperature dropped...a lot. Then it got dark, quickly. Eight miles in the rain drops started and I looked for a break in the median so I could turn around. The wall of rain hit me before I got there, but I did get there. I turned east and pedaled as fast as I could...with the wind, I was pushing over 25 miles an hour. I got out of the wall of rain and into the rain drops. Then I got dry...managed to ride out of the storm and kept pedaling east as fast as I could. Home was still east and a bit south. I got to the turn south when the cell phone rang. It was the wife asking how far I was from home, and I said...not far...maybe 4 miles. I'll be there soon. Then I saw the bolt of lightning. It was a huge nasty bolt and not very far away. I could see the nasty stuff wasn't only coming from the west. It was coming up from the south as well. Getting home was going to be risky. There was a park a mile away. It's a new park, so I don't know what they have there for shelter, but there has to be something.

I called the wife back and told her I was stopping at the park. Please come get me!

It was still dry at the park, but there was nothing there but 2 porta-potties, a lacrosse field and a parking lot. I figured, if the rain starts, I can hang in a porta-potty. I waited. I waited some more. It was only a few minutes but it felt like hours, as I watched the aerial light show and clouds threaten. Then the rain drops started again, and I managed to get the bike and most of me into a porta-potty. Then the wife got there and I got the bike into the car just before the wall of water hit. I got in the car and almost on cue, the really bad stuff started. You could barely see to drive, and it was coming down so hard we were crawling down the road, but I was dry.

...and that was by far the best thing anyone did for me on Fathers' Day.

As a kid, I believed I lived in a bubble of invincibility. I think we all do. We have that feeling like nothing bad is ever really going to happen to us, even though we have no plausible explanation for that feeling. There have been a few times in my life where that bubble's been burst. Nothing really bad happened, but the very real potential was there and that bubble was nowhere to be found. Most of those times involved my flying days in the Navy. Yesterday..when I saw that bolt of lightning...was one of those times. The bubble in me said, "No big deal. You can make it home." Then the bolt hit and it was cowering in a porta-potty.


Friday, June 13, 2008

you say tomato

Last night was golf night, where I showed some improvement from last week. I'm not taking any bows though. In a world where the only direction you have is up, it can't be too surprising when you move that way. That's not entirely true. I played with someone last night who truly is worse than me, which gave me a new perspective on 'bad golf', but that's not why we're here.

On golf nights, I'm pretty much left to fend for myself in the dinner department. Sometimes there's a plate of what everyone else had waiting for me, but not often. Most nights I pick something up on the way home. Last night I had a taste for a burger...a fast food burger...something I don't want often and actually eat less. My fast food burger of choice, when I give in to that temptation, is the Burger King Double cheese. I pulled into my local BK lounge and noticed they have something new, and probably temporary on the Indiana Jones Double Whopper. It has bacon and pepper jack cheese and...damn that looked good on the poster, so I ordered one. I also noticed the sign on the door that announced the 'no tomato' rule that's being enforced all across the country because of the salmonella scare.

I got my food home and started to eat, and it was then that I realized how much I miss and love tomatoes. The burger was seriously missing part of the taste I craved...part of the reason I pulled into the BK lounge in the first place. I hearkened back to Tuesday, when I allowed myself the luxury of a tuna sub from Subway ($5 foot longs) and again noticed the absence of one of my favorite fruits. I mean, I saw the news and I kinda shrugged, but didn't realize I'd go through something akin to tomato withdrawal.

How long is this thing gonna last? I want my tomatoes back, dammit!


Thursday, June 12, 2008


A long time ago (maybe 5-10 years) there was a commercial on the radio. I don't know what it was for. It might have been a PSA. I won't go into the details, but it involved a bunch of people staring at a copying machine, whining because it was out of paper again. None of them seemed to know (or want to know) what to do about that but whine, until finally one person came along and put more paper in it.

If you didn't know before, my little piece of cubicle world is in a double wide trailer. It has been for a very long time, but that's a story for another day. We have men's and ladies' rooms in this double wide, along with a small kitchen area and cubicles. The plumbing is...suspect. It works OK 99.9% of the time, but every now and again there are issues. For that reason, there is a plunger next to the toilet in the men's room. To be honest, I don't know if there's one in the ladies' room, but I'm guessing there is.

