Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Special report: Grocery shopping, recipe and holiday style, frustrations galore #%&$###!!

It started out to be a real simple grocery shopping mission of "just a few items for a recipe." How hard can it be to buy bits and pieces to fit the recipe for a "cozy soup", Southwestern Chicken-and-Rice Soup with Tortilla Strips, and Creamy Apple-and-Pecan Salad? Well after looking at the recipe I thought this was going to be a piece of cake(no pun intended), but it turned out to be one of my longest days in the ole super market. Fact is, it turned out like when you go for a run and get cramps or upset stomach or something worse, or when you go on a bike ride and have 4 flat tires with no tubes, or a dog bites your leg and you can't finish your ride or you go swimming and they have drained the pool or the water is so cold you can't feel your privates for 2 hours afterwards, and last but not least you go bowling and they have run out of Coors Light or anything resembling cold beer. That is the kind of day I had shopping on this October 31 Halloween Day. In the first place I never dreamed that this was such a, "go to the grocery store and shop" type of holiday. What is going on with our world today, we now have 38 official holidays in the United States alone, with Germany coming in a distant second with 18 holidays. Of the 14 countries listed for holidays there was only one holiday that was recognized by all countries, you guessed it National Boss Day, whoops just kidding, it was actually January 1, New Years Day. Second was Christmas Day with only Japan declaring not to celebrate this holiday. While this post was about grocery shopping I have ventured over into another one of my pet peeves, WAY TOO MANY HOLIDAYS IN THE WORLD!!! I will cover this in more passionate detail in the future. But I am amazed at how some of these holidays have come about and wonder why we have to have to so many of them. But I guess Halloween has gotten bigger than one could imagine, why there were even people in the store wearing costumes while they shopped. Needless to say I was there on a mission and the costume thing was not amusing to me, unless there was cleavage to admire or whatever. But, I found in my quest for getting the goods and getting out of there it was important that I stay on the beaten path of finding what I was there for, paying for it and getting back to the Canyons. My first mistake was in shopping from the recipe rather than by the item needed, so it was confusing on what department I should start in. I usually get my cart and go directly to the vegetables, fruits, etc., but right off the bat I was thrown a big curve. Right in front of me pushing her shopping cart with a mission was my most frequent ex-wife. I knew she shopped this store but didn't expect her here this day. After I ran head into her cart and saying excuse me, she recognized me(well we were married for 11 years so she should recognize me)and then the normal pleasantries took place. Oh how are how, etc. I explained I was fine and she looked great(you never lose with that line) but that I was on a mission and didn't have time to waste. However, I did take the time to comment on what she had in her basket, which amounted to two bags of candies which I didn't think would be too healthy for supper. She then explained that it was for the trick or treaters and she had a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and it wasn't any of my business anyway. Okay so much for small talk, now lets get on with the shopping. We then unhooked our carts and I moved on to the first item on my list. What I didn't realize is that recipes called for the little bit parts that make up the whole, so if it says 4 cups of something then you have figure out how many cans of something(in this case chicken broth)equals, at least, the 4 cups. Whoops, I am in over my head this time and I recognized it right off. Then of all things the recipe called for 4 apples, you say no big deal, but I say it is a big deal since it calls for 1 Granny Smith and 3 Gala apples. For the life of me I thought there were green apples and red apples, but then I started adding up the different types of apples and found 14 different varieties, then throw in the organic and you have 18 different varieties. See what I mean, this is not easy and I have a long way to go. I am only on the first few items and I am stumped! But I do find my Grannies and the Galaies and move on. At this point though I do have to admit I have bumped into one of my favorite people and former co-worker in one of my early companies. She had always taken care of me when I was the sales manager and now she was there for me to help me find some difficult things. The truth is I really wanted to jump in the cart and let her push me around while we got the next items which I knew were going to be quite a challenge. But, unfortunately she had better things to do. So we said good day and I was on my on. Afterall she said, "you have traveled the world, seen many things and surely to hell you can find your way around this simple store that has signs hanging from the ceiling that tells you where everything is." I agreed, picked my fallen pride up and moved on. After Sheri abandoned me in the produce department I made the comment to a young lady that I felt as if I had been sent to prison and forced to shop for my way out of here. She looked at me with no pity and acted like I was some kind of dirty ole man or something similar. She then moved her cart in over time speed out of my prescence. Now a days it seems that if you say something to women in any context they think you are "hitting" on them. I can assure the world that this was the last thing on my mind, I just want to finish my grocery list and go to the canyons with everything that is ask for. It is important to me that I take home 100% of what is requested, not 95% or 98%, but 100%. Now I am looking for something that I never heard of, have never purchased before and have no clue what it is, "loosely packed cilantro leaves." After 6 decades on this planet and I never heard of this stuff and I must find it before I leave the store. Bottom line here is I actually ask the young man in the produce department what the hell I was looking for and where the hell was it. Of course he smiled and led me straight to it. Surprise, I have seen this before but didn't know the name of it. Now I do and two bundles of it are safely packed away in my cart. Now to the next challenge, dried cranberries and golden raisins. Sheri had told me that these items would be in the baking section which seemed simple enough, NOT!! They were no where to be found by me and as a last resort I had to ask an employee of the store where they were. I prefaced my request to this young man by stating that he could prevent my total insanity if he would lead me to these two items. He smiled that, you dumb ass smile, and took me to the right department. Now I was down to only one last item that I couldn't find and it was really getting frustrating now. This was pickled jalapeno slices or chopped. While I had found the Llano pickled jalapeno olives the just plain peppers were completely invisible. So, I had to ask the same young man where are you hiding the pickled jalapeno's? He smiled that same smile from before and said follow me. At this point I had decided that if he found this one last item on my list I was going to adopt him, send him to college and insure that he went shopping with me everytime. But, after he found it for me he went off into the dog food section to help a young maiden in distress. I was thankful to him and proud for him. But, more proud for myself, I was at 100% and even bought a few extra items just because I wanted to. I always buy cherry tomatoes and radishes, these are my favorites and I make a meal out of them. I am the only one in the house that eats these two gourmet veggies, so I have them all to myself. When I eat them Buffman looks at me like I have really lost it, but I just ignore him, afterall he eats dog food all the time. How tasty can that be? He is a weird dog though, and has many human tendencies, poor thing! With all of my new found food products for this forthcoming delicious meal I am now ready to go to the check out. One thing good about holidays is that they have someone manning all of the check out stations. As is usual the first thing the young lady ask is, "did you find everything?" The answer she usually hears is "yes as a matter of fact I bought more than I came here to buy," but today I say, "no, as a matter of fact I only found a fraction of what I came to buy and if it weren't for 2 or 3 people helping me I would still be clinging to my basket in the aisles." Fact is I said, "I have been here since 10:00 a.m.(it was now 4:30 p.m.(" She looked at me like she believed me and said, "are you serious?" I said of course not, but I feel like I have been here that long. I then answered the paper or plastic question(always plastic), the bags were packed and carted to my car for me. Now the conversation from the checkout to the car, then finding the car drama that always goes on. The conversation was light, thank God, and I found the car with ease. So, now all I had to do was leave the parking lot and head to the canyons, which I did.

