Monday, March 26, 2007

The Rock(short story)

During this past weekend I was mentally reminded of what training really means, and I mean training for anything. While I am referring to physical training this story could relate to anything we do in life. When you train for something that means you are preparing yourself for whatever confronts while in the given endeavor that you are training for. A good example would be when I was in college I would train myself to pass a test in Economics, but no matter what I did to train myself I just couldn't seem to get it done. So, my preparation must not have been very good or I was just plain Economics stupid(probably the case). Then when I trained for a football game I would go through the drills, get hit, hit somebody, trip at times, out run people at times, stiff arm people sometimes, get stiff armed, block somebody, get blocked, etc., but all in the name of training. That way when game time came around, I was prepared. Now what the hell does all of this gibberish have to do with this blog site and this writing, titled "the rock." Well here goes, some time ago, say about 29 years ago when I started long distance running I started doing something that prepared me for last weekend. Since I was doing a sprint triathlon in Alpine, Texas and the run discipline was first I found that about half way through I had a rock in my left shoe. Now this wasn't a boulder or anything like that but it was big enough to be a real nuisance. But as I had trained myself over the years to not stop and remove rocks from my shoe during training runs, I was properly trained to continue this race without stopping. So, what I did was move that little sucker around in my shoe so it rested under my arch and then I went back on my heal to toe and felt no pain. I ended up with a good run and the seconds I would have wasted getting rid of this little rock helped me to have a better time. My moral to the story is practice what your preach and be prepared for the worst, then when it doesn't come you will be one happy camper. One footnote, I won my age group because of this great training and it also helped that I was the only one in the 65-69 group, but I also beat the 70 year old, whooopie!!!

All for tonight, off to the lower valley to do some work(for a change),


Friday, March 23, 2007

The Ride, Movie Reviews

While I have always felt that God did a good thing by giving us the dreaded ten commandments of the "Thou Shalt Nots," I think it would have behooved him to also add some "Thou Shalts." The reason I feel that the commandments are a good thing is because, even though many people ignore them, they lay some foundation for a little law and order in this world. But to carry this further I feel that some things we need to do should be mentioned. For example, how about, "Thou Shalt Own a Motorcycle(preferably a Hog) and ride on it frequently." My thoughts are to not limit these dos' but any given number but simply right them as I feel them. So, the first commandment concerns the motorcycle riding, since I don't want to get real general and say something like, "Thou shalt have fun all the time," I want to be more specific. Plus, since I believe in a balance of life, having fun all the time would not be balanced. So, there must be a little misery in life to balance things out. After all look at Job, what fun and misery he had in his life and then in the end he had he had lost, threefold. Now to my story to fulfill the first greerman commandment, not to be confused with God. Last Saturday I got up and decided to ride the Hog to Arlington, Texas, approximately 325 miles from Ransom Canyon. The idea was to make the ride, offer my volunteer services to the duathlon, then ride back the next day. While there are actually four routes to the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, the fastest one in on Interstate 20. But Interstates were not made for Hogs, they were made for giant trucks and family RV's, so I decided to take the scenic routes. The going route was on Highway 114/199, and this took me through the 6666 ranch country, and through the canyons than run 400 miles North and South. What a ride, with 70 mph speed limit, sun out, temperature just right for riding and little traffic. When I went by the four six's(6666) ranch my mind wondered to the story that this massive ranch(over 200,000 acres) was acquired many years ago in a poker game between a bunch of cowhands, over a camp fire. But, the real story is the ranch was purchased by the current owners in an outright purchase deal and their reason to call it four six's is because that is the brand used on the cattle. So, so much for the poker hand myth. Some 6 hours later I enter the city traffic with lots of automobiles, freeways, and delays. But an hour later I am safely in Arlington, talking with the race director and preparing for the race on Sunday. My job was to offer the trailing motorcycle for the last rider on the race course. This was an interesting job, took about 2 hours then I was headed back to West Texas. This time I elected to take the Highway 180 West through oil and ranching country. Turned out to be a very scenic ride and I saw many other riders along the way. They were mostly groupies, but they did wave. After going through Albany, Texas I spotted a guy riding a bicycle on the right shoulder and after passing him I noticed he had aero bars(had to be a triathlete I said to myself). After giving myself about a quarter of a mile ahead of him I pulled over and waited for him. Turns out he was a triathlete and he had done the Buffalo Springs 70.3, not only that it was his favorite race. After some tri talk I scooted on out and let him return to the ride. We were both happy and content to have this discussion, but needed to get back to the business at hand. My turn North would take me through Snyder back into Ransom Canyon. But wait a minute, I now remember I will be going through Post, Texas the home of the infamous JD's Bar and Grill. I have mentioned this little sleazy bar in some other posts, but I had no plans to stop there on this trip. As I went through Post and got to the outskirts of town the Hog took charge and at the first opportunity it made an abrupt u-turn and the next thing I know we are in front of JD's. There were 7 Hogs in the parking lot and when I entered the bar I notice the same ole crowd, made up of Hog riders, oil field workers, cowboys and JD himself sitting at the end of the bar. While I noticed the sign, "old fashion hamburgers," I just went ahead and ordered a draft beer, wet my whistle and continued my journey. By this time there were 12 Hogs in the lot and business was picking up. The remainder of the trip was great and within an hour I was in Ransom Canyon. Over 700 miles total, with great riding.

