Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tap the Brakes!

There are a few things I hate to do:

1. Flying with the Evil Empire.

2. Going to the dentist.

3. Having to tell Kelly I got a speeding ticket.

4. My most recent addition to this list: Having to tell Kelly I got a speeding ticket for the second time in a month.


Rather than talk about the specifics of the speeding infraction(s), I think you'll more enjoy hearing about how I broke the news to Kelly.

As it is with many things in a life-long relationship, timing is everything. I would describe the timing I used when telling her of the first citation as "poor".

We had just gotten in the car and were heading down to Waco for a family shindig when Kelly said, "Now don't get a speeding ticket!" I, thinking this was the opportune moment to tell her, said with a big smile on my face, "Oh, don't worry! I already got one today!"

I said it with a big smile because I thought that would somehow soften the blow. Kelly didn't speak to me again until we got to Waco 2 hours later . . . and that was only to tell me that I had just missed my turn!

Needless to say, I put far greater thought into how I would tell her of my second, groundless, unsubstantiated, unjustified and baseless moving violation written by a public servant who had no concept of "letter of the law" versus "spirit of the law" . . . ahem!, but I digress.

"Concerned" family members told me it would be best to tell Kelly during dinner at the In-Laws'. Looking back, I now wonder if they encouraged me to do so just for their own mealtime entertainment!

Good or bad, I took their advice and sat down at the dinner table trying to think of the exact wording to bring up the subject. A few kicks from underneath the table let me know that the audience felt I was stalling. Finally, I just blurted it out as fast as I could!

"I got another speeding ticket on my way to Brownwood on Thursday! Please don't hit me!"

I tried smiling again! Which, by the way, I'm starting to think that it doesn't matter if you're smiling or not when you tell your wife you got a speeding ticket.

I have to hand it to Kelly, she took the news well considering the situation. It's funny how this discussion always leads to a comparison of driving records and that how a clean driving record somehow means you're a safe driver - it could just mean that you've never gotten caught!

But I can honestly tell you that I've now learned my lesson: Never take advice from family.

Or was it: Don't tell your wife about your speeding tickets.

No wait, it's: Never get 2 speeding tickets in a month . . . especially when you're only on a single income.

Actually, I think the lesson is: Tap the brakes and don't get speeding tickets!

(And if you do get a speeding ticket, try not to smile when you tell your wife or else she'll think you're not taking it seriously!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tate-ism #8

"If sucking just one finger is fun then all 10 at the same time must be great!"

"Ohm yeahf - mumch betterf!"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Book Rant: Audacity of Hope

I have to first admit that I did not finish The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama.

I knew that I wouldn't get through it all when I didn't even bother taking it with me on a recent business trip despite a 3-hour flight.

I started Audacity thinking this would be a great way to educate myself on some of the front runners in next year's Presidential election. For once, I'm going to cast a vote not because of an "R", a "D" or even an "I" following the candidate's name - but because I've made a fully educated decision based upon the where he or she stands on important issues in our country . . . right?

Umph! Just beat me over the head with a brick, why don't ya?

Why can't politicians just say what they think? 100 pages into this thing and all I've seen so far is a great balancing act by a guy trying to walk down the middle without saying too much to offend one side or the other.

Meanwhile, he has packed each page with so much grandiose "Yea! America!" fluff that it makes you feel like you should be playing God Bless America in the background while you read.

Before I go any further, let me assure you that my critical tone isn't just because he's a Democrat. In fact, I find all politics to be equally mind-numbing regardless of party affiliation.

The problem I have with this book is that, so far, there's nothing here that gives me an idea of who Barack Obama is or what he stands for. For me, the audacity of hope lies in hoping that the next page will be better than the one I just finished.

If elected President (which I admit wouldn't be the end of the world), let's hope Mr. Obama accomplishes more in his first 100 days in the Oval Office than he has in the first 100 pages of this book!

I'm shelving this book for another one - can't go wrong with Lucado!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

100 Movie Number Quotes

I found this YouTube video on Conblogeration.

It's 100 movie clips with number quotes in sequence to countdown from 100 to 1. Watching it is a total waste of time . . . but still pretty cool to watch nonetheless.

By the way, I can name 58 movies in this video. How many can you name?

Monday, May 14, 2007

QOTW: Not-So-Golden Silence

When I was a wee lad, there were several things I promised myself I would never do when I got older. There are already a few things I've done that I said I wouldn't:

(1) I will never work in construction - My dad got me a job at Montoya Remodeling when I was 17 after I threatened to spend my entire summer laying on the couch watching TV. A summer hanging sheet rock is great motivation to go to college.

(2) I will never work in fast food - A friend of mine convinced me that working at Chick-Fil-A would be fun because, "we never actually do anything." A week after I started a new manager was hired who made sure we all had plenty of work to do!

(3) I will never listen to AM radio - I remember being forced by my dad to listen to AM radio anytime we rode in his car. When you're a kid, AM radio is about as interesting as watching water drip.