With another successful shopping episode in the super market behind me I think I might take up cooking or playing the piano.

Voting day is close at hand, take the time to vote for your candidate. I think Kinky is in trouble, but who knows. He will get one vote at least.

Now I will enjoy my soup and salad,


Friday, October 27, 2006

Grocery shopping update, West Texas Hispanic Newspaper

After returning from the land of hula dancers and lots of body art the house was empty of edible food. So, I got the list ready and made my way to the grocery store around 10:00 a.m. in the morning. Since I had never gone at this time of day it was a new experience and I found the shoppers during this time of day very different from those at say 8:00 p.m. First, 95% were all women and they had a focus in their eye that reminded me of the eye of the Tiger concept in dedicated athletes. In other words, get the hell out of my way, I am on a mission. Second, these women were all very good looking and it was as if they had been in a beauty contest just recently or they were heading to one right after checking out. Third, they knew their way around in the store and please don't get in their way or you would lose at least one arm or maybe you left leg. So, I stayed out of their way but also used my dark sunglasses, look at them concept, without them knowing, even though I know they did know. Fact is I am sure they would be disappointed if someone wasn't looking, so why not me. At any rate this created a new challenge, now I have to find the stuff I had on my list and look at good looking women all in the same breath. Honestly, this is not an easy task and I am sure it took me at least 30 minutes longer to shop and check out than normal. But, someone has to do it and I do it well. Now to the check out. This particular store has some very well trained check out people and they evidently put them through some kind of "get to know your customer" routine. For me it is really just bag my groceries, check me out, take my money and let me go. But, this guy was so sharp not only did he ask if I found everything I was shopping for but he also noticed I had a golfing pullover jacket on. This led him to ask if I had been playing golf this morning and if I did what did I shoot. Well, now this is getting a little too personal for me and I am ready to hit the road with my new bags of groceries, not talk about golf. I did tell him that no I didn't play today, but didn't tell him I had only played once this year. Then I would have to explain that I am a triathlete and that requires a lot of training, then I would have to answer the always question, "have you done the Ironman or next on the list is have you ever done the Buffalo Springs triathlon?" This would of course require an answer that would take far longer than I want to stand at the checkout, I just want out buddy please run that bar code through your scanner and let me out of here. Then the question comes up, do you want paper or plastic? Well I always go for plastic simply because they are easier to carry and you can carry more bags at one time. Since I have to climb one flight of stairs to our living area in the house I only want to make one trip. But, of course I can't go on and on about this to the bag guy, so I just say "plastic." Now I know that is not good for the environment but it is not good for my disposition to have to climb my stairs more than once. So, it is a trade out and I promise not to bury the plastic. Then there is the conversation you have with the guy(not the same guy who checks or bags)who takes your bags of groceries out to you automobile. Now, for some reason this guy knew I rode bikes and he also rides bikes, which led to more conversation on riding bicycles. For a while I thought I would spend enough time in this place to be eligible for a 401 K, but then it happened. The carry out guy put the last plastic bag of groceries in my Explorer and I was released from the parking lot. What an experience!! From what I learned I will not go back at 10:00 a.m. in the morning again, no matter how good looking the women are, simply because the employees are just too perky and all I want to do is complete my list and get the hell out of dodge.