Movie reviews: "300" ***.5, My local guy gave it one more star above my rating. This was an interesting movie relative to the battles of the mighty Spartans. One thing they did have were plenty of six packs(and I don't mean beer six packs), and they wore military dress that showed them off. My disappointment was that it gave no pre-movie description of the time frame in history the movie was in. The producer just assumed that we would all know that, I guess. I would not pay full ticket price, even though the acting was very good. No one I recognized and my critic didn't even make note of the stars(there weren't any I guess). Lots of blood, some discreet sex, some nudity, but mostly the bravery of the Spartans was the main theme.

"Notes of a Scandal" ****, Watched this on pay television while on the Hog ride. Very good movie about a school teacher who become sexually involved with a 15 year old boy. Need I say more and now you get the title.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Dentist visit, Senior News, Re-modeling, Bicycle ride, Movie review

Well, just experienced my last visit on fitting these pieces of armor placed in my mouth, called "the bridge." Man these things are something else, and can be related to falling off of a 10 story building and landing on your lower gums. Even though I will continue to give it the ole college try, I don't see much hope for this idea. It hurts while it is in the mouth, can't eat with it and then when I take it out, my teeth that have the dude anchored to it hurt. Am I a sissy or what? What I can do though is rest assured I have some form of protection if ever attacked in a dark alley. I will just pull this thing out of my mouth and rip the throat out of my attacker. But, I will confess I was forewarned and went into this little adventure with my eyes open. The dental assistant said, "I would do the implants rather than the bridge, period." Now I see her point; however, I don't think they will take a trade in on these monsters, so I will do the best I can to make them work. Funny thing is, as I type right now they don't hurt even though I can feel them in my mouth.

While going in the friendly CVS drugstore I noticed a rack that had the latest "Senior News" on it. This made me stop and think, what is the difference between "The News" and "The Senior News?" I would think the news is the news, no matter you age, i.e. if 30 Iraqi's blow themselves up isn't it the same news no matter your age, or if Payton Manning dances at a birthday party for a fat fee, isn't it the same news no matter you age? But, inquiring minds had to take a copy of this free "Senior News." Here is what I found that was different(plus my additional comments), for starters, all of the people in the ads had gray hair(gray doesn't mean older, just more mature or more stress), all of the ads pertained to getting in and out of the bath tub easier(get a ladder), ridding yourself of constipation(fiber, man, lots of fiber), managing diabetes(curb that sweet tooth early), managing the Medicare Part D(hire a lawyer), understanding that experience sculpts the brain to build resiliency to stress(my experience tells me to bypass this one), MRI, CT debated for stroke diagnosis(yep, have a stroke, have a multi-thousand dollar MRI to tell you,"you had a stroke sir or mam", Home Plate Diner 10% discount for senior citizens(chicken fried steak at its best), natural looking dentures(smile for me with those plastics, but has to beat bridges), preventing side effect from plasma transfusions(how about death), scientists find new genetic clue to cause of Alzheimer's disease(so what do I do, fire my parents), importance of discussing complementary and alternative medicine use with doctors(give me fruits and veggies any day), improving communication in the ICU about end-of-life care(wow, I can see it now, yea doc let's pull that ole plug while I am napping, that way it won't hurt), long term benefits from mental exercise(take up checkers), aging in style(buy a new suit, take up jogging, take up having sex with someone much younger than you or dreaming about having sex with someone much younger than you, etc., etc.) shoe fit matters(damn right, your toenails come off if you shoe doesn't fit), and finally NIH Senior Health adds information on depression(end of story, this Senior News depresses me, off to do a swim, have a beer, then go to the movie!!!)

