Sunday, December 21, 2008

Swirling rarely leads anywhere but back where you started.

And, like a giant magnet that attracts "wanna be" writers instead of ferrous masses, the blogging world comes calling. There are stories that must be told; there are warped and invalid aspects of topics, which somehow evade the world as a whole and now must be shared; there are fragmented sentences, dangling participles and mixed metaphors which must be shared...
Clear the mechanism...nothing happens.
CLEAR THE MECHANISM!...again, nothing happens.
I saw Kevin Costner do this in "For love of the game," and it was cool. As he stood on the pitchers mound he commanded the world to leave him with total concentration on the task at hand.
"Clear the mechanism," he said while looking very cool, and all noises and distractions disappeared.
CLEAR THE DAMN MECHANISM!...nothing. The last song I heard bounces around in my head, the fact that I can't sing brings to mind that I would like to take samba lessons, which quickly leads to thoughts of living on an island in the Caribbean, standing in waste deep water as I fish for the evening meal. I am sort of like "The old man and the sea," except there are no sharks in the part of the Caribbean I am in. "The old man in the sharkless sea." I don't even like fish; that's a good fantasy, where you are truly enjoying something that you don't even like.

Isn't it funny that I say "I don't even like fish" and it's clear that I don't like to eat them. If I said
"I don't even like squirrels," you wouldn't think that I don't like eating them, probably more like I don't like them running across my rooftop, or throwing nuts at me as I head to my car in the morning. I really don't like squirrels...

The mechanism refuses to clear; I'm not sure I even have a mechanism. It would almost be funny if it weren't such a handicap. Maybe I should try to emulate Sean Penn instead. I could get myself a rowboat and a camera man and row through the swamps of Mississippi to rescue people after hurricanes, all the while making sure it was properly captured on video. Of course, that would also mean I had been married to Madonna, which is unacceptable. It's hard to find a good celebrity to be like.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The century mark

I've wondered what this would mean to me, this 100th entry on my blog; a blog that I created, nurtured and helped grow into a real live blog. I've sort of put off this entry because I think I may be done with it now. I try to never say never because that word has proven itself to be spiteful and evil many times; not only does what I said would never happen happen, but it happens in some painful way that rubs in the fact that I said it would never come to pass...I digress.

I believe I have done what I needed to do and now need to move on and do something else. I have learned that there are things I thought I wanted from this that I really didn't, and other things I gained that I had not considered. I think the biggest gain I made here was in allowing others to read things I've written. I have learned to share my thoughts and that is big for me.

I think I'll go back to writing in my journals and see what comes next. Anyway, I appreciate anyone who has been here and took the time to read what I've written. Maybe I'll do what I intended and create a website about training and running that also has an area for my thoughts...maybe I can pay my nephew to do it?

If you have been here I would love to have a parting comment from you. Thank you.

Somewhere outside of loneliness, revelations yet untold

Willful, blind and bound inside, sight lost between the folds

Waves recede having borne away, now gone was once neglected

Then drawn so near, that cast away, as just to be detected

Somewhere outside of loneliness contented hearts delight

A mind designed to live forlorn knows not which wrongs to right

Glimmer here and shimmer there is all that will be seen

Be damned lest it be drawn so near to rinse the hopeless clean

Somewhere outside of loneliness, passions glory reigns

A sublime and pure peace succors and then as quickly wanes

When given to desires need, this fleeting joy pursued

Not find but found and drawn upon, the heart once more subdued

Somewhere outside of loneliness, the path there stained in red

With each retreat wounded souls sway, less alive than dead

The truth, profound, so bold as to ensure obscurity

There is not out that's not within, a sober surety

Somewhere outside our loneliness, anther's fills the void

On eerie pedestals are raised two hearts long since devoid

Too vast and deep is that revealed to risk what may befall

Less self reflect in dimmer light wants nothing after all.

Au revoir.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Water buffalo

In a typical neighborhood in America, a large van comes to a quick stop in front of a 2-story colonial. The grass is perfectly manicured, the morning paper is in the driveway behind the matching SUV's, but the family inside the house is distraught. A fellow with the look of a scientist leaps from the van and trots toward the house, he is followed closely by a film crew toting a small T.V. camera and a boom mic to lend authenticity to the endeavour. We pick up the audio after the scientist-like man has knocked on the door and it is being answered by the home owner.

"Oh thank goodness! The water buffalo whisperer is here."
"Hello folks, I understand you're having troubles with your water buffalo...can you tell me it's name?"
"Yes, she's named Shelly."
"That's a pretty Standard name... OK, What's the issue?
"Well, we've had her for a long time and just assumed things would always be the same with her; suddenly she became unreachable and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do to bring her back."
"Folks, you may have to face the real possibility that she's gone for ever, but we'll figure that out soon enough. I imagine you're feeling a bit of guilt over having taken her for granted for so long huh?"
"Yes, but our water buffalo support group has been helpful; we've realized that they were never meant to be in every home the way they are now...lots of countries don't have nearly the water buffalo per capita that we do in America."
"Is she drinking water folks?"
"No, but there's a common saying in the group, 'you can lead a water buffalo to water, but you can't make them last forever'."
"...heart warming; let's see what she has to say folks."
Making odd noises and hopping alternately on one foot and then the other, the whisperer attempts to make sense of the water buffalo's struggle.
In mid-hoppery, the spent buffalo keels over and ceases to exist.
"Well folks, you're going to have to find a replacement for her, and soon!"
"How can we possibly do that, water buffalo are all we've ever known!"
"May I suggest a replacement that is found locally and is in abundance in this area, and not one that has to be imported from across the world?"
"Get out you whispering menace! Anyone can come up with those kinds of plans...we just want an easy solution that you arrange for us...NOW!"
"Sorry folks, I'm not a miracle're gonna have to do some of the work yourselves. I've gotta go, I'm organizing a squirrel circus down the road a ways."
"...That's it, squirrels, they're everywhere! How do you make a squirrel a suitable replacement for a water buffalo?"
"They're smaller, so you have to get lots of them working together to get the same value from them, or you could adjust your expectations, accept that they are smaller and change what you expect from them."
"Thanks water buffalo whisperer, we'll try!"

And so, America slowly learned how to survive after the passing of water buffalo. Squirrels were eventually replaced by the ultimate renewable resource...rabbits.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Great Depression

The great depression was a turning point in our country's development; why is it that things have to get so bad before they get better? What's wrong with just keeping them evenly "okay", and why do some people have to suffer in order for others to prosper?

Usually I plan out my epiphanies carefully, but this one just up and hit me like a small brick: Oil prices dropped below $127/barrel, from over $140, and I could feel the relief in the idea that maybe things weren't so bad after all. I know they are, and I know that my industry has hard times ahead, but I was happy to put the blinders back on and feel some relief. I think they are more like filters than blinders because I am filtering out what I don't want to see in my direct path, and not blocking distractions in the periphery...that's the trouble with equestrian analogies, they are hard to accurately apply.

The world has changed, and even though you still hear people talk about a "good war to boost the economy," I don't think it will help. Rosie the riveter has been in a two income household since the late 70's, and eligible for combat duty for quite a while too...that leaves only the children at home to work in the factories while mom and dad are away reigniting the economy, add to that the lack of a good global-level villain and it becomes obvious that war is not the answer to bad times anymore.

That leaves us with responsible behavior and selfless thinking as avenues for change...we are in deep doodoo...a brief pause while I put on Vivaldi...suddenly I'm in a world of mandolins and pantaloons, where self absorbed people in castles enjoy the best things in life, even as the tax collector takes a few pennies from dirt covered peasants. Another small brick arrives unannounced; things have not changed in the history of humanity; we have always ridden the good times until they were long gone, and then, after discovering the true depth of the chasm we created, we begin to claw our way out and think how silly the generations before us were.

It's funny that after all is said and done I still feel better that oil prices are down, my company's stock price is up and the rumble of large American engines fills the roads around here...things aren't so bad. I think I'll buy some stuff that I want but don't really need; wasn't that the point of the stimulus checks? just get out there and spend some money...good times for all. That idea came from the top level of our leadership...deep, deep doodoo.

With the rising sun the good things in life are visible again...they have nothing to do with money: The sounds of birds, the feel of dirt on bare feet, the smell of morning dew; life is good. I almost feel like going back and editing out the negative parts of this, the trouble with that would be that I would have to accept that I just wasted an hour, and there would be very little left to read.

I woke up with a headache at 4:20 and am just now feeling better. I think I'll go for a run now. The things that count really are good, and they always will be.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Pyranees Mountain Stage

I was watching the tour de France and accidentally had an epiphany; a rider began his attempt to outrun the peloton too early and was soon caught and passed by everyone...he thought he was ready for something that was still ahead of him and he should have waited for it.

As I watched this I realized that I made the same error last year. I thought I was ready to simplify my life and head towards retirement...I was not, and the peloton went flying by. I was a little down about it when I realized that I may have as many as 25 years left to prepare for retirement, so I spent a few months lamenting things...forget about lemons, anyone can make lemonade; life gave me spikes so I made a spike strip. I don't think I'll ever use it, but I felt that I had to do something productive with the spikes I was given just to put a positive spin on it.