While doing some vitamin shopping, in another store on another day, I noticed that the West Texas Hispanic Newspaper was available(free of charge). You know like the Thrifty Nickel type paper that lays in little bins and sits out so that you will stub you toe on them if you don't take one. At any rate I picked one up out of curiosity simply because it was in English. Yea, that English, you know the forgotten language of the United States of America and still the first language, but sometimes I wonder. It says on the front page that it has been serving our community since 1979, silly me and this is the first time I have seen it. Well it was amusing to read since 95% of it was in English. I wonder how the Hispanics can read their newspaper when it is in English and throughout our land we offer everything in English/Spanish. You know the drill, you do one of those automated calls and they give you options on the language, 1 for English(I always utter under my breath, what other language would I want, I am in America and I don't speak any other language) 2 for Spanish, etc. I did dig through this rag and found some Spanish, of course I couldn't understand it because I don't speak Spanish. All of my schooling has been in English so I just naturally throw in a little West Texas stuff with my English and I sound like a foreigner. Please note, not Texas Hill Country foreigner like LBJ, but West Texas foreigner. A BIG DIFFERENCE, THANK YOU!!! I did notice that contrary to the main rag of the city, The Lubbock Avalanche Journal, this paper had no knifings,shootings, rapings, fights, or other disorders associated with the rowdy crowds of our area, just good wholesome family stuff. I did notice that one story was headlined, HIV/AIDS in Latino Community has reached crisis proportions, as reported by the Center of Latino Health services. So, it was not all fluff and some gore! Since it was free I have no beef, and I even feel more informed.

Today was swim day at the Texas Tech Aquatic center. I went in the early afternoon and got my 1600 yards in and feel primed for the World 70.3 Championship in Clearwater, FL, November 11th. Yea, you swimmers out there are saying, "what's the big deal, 1600 is my warm up." Well you are right but I am not truly a swimmer, just simply an athlete who swims because the sport of triathlon ususally requires that I do so to complete the triangle. Since I define triathlon as the "evolution of synergistic motion" I must do all three in succession to accommodate this definition.

So much thinking for a Friday afternoon, now on to something more important, two stepping in some sleazy country and western bar, with lots of smoke and adult beverages!!


Back from paradise, again! Consumer discount suggestions, Misc

After returning from my second trip to paradise(that's what they call it) on the Big Island of Hawaii I am more than glad to be back in West Texas. Even though I have been greeted by colder weather, wind and a sand storm, I believe that West Texas is paradise. My own definition of paradise is anywhere you enjoy being. In the fall of the year I love the scent of the changing season and the feel of the air. Before leaving for Kona I did a bicycle ride(the one where that little demon dog bit me) and during that ride I passed the Acuff Co-Op cotton gin. They were just getting the ginning season going and it was great to have the scent of cotton ginning. While I don't know why this is very cool to me, since it makes me sneeze, I have always enjoyed that scent and the busy times it represents. During my 30 years in the industry as a supplier of equipment I always enjoyed going into the gins to watch them process the raw cotton bowl. In Hawaii the weather is basically the same all the time unless of course you throw in a torrential rain or earthquake, which they did. We actually missed the quake by two days, but did get to witness the torrential(that's what they called it in the newspaper)rainfall, during the Ironman triathlon event. There was really nothing different, from West Texas rain, or special about this rain, it fell from the sky and was wet. So, there paradise, we have the same of what you got but we can also do the wind and sand storm thing that you can't do. One thing I did learn about paradise is that because of the consistent hot and humid weather bacteria grows in abundance, and because of that my dog bite I experienced before leaving got infected. A local looked at it for me and said, "hey bubba you had better put something on that or you will have some big trouble." He recommended some triple anti-biotic stuff, over the counter, with a complete bandage to cover it. I followed his advice and it is nearly gone.