Yesterday, several of us went to a meeting. When we came back, I went to my cubicle, and someone went to the men's room. He immediately walked out complaining that the toilet was backed up. After whining for about a minute, he announced that he needed a piece of paper and something to write with, to put a note on the door so nobody would use the rest room. While he was on this challenging scavenger hunt (I mean c'mon. You're in an office environment. Paper and a pencil or pen can't hide for long.) I went into the rest room, grabbed the plunger and....viola. No need for the paper and pencil before he even got the note written.

I'm not looking for any kind of praise. It's not that big a deal. It took less effort that writing the damn note. I believe the fact that I'm not exactly Mr. Handyman has been well documented here. One of the wife's friends from Georgia actually expressed an amount of surprise when he saw my toolbox in the garage, and it actually held tools. I'm not that bad, but I'll confess I'll never be mistaken for Bob Vila, but this?? This isn't rocket science. I mean, you go in there and shove it in, pump a few times and...flush. You're a guy. This should come somewhat natural. Why, then, would someone go looking for a piece of paper to tell people not to use it instead of just fixing the issue?

Afterwards he said he just wasn't going to do that. It's not in his job description and it's the principle of the thing. Oh, and I suppose filling the copier with paper is in his job description...


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

and why can't everyone think like me

I think I know where you think this is going. John's about to go off on some conservative political rant. If that's the road you think we're traveling, you'd be wrong today.

I have some things that are just part of my make up. I hate to be late...for anything. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure I'm not, and if that doesn't work and I find myself late, I get this very uncomfortable feeling inside...and that feeling makes me hate being late even more. I also try my damnedest to be a man of my word. If I tell someone I'll do something, I'll do everything in my power to do it. If someone asks me to help them move at 7:00 on a Saturday morning and I agree...I'll be there at 6:55. Count on it. If I'm not there, something went wrong. For me, not being there at 6:55 would show a lack of respect for the person I promised that I would, and a lack of respect for my own word. If I tell someone I'll do something....I'm doing it. If I don't do it, there had to be a damn good reason.

That doesn't mean I'm always successful. Sometimes I'm not, and I feel like shit when I'm not, and I apologize for not holding up my end. The wife will ask, "Why are you beating yourself up over this? You know if the tables were turned, they wouldn't be all that upset about not showing up." She may be right, but that's not the point. What other people may or may not do is not my worry. I want my word to mean something, and I hate when I tarnish matter who I promised what.

Now, that being me, for years I assumed everyone else thought like I did...and I set myself up for some major disappointments. I'd organize activities and tell everyone to be there at 7:00, and inevitably people wouldn't. I'd get a tee time to play golf early on a Saturday,and get three other guys to play, and tell them when I'd be there to pick them up, and I'd end up waking someone up with the car running in their driveway. People made promises to the youngster, and when they didn't follow through, he'd end up wondering what happened. I have one very good friend who is always full of good intentions. I'll ask if he wants to do this or that, and he'll be all excited and "Yeah man, I'm in!" Then I won't hear otherwise until I talk to his wife a few days later who will give me the more realistic..."No way he can do that. He's not thinking, but he has this other thing he has to do."

Because of this, I've learned I have a few choices. I can either dump these people as friends and be forever pissed at them, or I can just accept that not everyone thinks like I do. I can make tentative plans, but I have to base things on track record, and always have a back up plan. If I'm playing golf with Mr. Sleepy Head (who I have yanked from his dreams on more than one occasion), I just have to know to tell him to be ready at such and such a time, but show up at his door when I would expect his alarm clock to go off, so he can be ready when I wanted him to be in the first place. When certain people tell the youngster they want to take him to a movie this weekend, we're thrilled if it happens, but we're not expecting it to. It's like a game. They're all decent, well meaning people. They just don't seem to get concerned when they don't do what they say they will...or they completely forget. In any case, it leaves me a few choices.

I can get pissed off and be disappointed.
I can never talk to them again.
I can learn from them and just lower the expectation bar accordingly, and just let it all slide....

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back in the groove...almost

After weeks of trying not to push myself, I went to the gym last night. I hadn't been there in quite a while, and to be honest, once you get out of that routine it's hard to go back.

I still have a "runny nose" issue from that stupid cold, but it's getting better and it's really the only symptom left. I debated the gym with myself, and finally concluded that the only reason I really didn't want to go, was because I really didn't want to go. I'd gotten used to being a slug again, and it was comfy and cushy and oh so I got off my lazy ass and went.