In the tour there is always next year; in life there are decades worth of next years, so my minor misjudgement isn't that significant except for the pain of reprogramming my expectations. But, in the process of simplifying things I learned a lot about what's important to me, and one of the choices I made took me far from the most important thing... my kids. There isn't anything I can do about it right now; I'm almost caught up with the peloton and I don't care. I feel like quitting this race and just saying "hey, this wasn't important to me after bad. By the way, can you have a mortgage annulled?"

I'm going to drag my spike strip out in the night and leave it on the road in front of the the ensuing pileup I'll slip off the side of the road and through the woods; no one will notice I'm gone. No, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to go to work and pay my bills and enjoy seeing the kids when I can; that's what adults do...stupid adults, stupid peloton. I think this analogy is played out so i will bid you adieu.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Selling off America

Let the games begin...

A Belgian company bought Budweiser; at least they have big horses.
The dollar is so weak that it's attractive to buy U.S. companies at ridiculously discounted rates...we're being exploited. Someone should do something about this, we have always been the ones that exploited weaker nations, and I for one do not like the roles being reversed. There must be someone who needs some exploiting besides us...we need a committee to investigate nations that are in worse financial straights than we are so we can try to redirect those greedy Belgians their direction. If we act now maybe we can save some of our other cherished icons like Phillip Morris, Jim Beam, Pizza Hut and Hot Pockets.

And now a word from a guest celebrity:
"Greetin's fellow Americans, I wanted to take this opportunity to say what a privilege it is to sell parts of our country to nations we once rescued from German occupationalizing. For those of you not familiar-like with sarcasm, that was a healthy dose of it. We need to progressify in the reformation of our world power status so we can once again, develop weaker nations. I believe that the answers to all our problems lie under several thousand feet of water off the Louisiana coast. Remember the "Pelican Brief?" It's like that but with no ecological to oil, the ecology is my number, I think one is's my number one concern, next to oil, so it's kinda like two but not."

Thank you oh honored scholar. So, you can see that it is clear that we must all unite, reunite really, and raise the status of America to Super Power once removed, then reinstated.

In case things go poorly, I lived in Germany and was married in Denmark; Belgium is like a second home to me really. I am always up for learning a new language as well. Guten abent.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hot, sticky, sweaty...ahhhhhhhhh.

The clouds settled in overnight and kept the temp up. I was a little tired when I began my run this morning but thanks to the humidity and warmth I warmed up and started sweating in about 28 seconds...roughly.The conditions that we have now are a recipe for sticky mornings, and I like recipes; you may want to write this one down.
1 part blazing hot day
1 part cumulus nimbus(cirrus is not recommended)
3 parts moisture laden air

Remove the heat of the day and let the evening to steep under a blanket of clouds. Allow 4-5 hours for humidity infusion and "Bam!" you've got a sticky morning; I'm actually getting used to it and enjoy it. I feel like I'm on a tropical vacation most of the time, except that there's no ocean nearby and lots of people chew tobacco and listen to country music instead of eating jerked chicken and listening to steel drums.

Not much else going on worth discussing. We spent the weekend transplanting roses, marigolds and spider plants that were around trees we're having cut down. It seems odd to go to great lengths to save month-old plants from being damaged while 20 year old trees are being destroyed...maybe we can get some speculators to come in and do some exploratory oil drilling around the yard too. Actually, I don't think we're too far from where the Clampetts came from, oil drilling may be the way to go...anything to destroy nature.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Belated understanding of a valid question that...

...was not understood to be so at the time. Several months ago I posted that I had been asked what the point of doing this was. At the time I was in the middle of adjusting to exposing my thoughts for the rare visitor to my spot to read, and caught up in the personal growth I was experiencing. Many months later I have realized that people like Hemingway and Cervantes are who they are for a reason, and I have been asking myself what is the point of doing this. I guess that my hope was to be able to write things that other people would enjoy and maybe appreciate, but that is a very difficult thing to achieve or verify. I read back over what I have written and I enjoy much of it and it makes me feel good to have done it, so I guess it has been worthwhile. Sometimes I would like to write things that will always be relevant and meaningful, like something my Grandma once told me when I had expressed regret over a life choice. It was written by John Greenleaf Whittier(sp?) and said something like: Of all sad words of tongue or pen, these are the saddest: what might have been.
That has always been meaningful to me. I read the rest of the poem and it was ok, but that part was awesome. There's another lesson: it doesn't all have to be perfect to be meaningful or enjoyable. I decided today that I would put on some Mozart and write something meaningful. Right off the bat it went awry as I chose Tchaikovsky instead, but I decided to push ahead and try to come up with something meaningful...yes, it's another list:
-Always check for toilet paper before you begin the task at hand.
-Never under estimate the power of a falling tree.
-Make sure you're alone if your fiber intake is way up for the day.
-Always think twice about only thinking once.
-People always notice a bad haircut.

Gotta go, my wife just got back from shopping and my unloading skills are needed.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Our First Independent 4th

I started the day with a patriotic run, and followed it up with some patriotic flapjacks. We ate at the Cracker Barrel, which is like a slice of Americana wrapped up in a cosy little breakfast joint. I had fresh "wild" Maine blueberry pancakes; in the last six months I have had the same thing there probably seven times. I began to wonder if they are really "wild" Maine blueberries...they have an awfully large supply of them, and Maine is not that big. They were good and I think that's what matters.
I read that red snapper is an endangered species, and yet many restaurants offer red snapper dinners...I think many are red snapper-like dinners. If whomever is eating it thinks it's red snapper and enjoys it, does it really matter? Legally I guess it does, but I would have ordered the pancakes even if they contained normal blueberries.
Next we went to BJ's's a costco knockoff...and asked if we could wander around and check it out before we decided if we wanted to belong. As we made our way through the first couple aisles I noted aloud that it was just like Costco and we didn't have to go through the whole store. I was quietly advised that that was precisely why we were going to enjoy it wife felt like she was back home in Washington and wanted to enjoy it for a while. I went to take a whiz and even the bathroom smelled like costco; the urinal cakes are very fresh smelling. We were missing the kids. Our daughter's at the coast for the weekend and unreachable, our son is heading to Fort Vancouver for the day, which is what we did as a family many times over the years... Costco-like familiarity was nice on our first independent independence day.

Growing up is hard.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


The thing about whittling is that you end up with something smaller than you started with, and, in it's smaller state, something that you wanted. The unnecessary parts lay on the ground around you and are soon discarded like so much garbage. As the pieces are swept up they flip over and over and we see all that they once had to offer; sometimes they still have much to offer but are whittled away simply because life is finite and whims are not. I'm still whittling, but some of the recent trimmings did not "go gentle into that goodnight."

Sometimes the idea of loss is more significant than the loss itself; admitting that I can't do everything I would like because my life will end before my imagination does, is hard to take because I enjoyed the days of thinking that I was invincible.

On the flip side, there's hummus. Hummus is a wonderful treat that I only recently became aware of. It stands to reason that there are other things like hummus just waiting to be discovered; embrace all things humussee and, "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Damn the tower of Babel

The far reaching effects of the the aftermath of the tower of Babel were not fully understood until this morning, on my way to work in the carpool. As I looked at the inner-city bus and all the African American faces on it, and the carpools full of white faces on the way in from the suburbs, I realized that there once was a day when everyone got along, and worked together for the good of humanity; those were the days of the thriving city of Babel.

Babel had it all: a cooperative society, a small carbon footprint, low taxes and one language...but it wasn't enough; they just had to taunt God with their impertinent vanity. They just had to build the tower that divided the world and landed us where we are today. Even if we understand each other today, our differences seem to be too great to overcome; the result of thousands of years of independent cultures that grew far, far apart.

Damn those Babylonians.

Maybe one day we'll all just get along, and once again work for the good of humanity. We'll ruin it though, we'll build a rocket that we think can reach God and, having crossed that line of Babel again, we'll be dispersed throughout the universe this time. That will go well for a while because we'll only be with people that look and talk like we do. Soon the whining begins though:
"Why is their planet closer to the sun?"
"Why do they have a better view of the heavens?"
"Why is our atmosphere made of acid vapors?"
Soon the shuttles will begin to carry us to them and them to us, and once we're there we'll all focus on our differences again and our minds will become the tiniest of slits that let very little in.