Over the past 45 years of constant travel throughout the USA and other parts of the world I have seen some really weird things, but I think I witnessed one of the most disgusting things I have seen yet, in the Honolulu airport restroom. While I have always thought urinals were about the most disgusting things, even when clean, I have had to deal with in my lifetime this took the cake. Before entering the men's room I saw this young guy(30-35), probably from Alabama or Louisiana, standing by the trash can with a hamburger from Burger King, an order of french fries, and a Coke. The burger was a single patty with every thing on it, but he was taking the pickles and tomatoes off of it. Well this was all well and good and very normal, even though you can order from Burger King and not have this stuff on it to start with, but he elected to do it this way. So, I go on into the restroom to utilize the urinal and I was happy to see that there were 5 urinals available with no one else there. That is always refreshing to me, since I don't like to share my urinal time and I can get on with business and get out of there in a hurry. I take the one closest to me on the North end. While I am standing there minding my own business getting things done, the Burger King dude comes in and takes the urinal on the very South end. Needless to say that was a relief(no pun intended) to me, but then I noticed that he had taken his essentials out to take a leak, and in the same time he was eating his burger(with he left hand,he was obviously right handed with a loose zipper), with the fries and coke sitting next to the urinal handle. No reflection on Burger King here, but there is a time and a place for everything. While I have watched guys take a leak and talk on their cell phone at the same time I have never seen anyone eat while doing the same. Another first in my list of travel experiences. Actually this one kind of made me want to throw up a little, but I refrained. Two gross actions in one place doesn't make for a pretty site in a public place.

The Ironman triathlon was another outstanding event and our own Lubbock, Texas dude, John Pryor was there to compete. John is a valued employee of Alliance Federal Credit Union and was competing in the 20-24 age group. He had a great race and learned a lot about racing on the Big Island. He is a very nice young man and worked very hard in his preparation for this event. We were proud to be there with he and his wonderful(and beautiful) friend Misty(you can't miss with that name). They were fun to be with and to celebrate his victory over the Ironman distance. We were proud to be part of the volunteer group, Marti in the physically challenged area and me on the rented Road King Hog.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I get tired of the current retail so-called modernization, especially relative to the check out situation in most major stores. You know the gig, walk up to 24 check out lanes and only 2 are manned, etc. But, the new one that is gagging me now is the "self" checkout gimmick. You know the one where you step up to this robot machine that says, put your bag there, put your stuff in it, your bill is, put you credit card here, put your cash here, your change is here, BUTTTTT WAIT A MINUTE!!!!It usually never works like that for me and the person who was supposed to be replaced by this wonderful machine has to come and help me check out. But, let's say it does work for all(but me)I think we should be given an automatic 15% discount for doing the job of the employee that used to be doing this. After all we are doing their job for them, so we should be paid for it. The airlines are the same, we go up to the e-ticket machine, put in all our data, get the boarding passes, get the jacket to put the boarding passes in, put the baggage on the scale, put the baggage claim tickets in our jacket, put the baggage over on the inspection area and then we get to do the strip tease thing, then put our clothes back on and then we get to board. In the past for long flights such as the 8 hour flight to Hawaii they would feed us every 2 hours(even in coach class), now they don't throw an empty peanut shell at you. You are advised that you can purchase your own food and take it on or you can purchase their little cold boxes of something for $5.00 after you are in flight. We elected to grab a deli sandwich and drink the free drinks on the plane. While I don't think the discount idea is going to be adopted anytime soon I can only hope, but I think it is a good idea.

Big weekend in Lubbock, the University of Texas Longhorns will be coming to town to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders and it should be quite a game. Of course you never know which team the Raiders will put on the field, but I think they have been getting to know each other a little better over the past few weeks and they will make a good show. I mention they are getting along better since Coach Leach had said they just were showing much family spirit in knowing and liking each other. This guy is a classic and anyone who lists pirates as his heroes can't be all bad.

Tomorrow I am heading to the canyons of Post, Texas to offer my Hog as the lead vehicle for a 78 mile bicycle tour. It is for a charity and should be somewhat chilly, can't wait to hear the roar.

The Governor's race is getting tight, Kinky has made some verbal mistakes over the past few weeks and it will cost him. Mr. Bell, Democrat, is moving up and Strayhorn put her foot in her mouth again. For a person to say, "George G.H. Bush" the elder was born with a silver foot in his mouth, she should know.

