Saturday, June 21, 2008

Of Trucks and Computers and Runs


Did you ever have to poop in the middle of a four-mile run?
Don't answer.
I really don't want to know.
Let's just say that if you have, I know somewhat how you felt.
Don't ask how I know.

The threat of morning rain did not apply to my running course this morning.
The temperature was a nice, damp 70 or so with several layers of broken clouds basking in the sunrise.
The start time was 5:53 AM.
The finish time was 6:34 AM.
This calcs to me like forty-one minutes.
I was well pleased.

The session was pleasant if not fun.
I felt a bit tired, not at my best, but I was able to perform in general "comfort".
(I know some of you cannot conceive of having a "comfortable" run - of any distance - and I would not either eight years ago.)
But there is such a thing, and today was close to it.
So much so, that after Hill One, I was pushing ever so gently on the pedal to increase my pace.
Evidently, it worked.
The clock never lies.

My back was not comfortable with the upright, slightly sway-backed - position for the first quarter mile or so.
I was somewhere in mile two when I realized that my back was happy.
A happy back makes me happy.
I was happy after mile one.

Sadly, yesterday is the longest day of sunlight for the year - the first day of Summer.
From now on, all days will be getting shorter.
This is enough to put me in a funk, because I hate winter.
Cold, gray, yucky, rainy, windy, blech.
That is the bad news.
The good news - all of that is still four or five months away.
Woo hoo.

OPENSUSE 11.0...

is now installed on my puter machine.
I spent most of Friday downloading it, burning the ISO to a DVD, then installing it on my machine.
The down load took about an hour and a half for 4.3 gigs of data/code.
I wasted another hour or two piddling around trying to verify the check sum.
I finally got the magic detail online from a user in Europe somewhere.
Nice guy.

Burning the DVD took another three hours because of the slow burn speed recommended by "them-what-know" (1.5 hours to burn + 1.5 hours to verify every individual bit).
It only took about thirty or forty minutes to install the new stuff on/in my computer.
And now----- I have new software - from the kernel on out.

The new Firefox 3.0 is noticeably faster.
The new Open Office looks about like the last rev but has some subtle differences.

I was looking forward to seeing the new KDE 4.0 desktop but for some reason it did not want to load.
And the automatic updater is broken.
But I can do updates manually.
And my mouse wheel is still broken.
But maybe I will learn how to fix it myself.

So I will wait for another patch or two to fix these few issues.

I have been using openSUSE Linux for over a year now.
I have no plans to go back to Window$.
I am very pleased with this version of Linux.


Some time last year (I think) I was sitting in my car in Lowe's parking lot getting ready to leave on another errand.
A man driving a red Chevy Blazer drove slowly past me and made a slow loop around the big covered exit, apparently looking for someone.
What caught my eye was the right rear tire of the truck.
It was about half flat.
I pondered trying to wave him down to tell him, but he left before I could make a move.

Months later, I saw the same red truck parked in front of some cheap apartments near my house.
The right rear tire was still half flat.

I felt sorry to the man and God said to me, you can help him fix that tire.
He is probably having a tough time of it and you could help him.
I knew it was true.
I have been blessed and it would not be a financial strain to help this man get his tire fixed.

But I put it off.
It was never the "right" time to change my little schedule and go do the deed.
Such moves are out of my comfort zone.
What would I say?
How would I explain my desire to help?
What would he say?
This discomfort went on for days and weeks, but it was clear that God wanted me to help the man fix his tire.
Even if it cost one hundred dollers.

Then one day as I passed the apartments after work - the truck was gone.
I felt badly.

And God said, "See? I told you to help him. Now he's gone."
Missed opportunity.
And missed blessing.

That was about two months ago.
Guess what I saw this past Tuesday?
The red truck.
Guess what - the right rear tire was STILL low.
I said, Lord, I will do it this time, no matter what.

So today, after the morning run and the shopping trip, I drove over to the apartments.
Got out of my car and introduced myself to the folks there.
I explained my mission and why.
It turns out that the man I saw in the truck last year was no longer the owner.
At this point, I did not care.
I had to get that tire fixed.
The man did not argue with me when I offered to get his tire fixed.

So the new owner, gave me the bad tire and wheel and off I drove to get it fixed.
It turned out that the tire was damaged and could not be repaired.
I was prepared for this.
So I bought a new tire for the wheel.
After about an hour or so, I returned to the red truck and proudly presented the man with his **new** tire and (old) wheel.
He was pleased.
I was pleased.

And a burden of guilt was lifted off of me.
Next time I will move faster.
I promise, Lord.

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