Kids look through the biggest, clearest do they become doors?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Magic 8- Ball

"Welcome to the first magic 8-ball state of the union address. We are here in the nations capitol with the President, a magic 8-ball and the all-American setting of a Washington Nationals - New york Yankees game. This evening's format will be: viewers text in proposed laws or changes to the constitution, our panel of three judges will determine which questions will be addressed, the President will ask the magic 8-ball the question and governmental choices will be made according to the answer received."
"Good evening Mr. President."
"Well hello there, it's a great night for baseball and the democratic processing."
"...Uh, yes sir. Well, let's get started sir; do you have a question for the 8-ball to get the evening going?"
"I do, who is gonna win this game?"
"It has to be a yes or no question sir."
"Oh, my bad, are the Yankees gonna win this contestify?"
"Well hot damn, I do not like Yankees."
Off camera whispering: "Get a different 8-ball in here, stat!"
"Sorry sir, we'll have this 8-ball replaced immediately."
"They are made in China sir and they don't always get the English correct."
"What? It said the Yankees are going down; what more do you want?"
In a whisper: "That's not how you spell "Likely" sir."
In a rather unenlightened non-whisper: "Son, I went to Yale and didn't pick up on that; you think the average deal or no deal watching American is gonna get a sublet error like that?"
"...Good one sir! (then, in a whisper: "sir, this is live.")
"I know that son and, as sure as my hands on a bible, that was just jokery."
More whispering: "It's television sir not radio; they can see your hands."
"...Get the secret service in here, someone absconded with my good book!"
"Well sir, this show has gone the way of your approval rating; any last ditch questions for the 8-ball that might salvage things?"
"Do we belong in Iraq?"
"Get this thing out a here and get me one that was made in the U.S.A."
"It just arrived sir."
'Well, let's give this another try with the same question."
"Damn Democrats! Get me a non-democratical 8-ball!"
"We've run out of time sir; I really don't know how to end this so we'll just stop here
Good night."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Democrats, what if...

I was running along thinking about the likelihood that the next president will be a Democrat. This, of course, led to thoughts of JFK, RFK...all the K's, even the ones that are now S's. Next came thoughts of Marylin Monroe and what a "tortured starlet's" life she led...what if she hadn't been a tortured starlet? What if she never met the Kennedy's? What if the Kennedy's and the mob never had her whacked?

Lee Harvey Oswald, an obsessively dedicated Marylin Monroe fan, never takes up his position in the book depository. He runs the Marylin Monroe fan club for 15 years before finally meeting her in person at a fan rally to rejuvenate her dying career, where he accidentally overhears her talking to her publicist:
"Give me a damn cigarette and lets get this over gosh do I have to take a crap."
Needless to say he lost all interest in her, moved out of his parents basement, got some counselling and a real job.

JFK serves two terms as president, brings peace to the middle east, rain to the mid-west and a new car to every garage. Without Marylin Monroe occupying his spare time, he masters the German language and gives his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in perfect high-German, after which Germany agrees to become the 51st state.

Young Teddy is so impressed with JFK's impact on the world that he devotes his life to the studies of man and nature; on a trip to Tibet he is recognized as the new Dalai Lama and is sought out by tortured Hollywood starlets for his world famous Himalayan karma cleansing therapy.

Marylin goes on to lose her looks, gain and lose untold numbers of pounds, and eventually starts a weight loss/ rehab clinic with Betty Ford and Liz Taylor. She leaves Joe Dimagio for Richard Burton each time he divorces Liz Taylor. Joe is always there for her when Liz and Richard reunite, and soothes her with freshly brewed cups of coffee.

Jack Ruby, unhappy with the 51st state, which he calls the kraut state, moves to the mountains of Idaho and starts a right-wing "black-powder" community, where he secretly plots an assassination attempt on JFK; the attempt fails when he leans too far out the book depository window and falls to his death. Upon hitting the ground his rifle discharges and accidentally kills a gunman hidden behind a bush on a nearby grassy knoll.

Elton John never writes "Candle in the wind" and, instead of performing the song at Princess Diana's memorial, is caught that night in an undercover sting operation in a public restroom with Hugh Grant and Boy George.

Mary Joe Kopechne never joins Teddy Kennedy in politics, and moves to a small town in northern Mass. where she raises a family of 5; she never lets them near the water due to an inexplicable aqua phobia.

In an unrelated development due simply to the butterfly effect, during an annual reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg, both sides realize what an incredible waste of life it was; all weapons are dropped and no one thinks about the civil war ever again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The night the lights went out in Georgia

My power went out a couple hours ago; after going through the necessary process, I reached acceptance. I got up from my now-useless computer and watched the rain fall. I wrote a poem I didn't understand, so I stopped doing that. The temperature in the house has climbed to a muggy 80 deg...not too bad really; I may have to open the windows tonight and let in the muggy 70 deg's.

Hershey and Oreos understand that something is different and showed up to play. Oreos hangs out on the edge of the playing and races away if she draws too much attention.

It occurs to me how sad it is that since I'm not watching sports or typing on the computer, even the animals know that my attention isn't spoken for. I don't like them getting this read on me so I take the portable air conditioner apart and figure out why it doesn't drain properly. After I put it back together, I play with them on my terms.

My chigger bites itch...a lot. The rotten little so-and -so's.

Hey! My power just returned and I have many clocks to reset and the A/C to turn way down. The chigger thing has me taking the sheets off the bed to wash much to do now that I have power again...oops, I tripped on the remote and ESPN came on; what are you gonna do?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Wonders of Nature

I ran half-mile repeats this morning, which is sort of a grueling workout. It wasn't as humid as yesterday, but it was still in the low 70's and humid enough to turn a 3:30 AM run into a sweat-fest. I generally favor fests because they are festive in nature; this sweat-fest I also enjoyed because of the sense of accomplishment I had after.

One drawback was that my feet and ankles itched terribly with the sweat, because I accidentally discovered chiggers over the weekend and have hundreds of tiny red dots all over my legs. Chiggers are not hard to find, if you seek them you simply need to leave some skin exposed and wander through tall grass, short grass, weeds or anywhere really; this is Georgia. I like it here a lot, there are just some things that I have yet to learn. I'm going to try not to learn much about cotton mouths or water moccasins in this fashion.

I like the new Coldplay CD, give it a listen.
Until our paths cross again, look both ways before proceeding.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mascline subtleties

So, I was baking cookies and took a break to let the animals out back. Oreos went down the deck stairs and to the edge of the landing where she likes to eat grass. I sat down next to her and talked to her.
"Why are you eating grass," I asked; "baby eats grass." I continued our conversation.
I thought of the office picnic I'm going to tomorrow and tried to imagine saying "baby eats grass" in front of "the guys."
I hopped up and grabbed a stick and some rocks and started hitting stuff and throwing some rocks.
"Hell yeah," I said as I hit a small sweet gum across the creek...
"Sorry buddy," I thought, "you're a beautiful little tree and...hey there's a woodpecker."
"Wood pecker eats larva," I thought.
I laughed and then hit some more stuff. My heart wasn't in it so I looked at the woodpecker some more; they are much smaller here than other areas I've lived.
"Doh," I ran in to check on the cookies.
On the way by I grabbed Oreos, who was tormenting a bug.
"Baby eats bugs," I told her.

...Oh well, some guys are just gruff and rough cut, guys like John Wayne and Ernest Borgnine; it's just not me.

"Oh my but those cookies smell delicious," I thought...Se la vie, it is what it is, auf passen der treppe.

The last one my German neighbor used to say when the stairs were icy. I think it means be careful on the stairs or something.

Friday, May 30, 2008

One way Karma

The Luna moth was on the back porch again this morning; I liked it better when I thought it was rare. They are huge; Oreos really wanted to torture it.

I saw on the news that Sharon Stone had to apologize for saying that China brought their recent earthquake on themselves. She thinks it's Karma for their mistreatment of Tibetans. I have yet to hear her apologize for Sliver, The quick and the dead, Basic instinct or any of her miserable movies. If she truly believed in Karma she would live in constant fear of something crushing her at any moment...lights out. But, like many stars with too much time and our money on their hands, the cause-of-the-week makes her feel better about life. Don't get me wrong, Tibet concerns me but I am really offended by Sliver too.

Why can't more stars be like David Hasselhoff? I've never heard him rant about anything, I'm not sure he can even spell rant. His series were true 80's trash, and he took the money and ran; he never thought his "fame" made him worthy of deciding world issues. His goofiness made Knight Rider mildly entertaining, and the car/man interactions were priceless.
"Be careful Michael I'm detecting two elevated heart rates inside, I suspect a struggle of some sort is taking place."
"Very funny Kit, I told you not to scan my house and my wife is home alone."
"It was just a joke Michael, did I hit a nerve?"
"When gas reaches $4 a gallon your powerful gas guzzling engine will render you obsolete."
"Oh please Michael, that will never happen."
"Last time Kit, don't scan my house."
"It's okay Michael, one heart beat just went out the back window."
"When they crush you Kit, I want to be there."
"Please Michael, that will never happen either. I need to get going, I am on my way to pick up Sharon Stone."