Once I got there, I was glad I did it, and afterwards I was even happier.

Now the biggest thing on the home front is getting the youngster ready for the Bike MS (I wish those people would make up their mind about what they want to call it) ride in September. So far, I think we'll get there.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

based on a true story

Those are 5 words I pretty much loathe when it comes to the movies, or TV. It's one of the major differences between me and the wife. She'll start watching some Sunday night drama, or something on Lifetime (which is pretty much the same thing) and she'll say, "This is good, and it's based on a true story."


"Based on a true story" does nothing for me in the world of TV or movie entertainment. For the wife, it's a big plus. Now, if you say "based on a good story", you got me. If I want "based on a true story" (and sometimes I do), I'll watch network news...because most of that is based on a true story. I can, and do trade "based on a true story" tales with friends and coworkers, and many of those are entertaining. It's not what I watch TV or go to movies for though. Being based on a true story doesn't enhance a plot one bit for me, and if something happens to be based on a true story, the looser that basis is, the better.

When I watch a show, be it TV or movie, that's what I want. I want a show. I want adventure and magic. I want hilarity you can't find in true stories. I want to be wowed beyond the ability of my everyday life. Life is all around me, and it holds its share of wonder, but when I go to the movies, I want something else. I want larger than life.

It's with that slant that I'll say I've seen two movies on the big screen and one on the small, that I thoroughly enjoyed. One I've talked about before...Prince Caspian. That's the kind of big open adventure and magic I'm talking about. That's entertainment you just can't find in a "based on a true story" world. The other is the National Treasure 2, Book of Secrets. There's one very loosely based on a true story. Yes, there's actually a President of the United States and a Resolute Desk. That's about where the true story leaves off. Both of these were very entertaining though, and well beyond what I get from the question "So, Dave, what did you do this weekend?"

While "based on a true story" isn't necessarily bad, because I like hearing about the adventures of friends, and I find the evening news engaging, I don't need it when I want serious entertainment.


Monday, June 09, 2008

the circus has already come to town

The first really big step into the ridiculous has come in the Presidential race.

I wouldn't know this, except the wife and mom-in-law are big fans of the Lifetime network. On the Lifetime network there is a show called Army Wives. I don't know what it's all about, but I can guess. Plots would involve family separation, spousal abuse and juicy bits of infidelity and what not. I is on Lifetime, after all. I suppose I'm being a little unfairly critical, since I've never actually seen more than 2 minutes of the show, but I'll still bet I'm right.

That's not the point though. The point is John McCain did a commercial promoting the show, and expressed his support for Army Wives. Not to be outdone, Barak Obama did the same.

Please, someone pinch me and wake me up. Have we sunk so low that we're expressing our political view through hawking some fictional television show? Gotta show that I support the military, so let's do a commercial for a show called Army Wives. Where the hell did that come from? What's next? Gotta show I'm tough on crime, so let's see if we can pitch Law and Order. Need to show I have a lighter side. Get on Leno and Letterman, and see if we can promote The Simpsons.

So it's come to this...and people wonder why I want Washington responsible for as little as possible.


Friday, June 06, 2008

summer golf, oh shit!

We have a great deal at work. In the summer when it stays light until about 8:30 or 9:00, we get to play 9 holes on a very nice course...for all of $5...up from $4 last year, but no, I'm not complaining. It's usually some kind of team format, like a scramble, which allows us to get through 9 holes after work.

Last night was the first of these events, and I participated. For the record, I wasn't all that pleased with my golf performance, but considering I haven't played since last year, it wasn't too bad. I played with three guys who are pretty good and the format was a scramble, so they carried us as a team and my performance was hidden in their better shots.

The highlight of the evening though...gator!

I was riding in the cart, on a cart path next to a lake on the right (ie. my side of the cart) when we went over a little hill. I wasn't looking up when I heard the guy with me, who was driving, yell "Oh SHIT!" We had just hit the crest if the hill. I looked up to see the open mouth of an alligator...about 8 feet long and maybe 10 yards in front of us, with us closing fast. I got a very up close and personal look.

Thank God gators are afraid of people in golf carts. It scurried into the lake and we watched it swim off. By the time he was in the water, he was behind me, and maybe 20 yards away. Got the adrenaline pumping though.....