If Dad did ever listened to anything else it was either The Beatles, The Dueling Banjos or Patsy Cline - only two of which could be considered an improvement over AM radio (see What's on My iPod).

But I guess I'm one to talk, nowadays - AM radio is about all I listen to. First it's 1310 The Ticket (sports radio), then either WBAP 820 or KRLD 1080 (both news and talk radio). If nothing is good on one of those 3 then I usually bypass FM radio and go straight to my iPod.

Not listening to FM radio means I usually don't watch music award shows since I don't have a clue who anybody is anymore.

As for now, I'm trying hard to keep the other promises I made to myself when I was younger:

(4) I will never say, "This will hurt me more than it will hurt you."

(5) Don't let Christmas lights get you all upset - If you ever tried hanging Christmas lights outside then you know what I mean.

"Which do you listen to the most while driving?"

Total votes: 18

FM Radio: 9 votes, 50%

A CD: 4 votes, 22%

AM Radio: 3 votes, 16%

My iPod: 2 votes, 11%

A Cassette Tate: 0 votes

Nothing: 0 votes

Which ever movie is in the DVD player: 0 votes

PS: Congratulations to everyone for not choosing 'the DVD player' - it's good to know that there are at least some people who don't constantly placate their children by sitting them in front of a TV screen!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bumper Sticker Of The Day

You see some pretty good bumper stickers when you drive as many miles as I do. This one made me chuckle.

"Forget world peace - Visualize using your turn signal."

Monday, May 07, 2007

QOTW: Traveling Pains

Last week, work took me a little further than my usual twice-a-month flight out to San Angelo. This time it was to Philadelphia, PA - the supposed City of Brotherly Love.

On this trip particularly, I noticed how traveling can be very unbecoming for some people. Why is that? I believe most people to be courteous and generally respectful of others. But there apparently is an internal switch that gets flipped when some people get an airline ticket in their hands.

One minute you're talking to a sweet little old lady about her 9 grandchildren and suddenly the next minute you're getting your head ripped off because you took too long to pull out your driver's license at security. Shesh!

That being said, I'd like to take a moment to respond to 3 guys I bumped into on my to Philly.

To the guy who used the phrase, "You don't understand - I have to be on that plane!" in order to get security to let him cut to the front of line so he make could his flight:

"No, you can't cut to the front of the line because not only are you cutting in front of me you're cutting in front of the 20 people behind me - each of whom made a concerted effort to arrive earlier than just 15 minutes before departure!

To the guy at the gate who turned to me and said, "Hey man, can you watch my bags?" and then just took off without waiting for me to respond:

"Dude! Unattended bags = security threat!"

I just stood there for a second not really knowing what to do! I seriously thought about calling a TSA agent and telling them that some guy just hauled off and left his bags just sitting in the terminal. But had I done so, they would have cleared out the entire place and I, ahem!, all these people would have then missed their flights!

But before I had a chance to cry 'wolf!' he came back, "Thanks, man! I had to blow my nose!"

Blow your nose? Are you kidding me? I found this to be an appropriate time to display my restrained displeasure with him by subtly rolling my eyes and slightly shaking my head.

Oooo! That showed him!

To the guy who had a problem with me speaking to my co-worker seated in the row infront of me and said, "If you two are going to talk back and forth the entire flight then why don't one of us switch seats now so all these people won't be bothered?"

(Keep in mind that passengers were still boarding the plane!)

"Dude, two words: Chill. Pill."

The funny thing is that because of my hearing, I'm usually not very talkative on flights anyway - its just too hard to have a conversation over the roar of the engines. He would have gotten his precious silence as soon as we pulled away from the gate.

Unfortunately for him though I have a terrible habit of smacking loudly when I eat pretzels! Boy, that was a big bag of pretzels - took me forever to finish it!

Side note: In shocker of all shockers, my trip concluded without a single bad experience due the incompetence of the Evil Empire. Although relieved, I don't expect this to be a long-lasting trend.

"Which do you most dread when flying?"

Total votes: 22

The kid who kicks the back of your seat: 7 votes, 31%

The middle seat: 5 votes, 22%

The guy in front of you who uses his seat to remove your knee caps: 3 votes, 13%

The guy who snores: 2 votes, 9%

The guy who hogs the arm rest: 2 votes, 9%

The incompetent pilot: 2 votes, 9%

The rude flight attendant: 1 vote, 4%

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2007 Sam's Club MS150 - Day Two

I had to wake up pretty early this morning (5:00 AM) in order to make the 6:45 start for Day Two.

I was so tired that when I began backing out of my garage I looked up and suddenly realized my bike was sitting up on its wall rack and not on the back of my car where it was supposed to be. I stopped and thought, "Wade, I think you're gonna need that."

The cool part about Day Two is that you get to do a lap on the track at Texas Motor Speedway. Below is a photo of my friend Claude and I just before the start. We're standing on Pit Row.