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I let the cat and dog out this morning and just got a hold of the cat again before she spotted this moth on the deck. We have many fascinating insects here, but I had never seen a moth like this. I grabbed the camera and snapped a shot of what was certainly rare and possibly unknown as of yet; it turns out that it is fairly well known and common; isn't that the way it always is? This particular Luna moth had a wing span of about 4 inches and looked like a sea ray. Not much else going on here, just heat and humidity and me with nothing to say for once. I guess I'll leave it at that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The notebook

I have eight or ten notebooks I have written in over the last few years. We have moved many times, so they vanish and reappear as boxes stand in varying states of emptiness, or fullness if you're more optimistically inclined. While they are missing I replace them, and then find the old ones and end up writing in several of them at once; until today I had not filled one up. I have filled them with nonsense, but never completely; I have completely failed to express what I had hoped to express, but not on every page; I have covered every page I wrote on with my ramblings, but never on all the pages...until today. It amazes me how long I can take to say nothing, but with all that puffed up.....okay I'll stop. Just trying to recognize a milestone...a milestone of touchstones with which I have measured the quality of my life, or more accurately the quality of what has made up my life.

I'm reminded of a funny story; an old friend of mine contacted me a couple years ago. He is a senior manager for a major food company now, and when he called me he was surprised to hear that I wasn't famous or something.
"Nope, me just mechanic." I spit out between mouthfuls of turkey taken right off the drumstick I walk around with. We didn't talk again. I emailed him a few times as I came across his name in a magazine or in an article on the net...I think he screens his email and blocked me as spam. Oh well, he used to try to charge me a quarter to play the pinball machine at his house...real friends don't do that. Take your money and fame, I've got touchstones, and turkey legs.

The playoffs beckon...I've actually gotten into the NBA again. It has been ten years or so since I watched any games. The biggest change I've seen is the tattoos. One guy had a small paragraph on his shoulder; it had some conflicting tenses and mixed metaphors but I'm no grammatical genius, so... live and let live. Another guy had a maze tattoo I think; the camera didn't stay on him long enough for me to get through it so I'm not sure. Game 3 is starting, gotta go.

Auf wiedersehen

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


You know who you are! I feel awful that I just realized I didn't send you a card. It's a weak excuse but there has been so much going on, still is really, that I haven't focused on anything important like your birthday for a while. Our house closed today and the money is in the bank so there is a lot less going on now; as I wrote the date today I realized what that makes tomorrow.

YOUR BIRTHDAY!! WOO HOO. We will celebrate the day you were born, because that was a special day. You are in the top three women (along with our Mom and my wife) who have influenced my life, and that means a lot to me.

And now a word from your sister-in-law... "no, I'll say it to her when I see her. It's not my blog; leave me alone and let me pack. I mean it, just write what you want to and I'll tell her what I want to when I see her."

Hershey and Oreos long to express themselves but lack the means, just know they care about you and wish you a happy birthday.

I'll see you in a couple weeks at one of the events that's eating up your time in it's planning stages.

I love you, happy birthday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thoughts of my daughter

The beauty of the morning was dampened only slightly by the soreness in my legs; yesterdays long run became this mornings stiffness. As the miles disappeared behind me and blood carried away the bad stuff and brought in the spinach and tomato pizza I ate last night, my legs loosened up and I enjoyed the end of the run.

I thought about many things as I ran, but mostly about my daughter and son. I thought of a poem about my daughter; it's kind of based on a day when she was four. She's in Washington and I'm in Georgia, and there's enough time and distance between us now that we're not as familiar as we once were...I miss her.

What began as a dream quickly encompassed everything. Then, like swirled moments of time overlaid, one becoming lost in another, it was gone.
She carried an apple along a dusty path.
Shaded patches of grass held her in soft contrast.
A warm wind ruffled the long folds of her pale blue dress.
Soft curls of blond hair framed a peaceful and natural beauty that glistened slightly in the late fall warmth.
Small brown freckles covered her tiny nose and thinned as they spread high across her cheeks.
Her lips parted slightly in a reflective smile as she moved easily down the path and disappeared around a bend.
The air hung heavily; a branch moved slowly with the passing of a lone bird.
Suddenly the path was only dirt, the air hot and humid and the world felt empty.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Food Chain

My cat is lovable, cuddly and a source of great joy, she is also a ruthless killer. Unprovoked, she kills with amazing quickness and, when necessary, unbelievable patience. I watched her leap straight up four feet and grab a moth out of mid-air. Her killing isn't so troubling, because the victims are several notches down the food chain. Dogs are capable of killing humans, so their attacks are big news; psychotic, serial killing cats are no danger to us, so their killing is amazing and sort of insignificant instead of sickening and wrong.

Actually, our perspective on human killings is sort of compartmentalized too. Few people fret over the daily killings in Kenya, Tibet, the Gaza Strip, L.A., New York or Atlanta, unless you live near there or know people who do; if it's far enough away it almost doesn't matter.

My cat rolls over and over, enticing me to pet her. She briefly grabs my arm and playfully tries to rip out it's soft underbelly with her rear claws while mock-biting my hand. I look at her eyes and see the joy in them and I'm glad she's so small; she's definitely an emotionless killer when she wants to be. I'm pretty sure she's psychotic.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's never too dead

Yep it's dead, so let's get out that crop and get to work.

Oil was over $127.00 a barrel yesterday, and last night I saw a commercial on TV from that evil airline that started the trend of sending US jobs to central America so they could sell cheaper tickets. The gist of the ad was that it's much better to go to an NBA game than to watch it on TV, and with $59 dollar fares it's possible. There just isn't much to say...we are doomed.

Like the flight of Icarus, the wax holding our feathers on is getting soft and, as we fly farther into the face of danger, they'll soon be stripped from us like a bad cartoon; we'll creep away, covering our privates, and with a nervous smile that reveals chattering teeth.

It's like the Cindi Lauper song in the 80's:
"The phone rings in the middle of the night; China says we'll take your jobs, make your load light. Oh China dear you're the new number one, and Americans just want to have fun. Whooaoh Americans just want to have fun. That's all they really waaaaannnnt, Americans just want to have fun."

Clear!...beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep beep beep beep. Doh, I won't be able to come back here any more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Used oil and sagging buns

A guy I work with drives a large truck with a 200 gallon tank in the back of it that he collects waste oil in to make bio-diesel. The weight of the tank makes the rear of the truck squat noticeably. Recently the tank was removed, but the rear of the truck is stuck in a permanent squat.

As I was running this morning it occurred to me that the same thing happens to people as we carry life's burdens around and don't unload them often enough; sometimes it wouldn't hurt to just say "sorry, I can't carry that right now." It's something that I have a hard time doing; I hear about the struggles of people I care about and they become mine too. Add to this my own supply of struggles and you have a recipe for a squatting rear end. Down here in Georgia I hear a lot less than I used to about the struggles of my people, my peeps, my posse, and as a result I've had a few brief spells of standing tall and stretching out muscles that have been frozen in a squat for quite some time. I know it's my own lack of skills that amplifies life's effects on me, and I feel bad that being mentally removed from some of the things that I suffer through, but couldn't possibly change, has helped me heal. I wish I could be supportive without becoming catatonic, neurotic or's heavy...the whole squatting rear end thing...whatever.

Damned -ic words anyway, hardly a good one in the bunch...let's explore that:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Your best and what that means

This morning was scheduled as a Marathon Paced run, which means that, after a warm-up period, I would run the bulk of my run at my MP. The thing is that on any given day it takes a different effort level to achieve MP. If the effort for the day is lower than expected than I may exceed expectations, but when it falls into this AM's category, expectations are not met if time is the only factor. So, several years ago I adopted the effort based training approach that is Heart Rate training. This AM as I climbed a long gradual hill in the warm, humid and allergen laden air, my HR climbed well above what I allow for my marathon effort run. I slowed down and had to accept the slower pace for the HR. The quality of the effort was the goal, and the sustained effort at an acceptable HR made it a success. The point is that there are multiple factors that determine success in any endeavor, and recognizing them all is key. You can only be your best on any given day, and you can't always predetermine what that means.

That said, there is a fine line between actual limitations and perceived limitations. The mind is powerful enough to ruin a run if you let it convince you that you just can't do it today; conversely, it can get you in trouble if you power through a situation that really requires you to back off.

Our best is subjective, and unless we have a way to measure it like a per-mile pace then how do we know if we have achieved it? Mostly we try and fail, try again while trying not to fail and try to not fail-to-try. It's a process that doesn't seem to have defined boundaries; some people start "going for it" at a young age, and we all have room to improve until we are no more. So, the worst thing you can do is not try to be your best at something, and if you're not failing then you probably are not understanding what your best could be.

There are always sacrifices involved with achieving goals and they are what trip most of us advice there except "just get it done." In the long run, the power you gain as you overcome your mind's limitations provides a great deal of satisfaction.

Run, always run.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Where are the Care Bears when you need them?

Things have been amazingly unremarkable lately, or I have been so tense over changes going on in my life that I am missing all the things that normally catch my eye.