Movie to see, but don't break your neck: "The Guardian"****, prime time viewing with Kevin Costner. Typical hero movie script, but what it does teach you is what the mission of the US Coast Guard is. Something I really didn't know for sure. I thought they went up and down the coast teaching water skiing, turns out they save a bunch of lives and are tough as Navy seals.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

From paradise, again!

Well here I am in paradise again, the Ironman World Championship was yesterday and was a full day. The weather turned out perfect for everyone concerned. The athletes were able to get some personal bests because of the favorable weather, the volunteers were able to do their jobs because of the nice weather, and the spectators enjoyed it as well. Not to say there wasn't a little challenge after the sun went down, with a 30 minute downpour a rain. But, even this was a blessing to the athletes still on the course and it just cooled everyone down and we all continued to enjoyed the race. Of course we were sitting in the Cassandra's bar and grill just own the finish line, and guess what, they have a nice roof and we experienced none of the rain. The outcome of the race was somewhat as has been the norm on the past few years, same ole story we invent the sport and then the foreigners take it over. So, Norman Stadler of Germany wins' the mens' side and Michellie Jones of Australia wins the womens's side. We saw a lot of our age grouper atheltes who race at Buffalo Springs, so it was nice to see them.

We adopted age group athlete John Pryor, from Lubbock,and made sure he had lots of support from Texas. His friend Misty did the same, so he felt very appreciated and recognized. He had a great race and hopefully will be able to return again. He is a great guy and Misty is a great gal. It was a pleasure to be with them and adds to what I have said before, we really get to be with some very special people in the sport of triathlon.

Since this computer has been giving me hell I am signing off now and will give a more comprehensive report after I return to Ransom Canyon. Computers are wonderful when they work right or takes commands without rebelling, but I have not been that lucky with this HP model at all.

From paradise and missing West Texas!!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Friday the 13th, did you know? New Movies, Misc.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia-yes folks that is a word and yes it is spelled correctly. This is the phobia word definition for the people who suffer from the fear of Friday the 13th bad luck. Is this a big deal in our lives? Well Dr. Dossey, a psychotherapist and authority on this phobia, says that approximately 21 million people in the USA suffer from this phobia. He says that this superstition is as old as mankind and has grown with stature through the years of ongoing reports of bad luck etc. Some examples, Eve(the original frustrated housewife)tempted Adam on a Friday(and of course we all know what happened next), the great flood happened on Friday, God tongue-tied the builders of the tower of Babel on Friday, the Temple of Soloman was destroyed on Friday and to top off the biblical stuff, Christ was crucified on Friday. To take it into the next generation, primitive man use to use his fingers and feet to count with. So, it was 10 fingers and 2 feet, making a total of 12. The next number being 13 was never used for fear it might be a bad number, then the superstition began. Okay I know you are asking, what about the toes? Well it is apparent that anicient man either didn't have toes are just thought they were for growing toenails and the stink probably was just too much. From the artist photos of these gruesome looking men and women they really have never looked that bright to me anyway. We also find that the ancient Egyptians believed that Friday and the 13th symbolized death. Now, I could go on and on about this and the documentation is endless, so I must get to my point(while I know you all love to read this trivia you must go to Google under Friday the 13th, to get more information than you would ever want on the subject). While I have always had the "athletes" superstitious phobia I have never let it rule my life. But, in high school we always played on Friday nights(unless it was a playoff game, then they were never on Friday nights), that is why they called the movie, "Friday Night Lights." We had certain superstitions, such as always wearing the same shirt on Friday, always having the same coach tape our ankles, never getting a haircut on Friday, lacing the right shoe first, and on and on. Okay, so I am somewhat superstitious, but on the Friday the 13th that just passed a few days ago I had an interesting day that will remind me I had better think again about this bad luck day. It started out very normal, and then I received the phone call from Colorado Springs, I had been elected to the National Board of Directors for USA Triathlon, and will return to the board after a 12 year vacation from the politics of the sport(remember Kinky defines politics as, poli-meaning people, and tics-meaning unwanted parasites). So, some have said, "why would you volunterily chose to be elected to the dark side of the great sport?" Well as Kinky also says, "Why the hell not?" I have had a passionate love affair for the sport of triathlon for the past 23 years and bring a very diverse background to the board. During my first tenure on the board 12 years ago I was just getting warmed up and have always felt I could have done a better job and now I am committed to carrying this goal forward. But, on with my story of my other major experience on the 13th. Being the triathlete that I am I decided to get in a 30 mile bicycle in the afternoon, then onto a high school football game or movie. Well, the ride was going great until mile 12 and then a little terrier type dog ran out on the rode and bit the hell out of my left calf muscle. He tore into it pretty bad and the blood was starting to ooz! I immediately stopped, made sure I kept track of the dog, went to the front door of the owners. They immeditely said they did not own any dogs and when I said well you just had a pack of them come from under your house to put the attack on me, they just shugged their shoulders and said, "we don't own any dogs." I then called Marti and told her to come get me, call our vetenarian, call the pound and be prepared to get me to the emergency room for treatment. Okay, it is not like I was laying out on the rode all damaged and injured but the thought of rabies is not a good thought, and after all it was Friday the 13th. She immediately put the Explorer in the fastest gear possible, even though she still has another speeding ticket pending, and picked me up. Well the rest of the day and early night was spent with the guilty dog, the sherrif's department, the emergency room and then the city pound service. They will keep this little darling(we actually fell in love with the little mutt that was just trying to get some attention, reminded me of T.O. of the Dallas Cowboys, and she really did. But, we were certain that the Buffman and the Squeaky girl would not be putting out any welcome mats if we brought this little doggy home. We were assured that it would be well taken care of with a bath, good food, and a warm blanket to rest on through the weekend and until it is adopted. In the meantime I had my shots, got my anti-biotics and will wait for the lab report on the rabies situation. Bottom line here is that is there some kind of omen in the USA Triathlon notification and the dog bite? I really don't think so and have just written it off as some kind of strange coincidence(the 6th insight from the Celestine Prophecies). The good news is that I want to serve on the Board, and the bite could have been so bad that I would have wrecked the bike and had more serious crash injuries. As it is I will resume exercising today and with just a small bandage to cover up the wound. So, all is not bad and the good news is that Friday the 13th only comes up 2-3 times per year. There are none scheduled for the balance of 06 and my 68th birthday is on the 16th of December, a Thursday.

