Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More Pichers




If you look closely, you will see a lone deer walking across the parking lot.
I was just getting out of my car one afternoon at the college campus where I was staying and here came a deer slowly walking across the pavement.
There are a lot of deer in this area (Newark).




As promised, I include more pictures from my travels.

Due to my limited abilities, I cannot get the pictures to go where I want them so you will have to figure what is what.

Included is another picture of the Bartlett brothers.
Brother Tony, is on the left, Brother Danny on the right (duh).
I include another shot of the church building.
I consider the building very functional and generally pretty.
The sanctuary/auditorium is very similar in layout to what I proposed to brother Spanogle for the new Morgan City building.
I do not believe this idea was ever seriously considered.

Also presented are a few more pictures from the wedding of Jill and David.
More to come....

Monday, July 30, 2007

Busy Me





It has been a busy (and tiring) two weeks.
On Monday, July 16, I traveled to Newark, Ohio, to Brother Tony Bartlett's congregation – the Licking County Church of God, for their annual campmeeting.

I had a pleasant time and enjoyed the fellowship and services.
The sermons seemed especially clear and strong this year.
It was good to see my Army buddies – Tony and Danny Bartlett, Walt Williams, and Abraham Jeeter – whom I met in Korea.
This was also the time and place that we learned of the Church of God.
I traveled back to Alabama on Friday, July 20th.

My Saturday run was limited to two miles because of my fatigue from all the travel the previous day.
It was a useful session but I cannot say it was fun.
But it is good to be running again.

The curve ball came Monday at work, where I was assigned to a project on Redstone Arsenal.
This involved setting up tents, carrying equipment, and basically playing Army like I did forty-one years ago.
The temperature each day has been around ninety degrees.
I am not the man I was then.
I went home each afternoon exhausted.

Thus, the run this past Saturday was again limited to 2.3 miles.
I was clearly tired, but I was visited by a biological problem that I work diligently to avoid.
This morning I failed.
The distress this caused only added to the distress of the session.
Like I have said many times, it is good to be running again, but the practice has its hazards and problems.
This is one of them.

And this Saturday was a very special day in that I was to travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to attend the marriage of Jill Allison and David Parker.
I did not want to miss this very special event.
So after the run, and my usual shopping trip, I drove to Knoxville.

I have known David since he was about one year old.
He is a dear brother and I have always enjoyed his company and fellowship.
He is now about forty or so and has never been married.
I have prayed for years that his patience and faithfulness would be rewarded; and so they have.

I do not know Sister Jill as well as I do David.
What little I have been around her she has seemed a sweet, kind person with a hint of fun hiding beneath her quiet exterior.
She was married to Jimmy Allison – one of the most intimidatingly spiritual and talented young men I have ever known.
He was big, handsome, and an awesome singer.
I always admired him from a distance.
I felt that if I were to stand too close to him, the obvious differences and inequalities between he and me would be too apparent, so I kept my distance.
I just assumed that he was a “good” daddy and husband also.
What little I saw his interactions with his family seemed to support that impression.

Tragically, Brother Jimmy died a couple of years ago (three or four years now?) of cancer (I think).
For sister Jill and her three children, I cannot imagine the shock, pain, and loss this circumstance must have caused.
I was shocked.
I have never been able to express my sympathy to sister Jill and the children for their loss.
I certainly did not want to spoil a happy event like her wedding to David by bringing up her sad past.
But my heart went out to her back then and my prayer is that she will find comfort and happiness with David.







So, a couple of hours Saturday were spent greeting old friends and saints that I have not seen in several years, and meeting/observing a new generation of children whom I know not.
Then, because of local church responsibilities, I had to jump in my car and drive back to Huntsville that evening.
I made it all the way from Huntsville to Knoxville to Huntsville on one tank of gas.
430 miles round trip.
Actually, I stopped for gas about one mile from my house because my tank was so low.
I get really nervous when my needle gets close to “E”.

More wedding pictures to follow....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Bizee Daee

Saturday was very busy for me.
First of all, the morning run was interesting/useful.
I ran my three mile course again, trying to build my strength.
I felt a bit tired starting out - not my favorite signal at that time.
But I motored on, doing my best to focus on the moment and not get into the dread of how the finish will feel, etc.

I surprised myself by scaling the two forty-foot hills with nominal effort.
As I started the second loop (the big mile-and-a half loop) I was feeling pretty good.
Near the end of mile two, I could tell that I was tired, but my breathing remained at the comfort level until I crossed Old Madison Pike for the final quarter mile.

By then, I knew I was going to be okay.
As I entered the final one hundred yards, I was able to push myself a little and speed up for a strong finish.
I hesitate to call the final push a "sprint" but there was enough to add a little extra to my pace.
Trying to cool down afterward in the warm (70 degrees) muggy (80% humidity) air was a slow process.
The run turned out to be slow, as well.
I started at 6:06 AM and ended at 6:48 - 42 minutes.
That was disappointing, but like I said before, I will take time over speed at this time in my life.
It feels great just to be running again.

