Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Random Act of Kindness Alert!

Even though I often find myself in conversations with people I don’t know, I usually try to keep to myself when I’m on an airplane – I don’t want to be the obnoxious loud mouth when the guy next to me is trying to sleep, work or otherwise keep to himself.

Last week, however, was the exception because I was curious what the guy across the aisle from me thought about the book he was reading - called His Excellency by Joseph Ellis. It’s a book about George Washington - I nearly bought it a couple of weeks ago but decided to first wait to hear from someone who had already read it.

The guy across the aisle and I had a very pleasant 5-minute discussion about the book; to which he gave glowing reviews and even encouraged me to read other offerings by the same author.

As we were exiting the plane and walking up the jet bridge, he handed me the book and said, “Here. Enjoy!” He had finished the book on the flight and decided to give it to me rather than let it “start a dust collection” on his shelf at home! Wow – I really didn’t know what to say! At first I declined but he persisted.

He probably was only trying to lighten his own load, but in doing so he made a thoughtful gesture of kindness. It’s sad how such an act of thoughtfulness is so rare that it left me totally surprised and nearly speechless. I can only hope that it will have a lasting affect on me.

I suffer from the “Aw Man! Complex”; which refers to my recognizing an opportunity to commit a random act of kindness only after the moment has already passed – at which point you hear me say, “Aw Man!”

This happens a lot with Kelly and me. She says that she doesn’t like the skirt she’s wearing and I think to myself, “There’s nothing wrong with that skirt.” But after a few moments of silence have passed Kelly points out, “See! That was a great opportunity to say, ‘I think that skirt looks good – you should wear it.’ And then I say, “Aw Man!”

I guess I need to get the little angel on my shoulder to be a little quicker at whispering those comments in my ear – otherwise there may be some sudden turnover in that department!

In the meantime: Thanks again, Gordon – I look forward to reading my new book!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Who has the Right of Way?

OK, I need a little driving etiquette guidance:

Who has the right away when one car is pulling out of a parking spot and another car wants to pass by? I'm sick and tired of looking both ways before reversing out of a parking spot only to have my rear bumper nearly ripped off by some crazed parking lot jockey who’s giving me an earful (as well as an occasional finger) as they fly by!

I go by the "Quarter Panel Rule" - if your entire rear quarter panel extends into the driveway then you have the right of way. Otherwise, tap the brakes if you see a soccer mom because you know she won’t!

Let me know if I'm right or wrong!

By the way, here are some results from a recent poll where residents in the following 20 cities were surveyed and are listed in order from those reporting the most incidents of road rage to the fewest:

1. Miami
2. Phoenix
3. New York
4. Los Angeles
5. Boston
6. Washington/Baltimore
7. Detroit
8. San Diego
9. Houston
10. Philadelphia
11. Dallas/Ft. Worth
12. Denver
13. Chicago
14. Cleveland
15. San Francisco
16. Atlanta
17. Seattle
18. St. Louis
19. Nashville
20. Minneapolis
Source: AutoVantage's "In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Separated at birth?

This just proves that it pays to be a dork.
(Which leads me to ask, "Where's my money?")

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Parlez or Habla?

I remember the moment in high school when I was told to decide which foreign language I wanted to study. My choices were Latin (No way! Who wants to learn a dead language?), Spanish (El boring!) and French (Hey, isn’t that cute girl also taking French?) – I chose French.

So for the next 6 years, including almost 6 months in Grenoble, France, I soaked in anything French. Everything from the passé composé to L'État, C’est Moi to the Eiffel Tower to Steak Frites – if it was French I made a study card about it.

My big pay off came on graduation day when I received a Minor in French – Cha Ching! And it’s a good thing, too, because ever since I’ve been out of school my français comme une deuxième langue has proven to be a difference maker here in North Texas . . . yeah, right!

Let me say that I loved studying French – especially the time when I actually studied French in France. But why the heck didn’t somebody say, “Wade – you live in North Tejas! Study Spanish!”

The thing that has brought on this little rant is a recent 4-day weekend to Playa del Carmen, Mexico that Kelly and I took to celebrate our 7th anniversary. During the trip I heard both French and Spanish. While listening to the French tourists, I became so frustrated and embarrassed to realize that my French has deteriorated from fluency to a Pre-K level (Mon Dieu!). When I was trying to converse with the locals, I realized that had I studied Spanish for 6 years I probably would have retained twice as much of Spanish as the French that I have lost.

Coming home from Mexico, I told Kelly that it will be very important to me that our children grow up learning (and retaining) Spanish. I have always felt that learning and conversing in a foreign language forces you to be more open minded to the world outside our American Bubble – which will be important considering how recent social political events are pretty good indicators that some day soon being bi-lingual in North Texas will be a necessity.

English: Here’s a picture of Kelly and I at our resort, Iberostar Paraiso – very nice!
Espanol: ¡Aquí está un retrato de Kelly y de yo en nuestro recurso, Iberostar Paraiso – muy agradable!
Francais: Ici est une image de Kelly et j'à notre recours, Iberostar Paraiso – très chic!

Wanna get away?

Here’s a great clip of a news broadcaster who would love to get away!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Game 7?

Jason Terry better be punching himself right now!

Rowdy, Proud and Loud!!

Here's a funny clip for all you Dallas Maverick Fans!
(Thanks to Jody B. for passing this on.)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sam's Club MS150 - Day Two! (Updated)

And just like that, Day Two is over!!