Two good movies to see: "The Departed", "Man of the Year" Very different movies but very entertaining. The Departed has so many stars in it you need a calculator to add them up. But Jack Nicholson is at his best, and meanest(violence, bad language, sexual stuff), Robin Williams is also great in "Man". *****stars for these two. With all the football movies I am behind in seeing them, but I did see "Gridiron Gang" and it is very good and a true story. It is a **** in my rating system and worth seeing at prime time. "Talladega Nights" is a solid ***, possible go to the bargain movie house for it.

A couple of the departments I search out every day in the newspaper are the engagement announcements and obituaries. I really do not imply that there is any kind of correlation but I guess it is just interesting to read these "news" items in the paper. In the engagement news I look for certain things in the announcement that will give me flags as to whether these people will be part of the 50% that end up in divorce court. Do I let them know of my opinion or prognosis? Well of course not I don't even know them, but it is a fun hobby. Here are some of the things I look for, first, the photo for tell tell signs of dominance and me, me, me. If the future bride has her arms all drapped around the innocent future bridegroom that is a flag, or if she has her ring hand displayed very prominently that is a flag. In the case of the man they are usually so out of it with no clue I don't worry too much about them. Most all of them have smiles on their faces, which is probably good. But, on the other hand the founding fathers of this country were never smiling in the artists renditions of this great day. So, why would two young impressionable people be smiling when 50% of them are not going to be together sometime after the wedding date. The other things I look for is in the verbiage, i.e. backgrounds of hometown and how far apart they are like, she from Boston, MA he from Idalou,TX(the ferttilizer plant is a social point in this burg, education, he from Shallowater, TX, she from MIT, and on an on. I really like to look at their place of employment, one today was employed in San Angelo, TX and the other in Washington, D.C., quite a commute and I wonder how much time they will spend with each other. Oh well that may be the secret to a long marriage. When they give the names of the parents I try to detect if they are divorced, if so, flag! Now on to the obits, I look at the photo and if the person who died is 99 and they show their high school graduation picture I wonder about this family. Living in denial or something, but it is strange. I also read in detail what they say about this person and the good news is they never say anything bad about the person. I can imagine what they said about Al Capone, yea what a guy, loved his family, provided well, started many businesses in his community, and died in his sleep at Alcatraz(he actually didn't and did die of syphlis but I bet they didn't say that, that would be termed a "long illiness." The bad part about this is the blood sucker funeral homes ask the family about the deceased just right after they depart. I remember doing the obit for my father, mother, and sister. That is not a good time, but it does relax you a little and you remember only the good things. While good Christians should be rejoicing that our loved ones on going on to be with Jesus and a better "place" that is generally not the feeling. And that has always puzzled me and I will address that more closely one of these days. I have requested that my obit be no more than 5 words, "He was always the best!!!" Best at what doesn't really matter and leaves a lot to the imagination
and anyway on this day everyone kind of feels sorry for you anyway. Even your worst enemies seem to come around to saying something good about you. I recall a few months ago a friend of mine and I went to a funeral of one of our former college football playing friends. The guy that died was a great football player, and became a top coach and icon of our school. He was only 61 when he died and the funeral lasted 2.5 hours. The longer we were there the greater he got, but I must say it was deserved. He was a great guy. The contrast to this story and back to reality is that another one of our teammates was suffering from cancer and was probably only going to be around for another 6 months. I told my friend that if he died before me not to call me, since I really never liked the guy and he never liked me, since I felt it would be very hypocritical and dishonest to be at his funeral. Well he did pass a month ago and my friend kept to his word and didn't contact me and I kept to my word and didn't attempt to find out and go to the funeral. My feeling is that he really didn't give a hoot and he was really a good person, but we just had bad chemistry. We even played football together at Univeristy of Houston and U Texas-Arlington, and that still didn't bring us together in friendship. So, read this and figure out what the correlation is to your life and use it. Beats the hell out of me what brought this subject to mind.