THEN - it was home to begin preparations for my trip to Ohio.
Monday I am going to Newark, Ohio to attend a church campmeeting.
I will be visiting by old army buddy Tony Bartlett, now bishop of the Licking County Church of God.
Preparation involved doing laundry, mowing grass (it has finally rained enough in the last two weeks to inspire the grass to grow enough to require trimming), cleaning, buying certain foods that lend themselves to travel, etc.
I plan to return Friday.

A full report will be presented here next week. (with some pictures!)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thots on Live Earth

One of my most pet of peeves is millionaires telling me how to live my life and spend my money.
Such is this weeks Live Earth concerts nonsense.

The purpose of such exercises is so the rich, caring rock and roll performers can ease their guilt from being so rich and lazy by preaching to the rest of us about some “cause” that is “good” for everyone.
In this case it is about “saving” the earth from global warming.
More specifically, man-made global warming.
More specifically, evil American capitalist-made global warming.
More specifically, evil American capitalist oil comany-made global warming.
It is difficult to imagine a more futile and stupid exercise.
Of course Albert Gore, Jr. is associated with this so you know it has to be stupid.

First of all, these people believe that it is the homes and power plants and factories of evil capitalists (read: rich Republicans) that produce the evil “greenhouse” gases that are causing the earths atmosphere to warm up, which will cause the ice at the north and south poles to melt, which will raise the level of the ocean, which will flood their fancy beach houses, which will force them to move somewhere else.
All of this is assumed to be caused by people, even though there is no evidence that people are causing any change in the temperature of the earths atmosphere.

In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the earths temperature has gone through several cycles of warming and cooling in the past thousands of years, when there were very few people on the planet.
Who caused that?
Campfires, maybe.

And regarding the melting polar ice caps: have you ever seen a glass full of ice overflow as the ice melts?
No.
Because ice in water displaces an amount of water equal to its mass.
So the ocean is going nowhere.
The moon raises and lowers the tides four or five feet two times each day and we have not perished yet.
So what is the problem?

And guess what one of the biggest contributers of “greenhouse” gases is – methane.
Guess the largest source of methane – cow farts.
Really.
So guess what, they want us to stop eating beef.
Really.

Try to follow this.
The compassionate, caring, rich movie stars and compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars want all the rest of us to stop eating hamburgers.
This will cause the evil, capitalist Republican ranchers will stop growing cows.
No cows = no cow farts.
No cow farts = less methane.
Less methane = less “greenhouse” gases.
Less “greenhouse” gases = lower temperatures.
Lower temperatures = more polar ice.
More polar ice = lower sea levels.
Lower sea levels = we save the planet.
Woopee!

And the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars get to keep his/her big beach house.

But there are several problems with this scenario.
Here is one -
Just one volcanic eruption sends more carbon dioxide and methane and ash into the atmosphere than all the the stuff all the people on the planet can put in it.
So even if all people everywhere were to reduce their “greenhouse” gas emissions to zero, the next volcano would more than undo all of our efforts.
So why bother?

So, this leads me to some questions....

1 Are the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars going to sell their mansions and live in little houses like the rest of us, so that they can use less energy, like they want the rest of us to do?
2 Are the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars going to stop eating beef, like they want the rest of us to do?
3 How much extra energy was used to power the big amplifiers and lights for all these concerts for Live Earth?
4 And how much energy was burned running the multiple 18 wheelers that delivered all the equipment for all of the Live Earth concerts?
5 How much energy was burned by the jets and limos to deliver the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars to the concerts?
6 Are all of the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars going to change all of their light bulbs like they want all the rest of us to do?
7 Are all of the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars going to sell their big SUVs, race cars and limousines, and drive little, expensive, slow electric cars, that only go 50 miles at a time, like they want all the rest of us to do?
8 Are all of the compassionate, caring, rich rock and roll stars, and compassionate, caring, rich movie stars going to wipe their butts with one square of toilet paper like Sheril Crow wants all the rest of us to do?

I think not.

I have an idea.
Lets all go to Taco Bell and buy a big BEEF and bean burrito and have a methane party.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Surprise! Again!

After the rather disappointing news of a couple of weeks ago that my running course was not three miles, as I intended, but two miles (2.3 to be ezakt), I set about to re-plot my path to really (reelee) be three miles.
So today, Saturday, I tried out a modified course that, according to my calculations, was 3.15 miles.
It should be pointed out that it is one thing to have a course of a planned length, it is quite another to actually run the whole length of it.