Thursday, June 05, 2008

on the health front

This cold is still hanging on, and it's annoying the carp outa me. All that's left is a congestion/nasal issue, and when your nose is the size of mine....let's just say it's not a small issue.

I did go for a bike ride last night though. It wasn't very long....maybe 10-15 miles, but I did get out and go. Sitting and doing nothing is driving me nuts, and I just needed to do something, so I took a few baby steps. So far I'm no worse for it. Maybe this weekend, I'll push a little farther. We'll see.


pissed about being dissed

A new perspective came to me on the drive to work this morning....about the afternoon hockey post yesterday.

Several years ago (it seems like a lifetime) the Jaguars had an amazing season. They lost only 2 games the entire 1999 season....both to the hated Tennessee Titans. They had secured the home field throughout the playoffs. They got to the AFC Championship game, and it was played right here in J'ville. I went. I was psyched to see our team go to the Super Bowl. Only one game stood in the way, and it happened to be against those same Tennessee Titans. The so called experts were all picking the Jaguars. There was "no way" this team...the supposedly superior team, would lose 3 games in a season to the Titans.

I won't take you through the painfully gory 2nd half details, but the experts were wrong. The Titans won and went to the Super Bowl. We were left to cry in our beer and Jeff Fisher called what was then Alltel Stadium the Titans' second home field.

I hated him for that. I dislike him to this day for that. The thing that made me hate him for that was not only was he dissing something I loved, he was right. If I wanted to be honest about it, I had to admit the guy was right. The Titans owned us that year, and Jeff Fisher was rubbing our noses in it, and I hated him for it. I guess it's the same way for Detroit hockey fans who are upset at Tiger Woods for dissing their sport. It's bad enough to listen to someone trash something you love. It's worse when, in your heart of hearts, you know they're right.

On that note, congrats to the Red Wings for winning the Stanley Cup. In other news, a tree allegedly fell in the woods and made no sound...

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

just being honest

I tend to bash one Eldrick Woods, mostly based on his attitude on several occasions toward my son in search of an autograph. On this occasion, though, I'm solidly behind the guy. He's in Michigan promoting the upcoming PGA Championship and a reporter asked him if he was rooting for Detroit or Pittsburgh in the NHL finals. Mr. Woods said, "I don't really care. Let's talk about the Dodgers. I don't think anybody really watches hockey anymore."

Detroit's hockey fans are in an uproar. How dare Tigger diss their sport. Well people, in a world where the NHL finals virtually tie ESPNs coverage of the college world series of women's softball in TV ratings, how pissed off at the guy can you be for being...right? Get off the high hockey horse.

I like hockey...some. I'll even watch it on occasion, if I'm in the gym and working on a machine and someone turns it on...and in that case, I'll even get a bit interested. I couldn't name all the teams in any division though, or tell you the starting roster of either team in the finals. Sid the kid is about the only name I know. But let's face facts. When you're talking to a black guy who grew up in southern California, should you be shocked that he has very little interest in hockey?? I've attended and enjoyed hockey games. I watch hockey every now and then, but I don't make a point of it, and hey....numbers don't lie. College girls' softball actually beat out the NHL finals for TV ratings, and it ain't for the sex appeal. Jackie Vasquez's parents tuned in to watch their daughter pitch for ASU. Sid Crosby's folks didn't hold up their end. In neither case are they threatening Law and Order for market share, or America's Funniest Videos, for that matter.

This can't be any worse than Boo Weekly coming out with, "I don't watch golf. I mean, I'd just rather watch fishing or hunting or NASCAR or something. It's got to be moving, man. Golf ain't moving."


My technologically astute parents

My dad's birthday is in a month (more or less). He'll be turning 78 years old. Dad's a golf fanatic, and I found a set of DVDs he's really enjoy, so I was about to click the button and order them when the thought hit me....

Does dad even have a DVD player? I would think so, but ya know....he just might not. He messes around on a computer quite a bit (hell, that sucker might have one built in and he may not even know it), and I know he has a humongous flat screen TV, because my brothers and I chipped in and bought it for their anniversary a few years ago, but that doesn't mean he has a DVD player.

So I called dear old dad.

Dad, do you have a DVD player?

A what?

A DVD player...ya know...discs that can hold movies, like from Blockbuster, that you can watch on your TV?