Now to watch the T.O/Parcels/Bledsoe/Jones drama, trying to imitate the men in silver and blue, the Dallas Cowboys. Talking of graves, I bet Brother Tom is rolling in his just watching how Jones has screwed up this great football franchise.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Return from paradise, some observations!

Returning from Hawaii is like going to Hawaii, it takes some time to adjust to the time difference and get back into the swing of West Texas. After the return on early Friday morning I had the 25th annual Texas Tech Road Race, 10K/5K to announce. This race is run on the beautiful Texas Tech campus in conjunction with the home coming game. With nearly 400 participants it is quite popular and a well run event. While there were no records, it was very competitive throughout the different age groups. The Red Raiders were playing the University of Missouri from the "Show Me State." The Raiders went into the game with a 4-1 record and the Show Me guys had a 5-0 record. Well, sadly for the Raiders, UM left with a 6-0 record and the Raiders were shaking their heads wondering what happened. Marti and I were not able to watch the game since we hopped on the Hog and went south to a little motorcycle rally about 100 miles from Ransom Canyon. It was in Snyder, Texas, famous for something but I don't know what. Maybe lots of mesquite bushes or something! The name of the rally was the White Buffalo Rally, so I guess Snyder is famous for a white buffalo. They do have an oil field close by, and a football field, since I still remember playing a quarterfinal football game there in 1956(we won). At any rate it was typical motorcycle tough stuff, you know the Sturgis thing, slap on the leather, start the engines, roar the engines, do spin outs, drive fast, just your typical show off type stuff. Your understand it if you ride, but shake your head in wonder if you don't. We then took in a rally concert with Joe Ely and the Kentucky Head Hunters. Ely, a native West Texan and now somewhat famous, was great. The Head Hunters were good for what they do but if you don't like their type of music they suck. So, early exit from the concert after a few adult beverages. Up early the next morning and return to the canyons of the Llano Estacado.

More on Hawaii and some observations I have been making over the past few years. For starters, I spent about 2 hours in the hotel lobby, the first day there, waiting for my room and during this time I decided to watch the people happenings and see what I could pick up. Now remember these people have been here for a few days and now they are checking out(remember I am waiting for them to check out so I can check in). So, what you would imagine is that they are happy and wearing a big grin on their face, WRONG!!! These are the most stressed people I have ever seen, especially if they have any kids with them. They are lugging luggage,trying to control the kids, pay the bill and get the hell out of paradise. The way I figured it is that the parents couldn't stick a computer/tv/ games thing in front of these kids, so the kids naturally want all the attention they can get. So, why not demand this in the hotel lobby. Sounds good to me and many of kids I saw seemed to agree. Earlier in the morning I was able to go on a nice 6 mile run, out the front gate and onto the Queen K highway for a great run. This highway sounds like a highway and it is; however, it has great shoulders and is accustomed to runners and bicycles(remember the Ironman). During this run I noticed some things that are interesting to say the least, one, there are couples out walking together, many times even holding hands. So, the romantic side must come out in paradise since I never see that in Ransom Canyon or Lubbock. Second, these same couples are wearing workout clothes that look like this is the first time they have ever been worn. You know, real colors, a little wrinkle in them where they have just come out of a box or off of a hanger. New running shoes that squeak a little and show up bright white. But, maybe this is the time they will dig deep inside and find that "Ironman" inside themselves. It has happened before so it can happen again. The other thing I notice is the usage of two words that must be used are you will be removed from the premises, "mahalo" is used for just about everything but more importantly it replaces, "thank you" or as my dad use to say, "much obliged." The other word is, "aloha" which is the basic greeting word for the islands. So, if you are going to the islands anytime soon please refresh yourself on these two words. Since I will be returning for the Ironman on the 17th I am keeping my advice in tack.