As you may know, I took advantage of the holiday on Wednesday and ran the two mile course in the early morning (six AM).
I was not pleased with my performance that day ( I felt tired, etc.) but I had a successful run nonetheless.
It was not intended to break new ground in distance or intensity - just a "maintenance" session.
It served that function, so in that view, it was a successful session.

So today, I was somewhat concerned that I would still feel weak and not do well on my new longer path.
My concern was not necessary.
I started out cautiously, mindful of the longer duration of my planned session.
The time was 6:08 AM.
The weather was typical for this location and time of year - about 70 degrees with about 95 percent humidity (really).
It was so humid that there was fog just a few dozen feet above the ground.

After some minor whining from my left hip and hamstring, everybody settled down for the task at hand (or foot, if you like).
Hill # 1 went well, with accelerated breathing starting only after I reached the top.
Hill # 2 also went well, with accelerated breathing starting late in the segment.
Breathing was slightly impaired because of the heavy, wet air.
After topping hill 2, instead of turning right, I kept going straight, crossing Old Madison Pike.
I wondered if I could make this additional mile and a half loop.
In the back of my mind, I was prepared to nurse my wounded ego (or id) if things got so difficult that I had to stop running and walk for a few minutes.

But the longer I ran, the better I felt.
This was a segment of my old running course.
I had traveled it many times in years past, so it felt familiar and comfortable.
At the end of the first half-mile leg, I was feeling surprisingly strong.
I turned right for the second half-mile segment, still feeling good.
As I turned right again, to begin the last half-mile portion of this loop, I wondered if my breathing would hold to my more relaxed one-per-four-steps level or bump up to the one-per-three-steps rate, like it did the last time I ran this loop.
Interestingly, my breathing held to the lower rate until I crossed Old Madison Pike and turned left for the last quarter-mile segment.
But by then I could almost see my car.
I was nearing the finish line, and elevated breathing was more in order.

By now, my body was beginning to talk to me about various points of discomfort.
None of this was urgent or even painful, and I was pleased (again!) that all systems were still go for the finish.

As I entered the parking lot of the office park where my car was parked, Run Command Central gave authorization for the session to stop at the near end of the long office building near my car, rather than the far end, as a reward for the good performance.
But my body (and ego or id or whatever hidden part of me that responds to challenges) signaled it's intention to push to the far end of the building.
To be sure, I was tired.
There was no sprint here.
But there was no letup, either.
My legs, though tired, were pushed to maintain - and even increase - their pace as I traveled the final one hundred yards.
I worked to lengthen my strides as I approached the end point.
It was with great satisfaction that I stopped running and began my cool-down walk.
I was very tired - and pleased.
I ran the whole way.
The time was 6:45 AM.
It had taken me 37 minutes to run three point one five miles.
I am not as fast as I used to be.
But at this point in my life (read: age) I will trade speed for time and distance willingly.
And to my surprise - again - I am stronger than I was last week.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Out With The Old, In With The New

Let the chronicles show that, on this, my third anniversary in my little house, the clothes washing machine that came with the house has died (or at least became greatly impaired) .
According to the records it was 17 years old.

This was not an unexpected event and, according to plan, a new machine was procured.
So now I have a nice, white, new Kenmore washer installed as of this day.
It is a top-load machine.
I did not take the so-called "energy efficiency" bate and opt for one of the new (and expensive) front-load washers.
My sister did so, but I doubt that she will ever see the payback in energy savings vs. the huge price of such machines (almost three times the cost of my machine).

Water is not expensive, and never will be - in spite of what Al Gore says.
Reducing the cost of heating water can be controlled by installing a water heater (not a tankless - that is another subject) that is well insulated, and installing a low-flow shower head (as I have done).

I am looking forward to washing my first load of clothes in my new machine.
(Friday is laundry day.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Reality

It was with some dismay that I realized that I had miscalculated the length of my new running course in Research Park.
I originally thought it was 3.2 miles.
But as I was plotting a slightly longer course, I realized that the length was only 2.2 miles.
So this past Saturday morning I changed the path of my course to lengthen it to three miles.
Well, almost.

The new path bypasses the one mile loop with the hills and substitutes a 2.2 mile loop that is virtually flat.
Total new course length - 2.7 miles.
Further adjustments will be made to get it to three miles.

The motive is to build some distance ability - endurance.
I did fine the first two miles or so, then, for no apparent reason, my breathing kicked into three-step mode.
It stayed there for the duration of the run.
I was not impressed with my performance.
I fear that I need to get used to this.

Near the end of the session, part of me wanted to stop, but Run Command Central again overruled the impulse and pushed me to the far end of the building near my parked car.
It was a good session - no hurting joints, no whining muscles.
There was just general fatigue from the hips down.
The normal (as in, common) reaction to a taxing run.
Hopefully, I will gain some endurance as I slowly build my distance.

Because of the Independence Day holiday Wednesday, I plan to run this course again (at six AM).
We shall see how I do.