The day started off great with a spin around Texas Motor Speedway. While I was waiting for the start, I noticed former Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker pull up on his bike so I ran over and got a picture made with him on my camera phone (See below - Sorry for the poor quality). Knowing that I had finished around 2:00 PM yesterday, I asked Herschel what time he finished – he said around 11:45 AM!!!! I guess if I'm going to be competitive against guys like Herschel Walker then I'll have to start taking steriods!

Below is a picture of me and Claude (see Day One comments) just before the start. At this point we were on Pit Row - you can see the stands behind us (Again, sorry for the poor quality).

Once we got started, we made our loop around the track - I was amazed at the incline of the track on the turns. Kelly waited for me that the end of the exit tunnel coming out of the speedway and since she was standing in front of the News 5 camera she got to be on TV!! How is it I am the one who pedaled 150 miles yet she gets to be on TV?

Here are today’s numbers:

Distance: 85 miles
Time: 5:02:00 actually riding (6:45:00 including 8 rest stops)
Average Speed: 16.9 mph
Top Speed: 35.7 mph (thanks to the hills in Boyd)

Total Distance: 163.5 miles (I thought it was supposed to be only 150 miles!)
Total Time: 9:48:00 actually riding (13:15:00 including 16 rest stops)

Below is a picture of a guy who had a basket on his handle bars where his little Schnauzer sat! You can see the dog just above the his rider number. I asked him if he was afraid if his dog would ever jump out while he was going down the street, "He does it all the time! He just hangs there from his leash until I reach down, grab him and throw him back in his basket!" This guy better hope PETA nevers hears about this! (Thank goodness my phone is better at taking calls than it is taking pictures!)

When you’re riding in these races you hear riders say things like, “Hey man, nice bike!” or “Hey, cool jersey.” But do you know what people said to me? “Hey man, cool number.” My rider number was 2222. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, “Thanks . . . I guess.”

My favorite thing to do during the ride: Pass guys who shaved their legs!

Here I am looking good at the finish line! That's my dad behind me thinking, "Hmmm, I bet I can do this!" Actually, I'm sure he could!

Let me take a moment to thank so many of you who supported me in this ride. As of today, you have helped me raise over $500 - which is well past my goal of $325. Our combined efforts have helped a great cause – fighting multiple sclerosis.

There was one point in the ride where I wanted to pull over and take a picture of a lady standing on the side of the road cheering us on. She was holding a sign that said, “150 miles closer to a cure” and it reminded me that this weekend wasn’t about burning thighs, top speeds or even personal achievement – it was about providing relief to the victims of multiple sclerosis.

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement! I couldn't have done it without you!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sam's Club MS150 - Day One!

Today was Day One of the Sam’s Club MS150 – which is a 2-day charity event where 3,000 cyclists ride 150 miles from Frisco, Texas to Downtown Fort Worth (all benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society).

It’s safe to say that I was a little nervous coming into this weekend – I woke up this morning at 3:30 AM and was never able to go back to sleep. As it turned out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. I actually finished stronger than I had hoped.

Here are my numbers:

Distance: 78.5 miles
Time: 4:46:00 actually riding (6:30:00 including 8 rest stops)
Average Speed: 16.3 mph
Top Speed (Kelly doesn’t like this category): 31.6 mph

Kelly did her best to be a supportive wife by following behind in the car. I was impressed that she was able to navigate the North Texas country roads and pull up to at an intersection just as I was was riding by. When I saw her later at the lunch stop, I felt so bad that she was driving around by herself that I told her to go home and relax - she said, "Ok, bye!"

The best part of the day was bumping into a friend who used to go to church with me. I hadn’t seen Claude in probably 3 years! As it turned out, we rode almost the entire day together. It was great having Claude there to talk to me because it made the ride go faster - hopefully I was able to return the favor for him!

Right now I’m doing my best not to nap so that I can sleep easily tonight. Then the alarm clock will go off around 4:45 AM and I’ll be off to pedal another 72 miles!! The best part about tomorrow is that the first mile will be on the race track at Texas Motor Speedway!

Keep praying for me! I’ll give another update tomorrow night!

(Kelly took this picture just before our 7:00 AM start.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pet lovers! Stay away from Haltom City, Texas!

If you have a pet then don’t let Haltom City know it! Monday night, WFAA News 8 ran a story about a family whose 14-month old puppy was impounded because it was playing unleashed in their front yard (the family was also playing outside with the puppy)!!

The family couldn’t immediately get their puppy back once it was impounded because they couldn’t afford the $400 fine. The reason they couldn’t afford the fine was because they had medical bills for their 6-year old daughter’s hospital stay that resulted from her diabetes!! And since they couldn't pick up the puppy within 72 hours, Haltom City Animal Control had it euthanized!!!!

What great public service this is!! I'm sure the citizens of Haltom City are sleeping much better tonight because their neighborhoods are now rid of one more intolerable puppy!

Too bad, little girl, I know you’re having a tough time with your diabetes but you should have known better than to let your dog run wild in your front yard! But don’t worry, Fluffy didn’t feel a thing!

I’m incensed!!!! I can’t imagine what I would do if anything remotely like this happened to Macy, our golden retriever! The family has supposedly been promised a closed-door meeting with the City Manager and the Director of Animal Control. But c'mon! The dog should not have even been impounded . . . way to show the world a little compassion, Haltom City Animal Control!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Day of Action

First, let me go on record by saying that I recognize the incredible importance that legal immigrants have on our economy – we would be crippled without them!

But here’s an honest, sincere question: In terms of dollars, what impact do illegal immigrants have on my taxes?

I agree that our current system of naturalization isn’t working – but I don’t remember anyone saying that we don’t need or appreciate immigrants.

(Photo: Immigration reform protesters marched on Dallas City Hall Monday afternoon.)