I had a dream that I was sleeping on a cot on the tarmac at the airport. My cot was very low to the ground which let my sheets hang down and touch. Someone had spilled coke everywhere and it was wicking up my sheets making the edges dark and moist. When I saw this I had to get up, and I wandered through the bag carts and fuel trucks. I was smoking a foot-long cigarette and I saw the fuel truck drivers discussing my presence. I heard them say it wasn't their problem so I decided to head to some of the empty planes nearby to watch a movie. When I couldn't get on a plane I saw another group of people loading bags and discussing if they should find out why I was there.
I woke up at this point or simply forget the rest, but what I do remember was vivid and stressful. It had a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas feel to it; I can't recommend this movie to anyone, but I enjoyed it very much. It was about Hunter S. Thompson and was another Johnny Depp character taken to eerie extremes. I once recommended Pulp Fiction to my Mom and she questioned my character for a while after seeing it; I like interesting characters and non-traditional stories...sue me. No, don't sue me, I don't think my fragile state of suspended animation can take much more right now. The current crises are mostly beyond my control, and if you know me you know that since becoming an adult (okay, since I turned 30 or 35) I like to have control over my life.
Enough about mountain trail run this AM was cancelled due to receiving paperwork that I have to see a lawyer about...nothing criminal; the statute of limitations is up on mostly everything they could pin on me at this point. Thank goodness someone had sense enough to establish a statute of limitations; usually lawyers are just irritating because we live in a blame everyone else society, and also because most politicians are lawyers, but this time they pleased me. Enough about me...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A triumphant return to nonsense

I have been writing everyday but I haven't been able to sit down at the computer and do anything with it; I have been so distracted. I know I'm distracted when I neglect Hershey. Yesterday she tried to get me to go over to her bowls for hours; I knew she had water so I kept telling her that it wasn't time to eat yet. I made her go out twice and finally discovered her in the bathroom trying to get into the toilet. As I said, I saw that she had water, so I went to the bowls with her to see what was wrong. She has a new self-filling bowl with a gallon tank on it and it was full, but I had to coax her to drink from it. As I turned to walk away she jumped back from her bowl shaking. I got her to drink again but she was very timid about it. This time I saw the bubbles go up as the bowl filled itself, and she sprang back again. I sat with her and petted her as she drank nearly half a gallon...she had been so thirsty and too afraid to get water, it was a sad moment for petownerhood.

Other than that things are going along in a state of suspended animation. I ate too much last night, but I ran too much this morning so it worked out. You wouldn't think that two acts of excess would balance each other out, and I suppose that ultimately they aren't. It's probably all just building up and one day I'll burst into flames or simply explode. The people who knew me will say "I don't get it, he was so calm."...okay, no one will ever say that about me. Hey, at least I wear my anxious demeanor on my sleeve; it's not like you think you're getting yoga and you get was a mosh pit the whole time.

The stars have been beautiful on my morning runs, partly because there has been no moon and you can see them all, and partly just because they are there every morning. I have noticed since I've been here that they are in pretty much the same spot in the sky everyday. I have also noticed that groups of them form recognizable shapes. This morning I saw a wireless mouse, a sailboat, a piece of gum and a partridge in a pear tree. I don't know why the partridge thing makes me smile, it's not like I don't know it's dumb. Sometimes simple things that make me smile are not explainable, things like:
- Poop
- Making fun of those less fortunate than I
- Envisioning the secure future of oil execs and the warm feeling it brings
- Catchy business slogans like "The world is flat." (also poop)
- President Bush being dropped on his head as a 4 year old, a six year old, at 10,12 and fourteen years old.

Yeah..welcome back me!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Somewhere in America

On a busy intersection in a small city the sun is shining brightly and the streets are coming to life with the bustle of the business world. A young boy sells papers to the rushing crowd, as the smell of coffee fills the air from a street vendor's espresso machine...

"Extra, extra read all about it! Say, mister, want to buy a paper?"
"Well I should say so; better give me a second one for my neighbor."
"Golly mister that's sure swell of you."
"You're the best kid, here's a nickel for you."
"Gee thanks mister."
"Don't mention it kid."
"Mister, don't miss the story on page one about the Reverend Wright; it turns out that whatever he says can be considered to have come directly out of Senator Obama's mouth."
"Thanks kid, any other stories I shouldn't miss?"
"Golly sir, since you asked:"
- "Page two explains that Exxon has broken it's own record for annual earnings three years in a row, even as gas prices approach $4 per gallon."
-"Also on page two, many areas had their worst winter in recent history...could it be global cooling?"
"You're a wealth of knowledge kid, here's another nickel."
"Jeepers, that's swell of you mister...oh, also, they are predicting that gas could reach $10 per gallon eventually."
"Holy cow son, what should we do?"
"Well sir, if we all don't buy gas for a day the oil companies will nearly go bankrupt and will have to lower gas prices..."

EDITORS NOTE: You could almost hear the whistling air and smell the smoke as the young newsy's stock went down in flames; in one misstep he was reduced from a wealth-of-knowledge to a nuisance.

"Aw heck kid, now I can't trust anything you said; for all I know the Rev. Wright's words may not actually represent Obama's thoughts after all."
"Gee sir, you just gotta believe me about the oil companies, they are pure evil."

EDITORS NOTE: His stock leveled off with this bit of insight, and began a slow ascent back to wealth-of-knowledge status.

"All right kid, see you tomorrow."
"Have a nice day sir."

As we withdraw slowly from the scene, the young newsy is enveloped in the crowd as he subtly mops his brow and shudders at how close he came to losing his "street savvy" credibility. Now, far enough away to give us a view of the whole city, we see a string of Rolls Royces entering Exxon headquarters. As they turn their cars over to valet parking, we see that most of them have dark moustaches that are twisted and curled at the ends. As they enter the building they remove black top hats, capes and monocles; one of them kicks a nearby puppy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008 to avoid this one

The hands of time need to slow down a little. My daughter is older than I was when she was born, and that was only yesterday in some parts of my mind. In the years that followed her birth, the speed of times passing steadily increased, until it reached the point where Monday seems to be followed by Friday, which is just as amazingly followed by Monday again. Everything in between evaporates into tiredness and a growing list of things I should be getting done.

I apologize in advance for the following diatribe, feel free to skip it.

I saw the movie Stop Loss; it was not a good movie, neither happy nor enjoyable. It did make me think about the war in Iraq, which is a quality I always appreciate in a movie. It's really a mystery why we are still there; I don't see any good coming from it in any way. I think our arrogance misleads us: our way is the best, and everyone else should want the same things that we do. When we are no longer in Iraq, they will go back to living the way they prefer; the region has been politically and religiously unstable forever, so it must be the way they like to live. Also, a soldiers life has more value than this war assigns it, and yet we won't let these willing volunteers go home when their duty is done? What about the lady who protested her son's death in Iraq? she was simply labeled a fanatic and anti-American. The fact that she was able to protest outside the president's ranch is why being American has so much value, and this war is doing nothing to protect that value. Let's just state that terrorists and the countries that harbor them will be held responsible for their actions...enough said, we're done in Iraq.

If the government really wants to help our country, stop sending our jobs overseas. (Except Steve Jobs, he can go to Taiwan and oversee the production of his products) My company has sent many jobs to China and Mexico, we had to in order to compete with Southwest and JetBlue, who both sent many US jobs to middle America and are heralded as "The Perfect Business Models." We have been reduced to consumers in the US; the industry that made our country great is now making China great and Wal-Mart is a showcase for their talents. Perhaps the coming recession will make us appreciate hard work and sacrifice again.

I believe that we live in the greatest country in the world, but we have our flaws and need to recognize them to improve ourselves. Life has been too easy for us and we're out of touch with what's important.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Drowning in oil

It has been an interesting week...

My company announced first quarter losses of 274 million, as well as a somewhat confusing imaginary loss of 6.1 billion. The imaginary part of the loss is the actual devaluing of the company based on the incredible rise in oil prices.
After the recent collapse of an irresponsible mortgage system, where lenders gave money to unqualified buyers, and unqualified buyers accepted loans they couldn't possibly pay off once the falsely low ARM expired, the rest of the iceberg is slowly revealing itself. By the time it's fully embedded in our hull, and Leonardo and Kate are balancing on the top rail as we go under, there will be no room in the life boats for most of us. Sam Walton's relatives will be jabbing at us with oars as they sail off to safety with the CEOs of EXXON and Chevron, a rainbow-ee film trailing behind them as they run their fingers through the water. In another boat Bill Gates and Steve Jobs cling to each other like long lost brothers, chuckling over the idea that he could have been named Steve Jobs-To-Taiwan.
As we sink slowly into the depths, our hair floating around us like Medusa, small bubbles emerging from our nostrils as we try to hold our breath, a friendly dolphin appears and guides to Atlantis. We live out our days in peace, harvesting kelp and achieving enlightenment through the tutelage of our Alien rulers. We will be relieved to find Amelia Earhart there, alive and in a better place...
Maybe not.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pinocchio in the moon

The sky was full of stars this morning, and a single band of clouds stretched across the sky from east to west in a narrow, unbroken strip. The nearly-full moon glowed brightly, its oval shape and the placement of its dark craters gave it the appearance of a sad face, filled with remorse. It looked like Pinocchio when he realized that Jiminy Cricket was right about choices and their consequences; as his tail swished, his eyebrows raised slightly and the corners of his mouth turned down, his lips parted slightly. A night spent partying with the lost boys had robbed him of his innocence and, more importantly, had taken years off Geppeto's life as he sat home and hoped for the best.