Re-modeling reminds me of war, all of these strangers come prancing in you home and take charge. Each one of the specialists take their battle line and position themselves to operate the tools of their speciality. I started to hear this grinding noise, then this sawing noise, then this ripping out noise, then this buzzing noise, it really gives you have a headache. The next thing you know all of the furniture is moved from one room to the other(new tile being laid), then when the painting is started the furniture is piled up in the middle of the room. Then you can't find anything to wear because the chests have been moved, covered, and hidden from my life. I have been wearing the same underwear for 6 days, but the total 6 doesn't count since I turned them wrong side out 2 days. But, I can't find the clean ones, the washer is covered, the chests are covered and I am confused(see why I get the Senior News), I am having a Senior moment that is lasting for 14 days. We decided to go out last night to eat(no eating in the house because of paint odor, sawdust, and glue smells), dance a little and return home. When I get home I can't find my sleeping garments, the dogs have taken over my bed(which is really the guest bedroom since our bedroom is still under repair) and life seems to suck under the re-model mode. But I did sleep very well since I had experienced a 40 mile bicycle ride in the afternoon and I was dog tired. Then there are the dogs in this re-modeling thing. They are more confused than I am, since they are sentenced to staying in their room while the workers are here, but still able to go outside via the dogie door. This is cool to them; however, they are used to being in the main house when we are home and can't be with this mess going on. Squeaky gives us this real disgusted look and stays in bed most of the day, while Buffman still stalks the back yard barking at any noise in the neighborhood. He has always been a take charge type of guy and this paint sniffing has really set him off. But wait till we start the exercise add on room, that will extend from their room to the patio. Then they will really be pissed, since it will infringe on all of their territory. In the end it will be a better place for them, but in the interim they will not have their usual territory.

The bicycle ride was my first ride of the year outside, over 20 miles, and it was an eye opener. First mistake I made was consenting to ride with two guys that could blow my britches off with little effort. Randy Holloway has been training for Ironman AZ, so he was in excellent shape and made it difficult for the Greerman. But, he was patient and did wait up when it was required. The wind was blowing around 25 mph from the South, so we fought that challenge for about 20 miles. My resolve after this little ride was to get myself in better shape and get back on the rodes. Enough of this enjoying life, riding the hog, bowling, dancing, drinking my favorite adult beverage, relaxing, writing, etc. But, I will still maintain balance and continue to have some fun, along with training!!!

Movie review, "Music and Lyrics" ***.5, a romantic comedy staring Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore, and Haley Bennett, some sexual content(very tame), a story of a over the hill 1980's musical star(Grant), that teams with a naturally gifted lyricist(Barrymore) to write a song for the current world's leading pop diva(Bennett), and in turn revive his career, in addition Grant creates some boy/girl stuff with Barrymore. Enjoyable movie, with feel good tendencies. Most women would give it a four, I gave it a 3.5 simply because it was a girlie movie and I was there in my leathers(been riding the Hog all day), and I had to apply some macho to this rating.

For today,


Monday, March 05, 2007

Memphis, TN, The bridge, Movie review and assorted comments

Well I just returned from an industrial trade show in Memphis, TN, called the Mid South Gin & Equipment show. While I have attended this show for many years this was the first time I have been back since selling Greer Industrial over four years ago. It was interesting to see people(older now of course) I had done business with in the past and to see the new equipment that was being offered to the agriculture industry in our present day. One piece of equipment was particularly interesting in that it was being offered for $540,000.00 and when I ask the young engineer what the cost justification for this type of equipment was he seemed puzzled at the question. It is really a simple question, duh!!, how long does it take to pay back the initial expense based on the production of the equipment? Of course that is why you want young impressionable, inexperienced people working these type of shows. They can't lie to you because they don't know any different and since they are engineers they very seldom think outside the box of design, plus there is no real experience with this equipment so they have not seen any failure. Hopefully my question will prompt him to design some form of cost justification and he can answer this simple question. But, I didn't notice him writing anything down so I am sure he gazed at the star's as I walked off and sighed, "thank God that old guy moved on to harass someone else and I can get prepared for Beale St. tonight". ----interlude on writing, Squeaky got out and I had to chase her all over the neighborhood. What a pain, that dog weighs 15 pounds and makes grown ups(me mostly) look very stupid. But I caught her finally and warned her that I was changing the name of the triathlon to Buffman Triathlon and leave her out if she continued this nonsense. She really didn't seem to care and did her dancing stuff and acting real smart. I finally caught her while nosing up to a terrier down the street. Now back to Memphis----While the show was a very good one we also had to try the famous "Rendezvous" ribs, they turned out to be as dry as the West Texas wind and we decided they just had a bad day, since this place is very famous or maybe they just have become a tourist trap and people go there regardless to say they have. The next night we fell into the same mode and went to the equally famous "Butcher Shop", had a two hour, two Margarita wait and then ate a fantastic steak. The wait was a small pain since we really didn't have anything else to do, the Margarita's were great and the scenery exceeded that. My belief is that the women of the south/southeast, southwest offer the best scenery of any place I have ever traveled. So, we enjoyed ourselves to that pleasure, ate a great steak, rubbed our strained eyes, and then returned to the hotel. Another trade show out of the way and back to real business.