I don't know. I have this box that has a big slot on one side, like for a video tape, and something smaller on the other side. I think that's what you're talking about.

"Something smaller" Yeah pop, thanks for the help. Maybe I'll call my brother and ask him what Dad has.


so it's Obama

Well, I guess the best part is that makes the worst case scenario a little more tolerable.

I'm not going out on a Baldwin limb and say it'd be a great time to leave the country if he wins. Right now I'd have a hard time believing he could win, but a lot can happen between now and November, and the first black American President is not outside the realm of possibility.

Still, in my mind, McCain is far and away the lesser of the two evils. I think he's more of a realist and has a far better grasp of the world stage he's asking to play on. I think both of them will bend the truth until it's fairly unrecognizable between now and November in an effort to sway votes, and for that I will dispise them both. In the end though, I'll still let me voice be heard. There you have what it will of June 4th. I'm less certain what it will say in November.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Thought I'd share

On the way home last night, listening to the radio, the sports talk guys were in a silly mood and one of the topics was Sara Jessica Parker and Sex in the City, the ultimate chick flick. Someone sent them this link, and they thought it was hilarious, so when I got home I pulled it up.

After listening to them and the way they went on about it, I really expected more of a similarity. I mean, OK, conceptually there's a bit of a resemblance, but it's not like...separated at birth or anything. Somehow, I expected more.


Monday, June 02, 2008

the Reign of Ellen

Several years ago I was being snarky about the romance of the couple who are now Mr. and Mrs Tom Cruise, and the creepiness of it all. In that endeavor, I came across a blog written by one Ellen from Arkansas. Ellen is a stay at home mom who does commercial art on the side. She's responsible for the little caricature of me that adorns my profile. She did those caricatures for dozens of people who frequented her blog. Ellen has a pretty cool and humorous view of the world and her family, but apparently something has happened which made her close up her corner of cyberspace to all but a select few. I'm sorry it has to be that way. There's a seedy side to this whole internet world that I wish wasn't there, but it is, and part of that reality is that I can't get to Ellen's little world anymore, since I'm not one of the select few.

So, if you're wondering why the link went away on the right, that's why. I can't get there, and neither can it was pretty much useless....and that's a shame, but it is what it is. I can understand how thew creepy side of the internet can get to people, but if Ellen or Jason (her hubby) ever get back here...I miss you guys.

ps. Later found out it wasn't the creepy side of the internet that closed the Reign of Ellen. It was issues within her own life, but no less tragic. I hope she comes out of it all OK.


lumberyard night at the movies

Well, day actually.

The wife is neck deep in a statistics class with mountains of homework she's doing over weekends. She told me to grab the youngster and just get out of the house as much as possible. Normally, not a big problem with bicycling and all, but I'm still trying to get back to 100% healthy, so I've been laying off the bike. Instead, yesterday, we went to the movies.

The question was...4th Indiana Jones movie or 2nd Narnia movie. Iron Man was given consideration, but we're thinking it might get kicked to rental status...gotta see it, but not for 20 bucks. The youngster made a pitch for Kung Fu Panda, but I nixed that. Yet another movie that will probably do almost as well on the small screen. We have mixed neighborhood reviews on Indy, so we went Narnia.

Excellent movie. A little high on the moral hog, but that's what you get in Narnia. I think there are less religious allegory overtones in Prince Caspian than the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but definite lines of right and wrong in the plot. The story is well done and the special effects are amazing. It was well worth seeing on a big screen. Some of the book gets left out, but you have to expect that too, going into movies made from books. They never cover it all.

On another front, I really am itchin' to get back on the bike. I looked at it longingly a few times this weekend. I'm starting to consider...though I don't know how seriously, riding it to work one or two days a week. I need a few things to happen. I need to figure out how/where I can shower and change once I get to work, and when I'd have to leave and how much it'd delay getting home. It's about 22/23 miles each way if I stay off the heavily traveled roads, and involves the monster bridge over the intracoastal waterway. It's a do-able trip, but it is a workout and I'd be pretty sweaty by the time I got to either or back home. I'm thinking though, if I can just find a shower somewhere, and stage some clothes at work...with some organization, I may be able to pull it off. It wouldn't be an every day thing, but one or two days a week, with gas getting worse every day...I could save a few bucks, get in some exercise, and even go slightly green.