The trouble with puppets is that you can give them life but you can't decide what they'll do with it. You send them to the best puppet schools and set them up with decent duds and a good conscience, but the lost boys are always out there, lurking in the shadows, promising fun with no reprisals.

I looked at the moon again and thought, "you brought this on yourself, suck it up."

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Global warming, cod and ineptitude

Just a few years ago President Bush the 2nd called into question the validity of the Kyoto Protocol, and wanted to open the protected wilderness of Alaska to oil drilling. Now, in 2008, he has outlined a plan to reduce carbon emissions somewhat by 2025. You can almost hear the conversation that provided the impetus for change. In a modest fishing yacht off the coast of Kennebunkport, ME, father and son rule the world.

"The warmifying of these waters makes it so a good American can't hardly catch a decent North Atlantic cod."
"Yes son, it's a problem the Democrats created."
"There must be something somebody can do!"
"Maybe you can do something son."
"Maybe I can get Colin Powell to come back and head up a committefication; I'll give it a catchy name and have a fall guy in case things go ungood."
"Not a bad idea son; remember my Thousand Points of Light scheme?"
"Hmmm...Thousand Points of Less Global Warmnessification."
"I wish your brother were President."
"...Thousand Points of Conservationalismitude."
"Just stop."
"Well dang Daddy, I just want to catch me a cod and these warm waters are preventing it; I wonder what Al Gore is up to, he certainly could use the work, heh heh heh."
"Even that you owe to your brother, for Floridas "hanging chad" controversy."
"I really need to call Jeff and thank him again."
"It's Jeb son...please be quiet now."
"Rrrrrrr, rasemfrasemelizingly."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Running lessons

In the wake of my companies announcement that we are merging with a rival, and the painstaking effort that was put into explaining why this is so good for everyone, even as the stock price fell considerably, I am reminded of a lesson that I learned the hard way on some cold and miserable runs: Always finish with the wind.

I left my hotel in Butte MT and headed east for an early morning 10 miler. The way out was cold but manageable; I ran hard and sweat considerably. The way back was entirely unacceptable and there was not a damn thing I could do about it. My wet t-shirt clung to me and My forehead hurt in the 30 deg wind; it was mid-June so the light snow was unexpected, so much so that I had no gloves or hat. Had I been fortunate enough to turn into the wind right away, I would have known what was ahead of me and that it would end well.

For the last 20 years I have run into the wind, mostly on midnight shift and in the rain. This was supposed to be the point where I headed home with the wind at my back. Instead, the damn wind keeps changing directions and I'm wet and tired with no gloves or hat again.

As enjoyable as this has been to read up to this point, here's where we head in a new direction.
I heard on the news that there is a 99% chance that in the next 30 years L.A. will experience a major earthquake. Where did I go wrong? That should have been my job, I could have gone nationwide with those sorts of predictions; following the rather large safety net of, "In the next thirty years there is a 99 % chance that," I could have predicted most things that are likely to happen, things like:

-Florida will suffer several devastating hurricanes.
-Sierra Nevada passes will be snowed in.
-Phoenix and Tucson will get very hot.
-Vancouver Wa will be cold and wet a lot.
-In Boston the Red Sox will win the world series as the curse of The Babe fades.
-Tiger Woods will win two golf tournaments on the same day in different cities. (while we will question this, there seems to be no limit to what he can achieve and we will ultimately accept it.)
-The presidency will become somewhat of a joke, and decisions will be made in weekly state of the union addresses with a magic 8-ball.
-Tom Cruise will star in a movie that focuses on quips and "money-shots" of his winning smile.

All right, all right...enough already. You attack Tom and you've gone too far. I'm a little weak on my L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics, but I think he can put a hex on me or something.

You have been most patient, and I appreciate it.

Peace be with you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wireless dongle rides again

I just had another good laugh at wireless dongle's expense...I hope we're all on the same page here. My P seems to be weak; I keep having to go back to fix words like hoe that should be hope, which leads me to believe that I have P issues.

I saw on the news that some teens got together and filmed each other beating up another girl...what the hell is wrong with us? How do you get a room full of people that are so disturbed that not one of them can say or feel , "this is not right?" It makes my stomach hurt and is probably one of the reasons that I read the paper more than I watch the news; I can skip articles that I don't like, and I can conjure up much softer images to go with the story than the news insists on showing. I still haven't recovered from watching the forklift push the sick cows around and drop them from the back of a truck.

I need some peaceful insight into our collective soul... I wish I were the Dalai Lama, although this is not a good time to be in Tibet. Fortunately we have the Olympics to hold over China's head; if boycotting some sports can't make them be decent to Tibet, than probably nothing else will work.

Mozart is now soothing my senses, the sun is just ready to come over the horizon, and I have brewed a wonderful cup of coffee...things aren't so bad. Spring is here and I have some weeds with delicate little flowers that are almost making me not want to spray roundup on them; when weeds win your sympathy then life is good.

After missing some running due to the flu this winter, and then having a mild shin irritation slow me down, I have refocused my goals on the Portland marathon in the fall. That gives me five months to perfect my preparation for a good comeback.

This feels more like a group e-mail or monthly news letter than my usual ramblings, but that's okay. I must say that the word I shows up in abundance in my writing...I think I need to broaden my horizons so I have more to consider than simply what I am up to. I could make pictographs to represent what I have to say, but every other picture would be of an eyeball. I'm going to start mixing in some other languages into my writing, so don't be surprised to see things like: Yo, Ich, and Je.

Have a good day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wireless dongle

I don't have anything to say about dongles of any sort; I heard that term this morning and got a nice chuckle out of it so I thought I would share it with any of you who are dongle illiterate as I am.

As I ran this morning, a little old Datsun pickup went by me and reminded me of our ongoing fuel crisis, and how ignorant we seem to be. In the 70's my dad bought a couple little Datsun pickups; I can vouch for at least one of them as being nearly indestructible, and they were better on gas than today's small trucks. The industry average for fuel economy in the US in 1974 was better than it is today. How is that even possible? No one seems to care though, I work with many people who drive huge four door trucks with massive engines; they like the power and image, as the following clearly illustrates:
"It could pull a house!" he said, brimming with pride.
"Do they make anything bigger?" I wondered, "what if you need to pull two houses?"
"Smart ass!" he said; some of his pride was displaced by disgust.
"If it had two more doors it could be a limo-truck." I observed.
"I could drive right over the top of that little focus you drive!" pride once again winning out.
"That will come in handy; you're right, you have the better vehicle." I conceded.

As you can see, while I have good ideas about how things should be, I will never be a good representative for the cause. We just seem to be going backwards on so many issues, it's almost like the worse things get the more cavalier our attitudes become. When people won't buy small cars for reasons like they can't pull houses, or they won't be able to run over other vehicles anymore, then you know we have lost touch with reality. We need to come up with a really stiff fine for driving over other vehicles, and pulling houses should be illegal except at the fair. I guess we would just manufacture other absurd reasons to need big vehicles:

"If I get into some flaming quicksand, I just want to be able to blast right through it; try that in your focus!"

"If I get into a situation where I'm trapped under a semi, that just illegally drove over me, I want to be in a solid enough vehicle to survive so I can sue the jerk."

It occurs to me that I am ridiculous and it's time to go now.
Use less gas...Amen.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A leaf on the asphalt

I arrived early for the carpool this morning and had a few moments to listen to Bob Seger and check out the vacant, dimly lit parking lot where we meet. There are a few perimeter lights that glow softly and provide minimal lighting; this is a church parking lot, so there is an assumed level of protection that requires little lighting.

On the ground next to my car was a single leaf, brown and crisp, that must have been there since last winter. In the middle of this sea of asphalt, this leaf was being denied a place in the circle of life. It's destiny was to return to the soil through a long, slow decaying process that leaves a trace of sweetness in the air, instead it lay there looking out of place and without a purpose.

We have paved over our planet; I wonder how many flooding issues are due to the lack of open soil for water to filter into. In heavy rains the street drains overflow, the streams they drain into overflow, and it all disappears into the rivers immediately instead being absorbed back into the ground.

Across the street, a tree caught my eye. A large sweet gum had grown up around a street lamp and was illuminated by it from the inside. With the darkness of early morning behind it, this artificially lit tree was beautiful. We have done some amazing things here on earth, they just don't get the attention they deserve because they are so common place that we just accept them and move on. The idea of having power available around an entire planet is phenomenal, we just need to be responsible about our consumption so the phenomenon can continue into the foreseeable future. Like so many other things that harm us, in America we have perfected the art of overindulgence.