The self development seminar I attended was very good and I came away with some new knowledge concerning positive affirmations relative to water crystals and the drum. Yep, folks I became a believer in writing affirmations to my drinking water. Go, to www.life-enthusiast.com/twilight/research_emoto.htm, "The Message From Water," and you will get some interesting insight to the slushy stuff that makes up 70% of our body(60% if you are over 65). Christine Stevens offered demonstrations on drumming and created quite an interest for this method for positive meditation and healing.

Wow, so much to learn and time is flying by. The governors race in Texas is heating up and will be here before we know it. "Get Kinky" and vote for the man!!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Paradise, What are they thinking? USAT elections!

For some reason when I visit Hawaii I feel like I am cheating time. The reason being is that with the five hour(behind) time difference in Texas my body automatically wakes up at 3:00 a.m. or so, and starts functioning. So, I get up and start the day with 4 or 5 hours more time, it seems, and by 8:00 a.m. I have accomplished a lot and still have the rest of the day. Of course, reality sets in about 8:00 p.m. and something has to give. Generally the first day in paradise the wake up is at 2:30 a.m., so I really get a bonus that day. Yesterday I got in a 7 mile run and really enjoyed it and felt athletic all day. After coming over here for the past 13 years I have found that when you get off the airplane, no matter what, it is just the same each time. A warm feeling, humidity in the air, a slight breeze and consistent laid back attitude. Of course flowered shirts, sandles and baggy shorts are the order of the day for clothing, and you are guaranteed of getting lei'd. But you really come back to reality when you get ready to buy something, meaning dig deep because it cost to be in paradise. For the most part the natives are very friendly and appreciate the money you are spending while being here. There are exceptions, of course, like yesterday the waitress in the hotel was exremely un-cool, so she was given an un-cool tip. Since I am here to attend a self help seminar, Liberty League, I am recommending that this waitress attend the next session I am also around a bunch of motivated rah rah type people who are already motivated. With two more days left I am sure I will be jumping though my shorts before it is over. With a black tie deal ending all of the happenings that should be real weird. Fact is, it might be so weird I won't even go, even though they are serving an already paid for dinner that I will probably want to experience. The other thing I always notice is that everything you want is available at these real plush hotels, but they each cost extra, i.e. internet $14.95 for 24 hours, the goody bar in your room, beer, $6.00, chips $4.00, and on and on! Yesterday a less than average snack type lunch for the three of us at the table cost $62.00 with small tip for sorry service. So, the thing to do is save your money for 10 years and then go to Cancun, Panama City, FL or Costa Rica. Better beaches and lots less money. So, gear up your loins and save a little if you are flying to the islands any time soon.

Sorry, but I have been thinking about the next subject for about a week and haven't written anything on it. But, it really bugs the hell out of me to keep hearing about the poor Katrina victims(and I do feel for what they went through)and then see that they have spent $185 million to repair the Superdome so the New Orleans Saints football team can play their home games in it for the 2006 season. What bugs me is that there are still neighborhoods in New Orleans that are not "fixed" for liveable conditions, there are still people without homes, there are still misplaced people and crime galore, but lo and behold the Dome is repaired and they can play their almighty NFL games. To make it even worse the cameras caught the crowd and they were over joyed that they could come to the game and sit in their beloved Superdome, that just some short time ago they had used as a public john and wanted no part of it. What is this world coming to and where are our priorities. It doesn't fit well with me and I am not even directly affected by it, except for being aggravated by it when I see reports on it. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the people of New Orleans also had the opportunity to have another party after the game(since they won for a change). Without being a real "the good book" thumper here I think this type of priority is covered very well throughout and time will tell, I guess.

The final tabs are now being added up on the USAT board elections. I am told by a reliable source that the results will be posted by October 15. Funny, it only takes a few days to elect and count the votes for the president of the USA(yes, I remember the last election, but that was a fluke, kind of like the Presidency of the Bush Administration)but it takes 60 days to vote and then 15 days to count the votes. Oh well, time will fly and we will know soon enough. I've got work to do for the Kinkyman!!!

Back to the sun, beaches, high cost of being here and new thoughts for the next post. I just checked this morning and found that I have been receiving nearly 4,000 hits per month on the fasttwitchmind site. Many thanks to all of you readers out there, and to think I thought only 5 were reading it. Now I have to come up with some real new stuff to keep you interested and informed.

Hot news off the press: There appears to be a new Ironman race for Louisville, Kentucky, to be announced on Wednesday of this week. Should be interesting since WTC and not IMNA will be putting the race on.