In previous posts I have mentioned my new bridge, you know that one I am supposed to be able to eat with and enjoy the luxury of both sides of my chewing world. Well the jury is still out on this and I am still training my mouth to have a contraption looking like something out of Frankenstein. I even ate a pizza with it in the airport in Dallas, it worked fairly well but then my gums and other teeth were so sore afterward that I couldn't wear it again. Guess it takes training, like training for the Ironman. Oh I forgot, it also gives me a slight headache, so I have a way to go. One thing I like about it though is that if I were attacked by someone for whatever reason I have a lethal weapon on me that I could use to defend myself. I could take the bridge out and cut their ever living guts out with it. Makes me feel safer already, the only problem is getting the bridge out in a timely manner. It is still a little snug and needs both thumb nails to remove. Now as I type I am gritting my teeth to see if there is still pain and discomfort, yep there is, so I will remove it for a while. To be continued-----!!!!

Since starting my movie review segment I have decided to offer some explanation of how I determine my ratings and how they may different from the so called professional critics. While the definition of "critic" is one who reviews movies or more fittingly, one who tends to faultfinding, I define my reviews as the first definition, of course, but I also review the movie just simply as to the entertainment nature of the movie. Since that is what movies are supposed to be about then I think that should hold the most weight. So, if I am entertained and the movie makes some sense, no matter whether it was based on fact or fiction that is how I look at them. If I am watching what I call a "cause" movie, i.e. "Blood Diamond"(the cause being the taking of young black boys and making them slaves by their own black terrorist insurgents, and including the exploitation of the black market diamond industry, a double cause here) base on a true story or simply "Happy Feet", based on animated penguins. I rate the movie on whether not I was entertained or not. My local critic and I totally disagreed on "The Astronaut Farmer," while he thought it was a useless story I found it entertaining. I would agree that building a space craft that would actually take me into outer space, in my back yard is a tad bit far out, it was great entertainment, and I like Billy Bob Thornton. But after all this was fiction and never meant to be a true story. We did agree on "Epic Movie" when he said he wanted his popcorn back and a full refund. So, we are not always in disagreement. Now for my most recent viewing, "Wild Hogs," ****, this dude was not criticized favorably by my local guy, and I really do not care. This was a funny entertaining movie. The four stars in the movie played their parts well and complimented each other with lots of chemistry. With John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen and William Macy as the "Wild Hogs" how could it go wrong. Then throw in Ray Liota as the real bad "one per center(a term given original motorcycle gang riders)" who had a disgust for the "posers"(a term given to the modern day riders of hogs, coming from all walks of life, i.e. lawyers, bankers, etc., by the one per centers). The story was really about four guys feeling the need to get away on their Hogs and enjoy life a little. Each one had their own reasons and each of these reasons were told in the story. It had some drama, some girl/boy stuff, some marriage stuff, some failure stuff, some happy stuff, some "I can relate to that stuff", plus some good motorcycle riding stuff. Since they all road Hogs the sounds were good and there was even some realism in it. A couple of thoughts came to mind after watching the movie, 1. Everyone watching the movie who owns a motorcycle will want to ride immeditely(like today)!! 2. If they don't own a motorcycle they will go shopping immediately(today), 3. Motorcycle, especially Hogs, sales will go up within the next month. Generally a great buying time anyway, but with this movie it will go up even more. Guess Harley had something to do with this!! Warning: If you don't like motorcycles you might not enjoy this movie, but afterall the acting is good, the story is sound and it is really about life, so why not.

For today,