I think I'll just show up on time for the carpool from now on.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Infinitely finite

And, for a penny the world fell away...
As I journeyed through my mind, some moments live forever as evolving remnants of a glimpse, one that could no more have captured a soul than a fleeting smile. I fell through a rainbow, briefly aglow in sublime imagination. I sailed past God and found an extraordinary answer cast powerfully by ordinary people, the peacefulness within divine.
On I fell, in and out of focus, purpose and meaning at times clear and tangible, then darkness squeezed the breath from my lungs. Immersed in cold emptiness to the limit of my ability to endure it, I was suddenly flooded with warmth and clarity... in the absence of pain it is difficult to remember its power.
I tumbled on as flashes of peace, passion, success and acceptance taunted my desire to just be.
I tumble on, but someday it will be complete, this mottled trail that has no answers, and rests solely on the hope that goodness is enough of a reason.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Goldfish syndrome

I was sitting here doing a little computer work and listening to Mozart, with my headphones so I don't disturb my is her office; after an hour or so I realized that the music was sounding very familiar, more so than just listening to a favorite CD, this was more like "I just heard this."

My cat walks over my portable CD player to get to my partially open desk drawer, which eventually leads her to a basket with a blanket in it on top of my bookcase. In the process today, she changed the mode on the player to repeat, not repeat the whole CD, just the one track. I'm not sure how many times I listened to symphony no. 40 in G minor, but eventually I caught on. In my defense, with no words it's easier to just get lost in the music, although I do have a history of getting lost, literally and figuratively. I once had to stop riding my bicycle about 15 miles from my house and wait until I remembered where I was; that one bothered me a little.

I heard somewhere that by the time a goldfish swims full circle around it's bowl, it has forgotten everything it once knew, and everything is new again. (if I could have worked a Gnu into the story it would have made for a nice homonym progression) Anyway, the goldfish theory would be difficult to prove. I suppose you could wait for them to go by the same spot each time, give them a little jolt of electricity and see if they kept coming around. That's where it gets sticky though, we would assume they had forgotten the previous shock if they kept returning for more, but we would be ruling out defiance, stupidity and nerves that don't actually feel pain the way we understand it.

I guess the point is that sometimes it's nice to be so relaxed and lost in thought that the world goes on without you and everything is still ok. The same beautiful music comforts completely, as it winds back into itself and the beginning and end are lost.

I think we'll be ok, but we'll know more tomorrow.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just reaffirming that I am simple

Star log entry:
Star date - 04/03/08
Star time - 0550 (that's 5:50 AM to you and me)
Star place - Sharpsburg

What began as what can only be described as a partially cloudy and mild morning, quickly turned into a partially cloudy and mild mid-morning. Rain is in the forecast, but our supplies are low and it is welcome.

Running is going well; the inspiration from witnessing last weekend's Atlanta marathon is still lingering. My mileage is slowly climbing, my weight is slowly dropping, the economy slowly withers, and a partridge in a pear tree.

I'm working on an idea for some sort of a strip that you put under your tongue, and then you compare its colors to a chart on the bottle. In short order, you receive an accounting of any deficiencies in your diet, and maybe even any chemical imbalances. Or, a talking strip reader may be the way to go. A soft southern accent could tell you:

"Y'all need a little vitamin C, some of Grandma's okra, just a smidge of ginkgo biloba, some lithium, half a fried green tomato, and two scoops of metamucil; Y'all follow that recipe and you'll feel better than a ring tail possum in a bag of eucalyptus leaves."

Peace be with you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My company is sending me to a two day class this week. The goal of the class is to show that, as humans, we tend to make common mistakes that cost the company money and decrease the quality of our product......sorry, I nodded off.

The class does have some positive aspects: I get to sleep until 6:15, I get to spend the day in a quiet and comfortable environment and I get to wear something other than my uniform. I have glanced around the room and am pretty sure that I know who the ones are that make all the mistakes; I never understand why they don't just go to the culprits, why do the rest of us have to feel like there's a chance that the class may be about us?

We are all on break at the same time, so there's an inevitable backup in the men's room. When it's my turn I step up to the urinal, making sure to honor the vertical line rule. For those unfamiliar with the men's urinal, the vertical line is the comfort zone directly in front of you. It's perfectly acceptable to check out the tile work above you, the craftsmanship involved with the urinal installation, and even down to check the quality of your stream.

After verifying that flomax won't be a part of my immediate future, I noticed my shoes. I was wearing my rather wide utilitarian shoes that I call bowling shoes. I'm not sure how this style became popular; these shoes have a squared off toe, smooth leather panels that are connected with exposed stitching of a contrasting color, and a wide flat sole. I was thinking that I could water ski in these shoes; I could see myself skiing along with one hand held high making circles in the air above my head, which is the universal sign for "take me by the dock." I would probably try to drop a shoe, see if I could slalom for a bit.

Back in class we assembled Lego tractors in teams of four. I was the wheel and power drive installer, as well as the inspector for quality control. I was able to name my desk mate, who was late getting back from break, as our supervisor. We finished first and had a few small errors that quality control had to answer for. I explained the undue pressure our supervisor placed on us in his desire to be done first, and the focus quickly shifted to what is commonly accepted as the main human factor involved in failure...the boss.

All in all a good day. It's off to basketball tonight. I went out over the weekend and, after purchasing a basketball, practiced my layups. When the breakaway happens tonight, I just may score.

.Hasta la vista.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Oatmeal and donuts

After enduring three terrible weeks of coffee withdrawals, I smelled a fresh espresso at the Starbucks which was conveniently placed near the entrance to my grocery store. The fresh coffee smelled so good, and that's when I figured out why I stopped drinking it; I had stopped enjoying it, and really just needed it. I went over and bought a small Cafe Estima blend, and my gosh was it good. I now drink a 12 oz cup of coffee once a day, and I am still enjoying it tremendously... I think I need to get new coffee cups at home though, the smaller amount of coffee is like a puddle in the bottom of some of my cups...I think I could stretch leather over some of my cups and create a trendy set of kettle drums. Maybe I could move to Santa Fe, NM and sell my creations, or I could buy an old store there and help dead people cross over to the light, I wonder what that pays?

So, what does this all have to do with global warming? Absolutely nothing. Now, the fire flies that were out in our yard last night, in March, that may have something to do with it. If we could only figure out a way to seasonally upset the design of the universe; I really like spring, summer and fall the way they are, but if we could develop some intelligent cfcs or pvcs that would float up and do a little seasonal damage to our atmosphere to make winter more palatable, I would vote for that. I have yet to hear the candidate that supports seasonal global warming, in fact, I have yet to hear the candidate that has even acknowledged that we are doing anything wrong here on planet earth. I wonder if lots of bombs going off could add to the warming effects? Wouldn't that be funny, if we spent one trillion dollars blowing things up in Iraq, and they spent what ever they could afford blowing us up, and the side effect was the increase of global warming? The short answer is NO, it's not funny at all, the only shorter answer is N, and that just doesn't make any sense.

All of this brings us around to oatmeal and donuts, a double stack cheese burger and a diet coke, salad with bacon on it, "fat free" potato chips with olestra, and the list goes on; oxymorons that illustrate our desire to do what ever we want to, and have no consequences. The guy who has the desk next to me at work is trying to trim some weight by eating better foods. Yesterday he tried oatmeal and donuts; not gonna work. What we need are super donuts; these lumps of deep fried goodness would be enriched with things like crestor, fiber, laxatives, and antioxidants to counteract the harm they do.

Well, the sun is coming up and it's already 50 degrees; there's not a cloud in the sky and I think 40 degrees would be a more normal temp on a March morning, but it is so beautiful out and the day promises to be gorgeous so I can't really complain; just send me an economic stimulus bribe and I'll keep my mouth shut.

Peace out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Am Alive

The fog settled in over the barren, dimly lit field. The sky was dark, the threat of tornadoes ominous. We gathered silently, apprehensive about what was ahead of us, unsure of what to expect.

Okay, that's not really an accurate description. It had been a beautiful, sunny day, and had transitioned into a beautiful, starlit night. The fields covering the 10 acre sports complex were illuminated in the artificial daylight of the intense floodlights, and games of soccer and softball were in full swing. We were apprehensive though.

Our group was gathering in the public gym to play some basketball, a little B-ball, throwin' around the rock. Our apprehension was due mainly to the fact that we were old, and feared injury. One youngster, who was certainly less than 30, was given one rule: Don't be too good.
None of us actually threw out the "O" word, but, as we stretched our stiff muscles and rickety joints, it hung palpably over us all, except the youngster, he had a rainbow over him.

My first trip down the court was a breakaway. I sped to the basket and leaped too early, I was on my way back to earth, and still too far away for a decent layup. I improvised, and just prior to touchdown released a finger-roll that hit the front of the rim and went straight to the nearest member of the other team. I turned to run back on defense with a huge grin on my face, and I didn't feel a day over 30.

It was just sports, no stats or refs, just guys trying hard and playing fair; man did I feel alive.
Plus, it was my speed work for the week; it was win-win. I like win-win, because it means I have one less thing to do this week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's the point?

I was asked an interesting question about blogging yesterday, "What's the point?"
Actually, it was not an offensive question, and has prompted me to think about it all quite a bit.
The rest of the question is somewhat of a blur because my mind had already left in search of the answer to the first part, but it was something like, "Do bloggers want to be writers? If it doesn't have a purpose, like explaining how to do something, then what's the point?"
The chances of the person who asked the question actually reading this are small, but if you are reading it, it was a good question and I'm not trying to make you look bad in any way.

When I began this, it was something that I felt like I had to do. I have always written in my spare time, as an adult, and when I look back over things I have written I usually enjoy them a lot. I would like to understand all the rules of writing better, but I do enjoy the things my mind comes up with. And, this was the first time I've allowed anyone to read the things that I've written. I have since gone back and let my wife read things I wrote years ago. My poetry skills are weak, and she usually tries to politely let me know this, but if it's particularly bad I may hear a sweet, "I don't get it." She does a good job of making me think it's not that it doesn't make sense, but some deficiency in her that makes it unclear.

We laughed for an hour one night as we read an "anger journal" that I started in my last two years of working midnight shift. It was a place to write things that I would never say to anyone, and it helped relieve the stress in my life at the time. I used to say that the bus I rode from the parking lot to the office was delivering me to the gates of hell; on this bus was where I usually wrote in the anger journal. (If you have read this far, you may as well finish this post. Sorry it's so long) Here is an excerpt from the "Anger journal, inspired by factors beyond my control," from 2004.

Just when I think I have some of life's mysteries figured out, another clue reveals itself that reaffirms that I don't know crap(in lieu of the "s" word). Actually crap is one of my specialties, that and wool. For so long I have been full of crap, with the wool securely over my own eyes. How can you fool yourself? The deception is indeed complete when you have fooled yourself. It's like a mosaic of foolery; lots of disconnected pieces that rely on each other not to question their presence. The end result is, from afar, a nice picture. The closer one gets, the clearer it becomes that these carefully placed pieces of, oh...let's say crap, really don't mesh, and the picture makes less sense. The messy job is to remove each piece of crap and see what's under it, and find where it truly belongs. The bus has once again dropped me at the gates of hell. I bid you adieu.

So, the point is that I have written small pieces about my life for a long time now, long before I allowed anyone to read them. I guess, like I said in the beginning, this is the nonsense that absolutely fills my head, all of the time, and I wanted to take the risk of letting people see it. As far as I know, one person reads it, and she is very positive and encouraging...thank you D. My next step is to take some classes and see what happens there. I can't afford a convertible sports car, and I'm almost 44; I had to do something.

Holy crap, I just did spell check and I only had one error...I am getting better!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pine Straw

When I lived in Portland, we used to spread bark mulch over the bare areas of our yard, mostly around bushes and flowers. In Georgia they do the same thing with pine straw, which is actually pine needles that are bailed like hay. I'm not sure why they call it pine straw, but they have a knack for finding unlikely ways to describe many things here in Georgia, which they also like to check and make sure you heard.

Here are a few examples:

Instead of turning on the lights, you cut them on.
"Cut them lights on, hear me?"

Instead of being a New Yorker, you become a Yankee bastard.
"Damn know it all Yankee bastard, hear me?"

Instead of heavily fried foods being a concern for the heart conscious, they're good eatin'.
"Mmmmmmmm, now that's good eatin', hear me?"

Instead of contemplating an action, you decide if you might could do it.
"I might could outghta do that."

Anyway, the pine straw is starting to show up in yards and public areas as people prepare for spring. As I ran this morning I noticed the pine straw spread all around Pig Rock church. Even Pig Rock itself was surrounded by pine straw. It looks like it's curled up in a nice bed; I was happy for it.

Take care all, hear me?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Annie demystified

The coming spring is so close that you can feel it everywhere. The trees are starting to flower, the days are getting warmer, and it's almost time for March madness. The positive feel to everything brings good things to mind, like puppies, babies, and Annie singing the song about the sun coming up tomorrow.

"The sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar..." wait just a minute there. What exactly does that mean? Are we saying that if you bet your bottom dollar, that it was the bottom dollar in what was formerly a stack, which was squandered? Or, is it simply saying, bet everything you have because this is a sure thing? Is our ultra positive, redheaded, young girl actually promoting gambling?

This is a kids movie for crying out loud, perhaps it needed some disclaimers:

Betting your bottom dollar is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be treated as an investment.

Betting your bottom dollar is not recommended for those who are pregnant or may become pregnant.

You should not operate machinery or motor vehicles while betting your bottom dollar.

If you were born on February 29th, you should think four times as hard before betting your bottom dollar.

Three out of four doctors surveyed recommended betting your bottom dollar for their patients who had a bottom.

If you bet your bottom dollar, you may lose your ass.

So, there it is, the myth of Annie dispelled. She was just a degenerate gambler, probably running numbers and maybe even experimenting with illegal substances. She can't dampen the joy of the coming spring though; the moral high ground will be enjoyed in full sun tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hershey knows best

In the peaceful, rainy darkness I awoke. Before moving I opened my eyes slightly and surveyed the room; everything was in it's place, there had been no intruders in the night, at least none that left signs of their invasion. It was 4:30 AM, and very dark out still. It was still nighttime, why the hell was I awake? Oh yes, work. The body next to me snored softly, at least she had stopped that incessant licking.

"Hey," I said, "are you awake?"
Hershey wagged her tail and rolled into me, taking even more of the bed than she already had.
"Can I get you anything?" I asked her, "maybe some grapes?"
Her body wagged at the thought of grapes, or maybe at just being spoken to kindly.
"Want to go to the vet today?" I asked her cheerfully, "get a painful procedure done?"
Her body wagged even more.
"I still love you," I told her, "even though you're daft."
Hershey pushed over and took even more of the bed, as if to say:
"Go shower and get ready for your drudgery, I'm going to lay here for a while longer."
"By the way," she continued, "who's the daft one here?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The coffee chronicles II

On the third day they said,
"Let there be depression," and there was, and it was good. I was just saying the other day,
"Isn't there something I can do to bring a little depression into my life?" And then it hit me, take away one of my only vices, one that I've enjoyed for decades!

The first law of vices states that you can neither create nor destroy vice, you can only reallocate it. I don't want to smoke or drink (that's not entirely true, but I choose not to), I suppose I could eat more chocolate; who am I kidding, I'll probably just run more miles.

If I make it through the day without Excedrin, I'll feel much better about the whole thing and move on to acceptance tomorrow. I'll start the day with a nice run, and then move on to acceptance.

I saw pig rock this morning and it looked very sad, almost forlorn. I have been neglecting it, and as we know, it must be acknowledged. Hang in there my little pig buddy, I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The coffee chronicles

Day 2 and my outlook is improving. I am encouraged by the level of alertness I felt this morning; maybe I didn't get as much from coffee as I thought. I needed Excedrin twice yesterday, but only once today; I am comforted by the reduced withdrawal symptoms today.

There are other unforeseen consequences involved with quitting coffee. I am basically going through the five stages of loss, and I've already expressed my dislike for loss in general. I was angry at coffee yesterday, as I endured a throbbing headache. Today I am making a deal with my higher power to postpone the complete reality of my loss. I expect some depression tomorrow, and I should be good to go by Friday.

There is an interesting side note to this whole experience. I dreamed that my son was robbing an espresso/ice cream shop. I walked into the store and said "son, what are you doing?"
"It's no big deal Dad," he seemed irritated that I was there.
Before I said anything else, I saw some coffee and said, "Oh, I think I'll get some coffee."
"Okay," he said as he dipped a soft serve ice cream into some chocolate sprinkles.
Basically, I was willing to sidestep my parental duties for a cup of coffee...that's bad.

Somehow Hillary stole Texas after I went to bed last night, I knew I should have stayed awake. Maybe I could have phoned someone as I saw the obviously erroneous numbers roll across the screen, as it is there was no one watching that cares about the future of our country. That was just a joke, I'm sure there are some Hillary supporters out there that still care about the country on some level. Probably a good stopping point.

Auf wiedersehen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A fond farewell to coffee

I woke up this morning and the world was still turning; it was a good start to my first full day post-coffee.

The flu that I had last week made it so I couldn't taste my coffee, and the hot fluid really hurt the sores on my tonsils anyway. I'm over the flu, and coffee still didn't taste good to me. Maybe the fever damaged my taste buds, maybe now that the coffee cycle was broken it would take some getting used to again, or maybe it was just a good time to stop.

I have been drinking coffee for a long time. I started drinking it when I started working graveyard shift when I was 24. I quit working graveyards last year, so maybe I'm just done with coffee too.

One of the first questions they always ask me at the doctors office is, "How much caffeine do you drink?" I guess the way that conversation will go from now on is:
"No, I don't drink alcohol or caffeine, I don't smoke, I eat low fat, I eat very little meat, I run a lot, and am not over weight. And, yes, my cholesterol is through the roof.

I actually get tested again next week to see if my liver enzymes are still elevated from the cholesterol treatment. If the cholesterol numbers are down, and my liver is okay, then I will share my regimen of supplements. If not, I will probably be smoking and drinking be next Wednesday and becoming reacquainted with coffee by Thursday.