From TMS we rode 30 miles north to Decatur where we stopped for lunch. From Decatur, the route took us 40 miles due south to downtown Fort Worth. The only problem was that there was a 20 mph wind coming out of the south - umph!

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate wind. Until now, I think it was more of a "dislike for wind" or a "not really fond of wind". But after today it is definitely a "I hate wind" kind of thing.

Since 40 miles into a 20 mph wind will ruin any bike ride, I stole a trick from Nascar and drafted nearly the whole way to Fort Worth. If you're not familiar with drafting then think of it as me hiding from the wind by riding directly behind someone who is bigger than me - it takes the edge of the wind.

Despite the wind, the aches and the pains I rolled into downtown Fort Worth to the cheers of Kelly and my In-laws, Rick & Stephanie. Tate was there too but he got distracted by a tree just as I rode by. Otherwise I know I would have heard him above the roar of the crowd!

Since Kelly was only a couple months pregnant when I rode in the MS150 last year, there was something cool about having Tate at the finish line this year. And yes, he did give me a great big smile once he saw me after the finish! That made all the hard work worth it!

Today's numbers:

Distance: 76.5 miles
Time: 4:49
Top Speed: 35 mph!

Total distance: 155.2 miles
Total Time: 9:39

Thanks again for all those who have supported me. I have until June for fund-raising so feel free to donate (click here). Yeah, this is a great cycling event but it's an even better cause - fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

2007 Sam's Club MS150 - Day One

What a day for a bike ride across North Texas!

I was a little worried coming into the weekend because the weather forecast called for hot and windy - try mid-70's, slight winds and rain!

(Note to self: Write a post about how amazing it is that weathermen can keep a job despite being wrong 90% of the time!)

The day got a slow start when only 4 miles after the start I noticed my crank (the arm that the pedal is connected to) was literally about to fall off - you can file that one in the "Not Good Catergory".

When this sort of thing happens on the Tour de France, there's someone in a car that races up and fixes it with Nascar pit crew efficiency. I guess I'm no Lance Armstrong because I had to wait on the side of the road for about 20 minutes for a mechanic to finally show up.

Take your time buddy, it's not like I'm trying to get anywhere!

From then on it was smooth sailing . . . until it started raining! There are plenty of things about riding in the rain that take away from the enjoyment of cycling:

(1) At any moment your super thin tires can lose traction and give you an chance to make an impression of your face in the concrete.

(2) You get totally soaked! Waterlogged clothes = more weight to carry.

(3) (My favorite) You can't see jack with all the rain falling on your face!

Sorry I don't have any pictures. I forgot my camera - but with all the rain it would have gotten ruined anyway. I'll be sure to bring it along tomorrow.

Tomorrow should be fun: We start on the Texas Motor Speedway track. After that we'll ride up and down a gazillion hills between Decatur and downtown Fort Worth. And apparently doing so in the midst of severe thunderstorms - which is tomorrow's forecast.

Great! There probably be a tornado as well! But hey, if the tornado gives me a big tail-wind then it might not be that bad!

Oh! By the way, it's not too late to sponsor me! As you can see I'm just a few bucks short of my goal! Click here to read how to donate on-line!

Here are today's numbers:

Distance: 78.7 miles
Time: 4:50
Number of bananas eaten: 4.5

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dirk who?

Just sitting here thinking of words that adequately describe what I feel this morning as a Dallas Maverick fan . . .

Disappointed, bewildered, dispondent, flabbergasted, dumbfounded, frustrated, disillusioned, stupified, humiliated, demoralized, stunned, dejected, shellacked, astounded, infuriated, miffed, vexed, irked, embittered, calloused, dispirited, heavyhearted, chagrined, peeved, woebegoned, rueful, crestfallen, languished, dismayed, disenchanted

. . . and at the same time completely numb!

Also, it's sad how this post I wrote last year after the Finals debacle still applies today . . .

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Book Rant: Mere Christianity

I wanted to read C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity because I've heard him quoted so many times in sermons and lectures.

It's a thought-provoking book and I'm glad I finally read it. To be completely honest though, I found it a little difficult to read . . . at least by today's standards. I say that because the book is actually an adaption of Lewis' radio lectures that BBC broadcasted during World War II.

Since the book is basically a transcript, the style is very informal and conversational with a lot of jumping around from one point to the next - which lends to the book's tendency to occasionally lose its reader.

I found it interesting that not once did Lewis ever quote scripture. Maybe one reason was because the reader he had in mind was one who was still considering becoming a Christian or a recent convert and therefore would not be familiar with scripture.

I'm not one of those who feels you have to quote scripture a certain number of times on every page; but it made me notice how often scripture is quoted by today's authors.

No doubt Lewis was an incredible theologian. However, I found the writing style a bit laborious to read. He kinda reminds me of the hyperactive child in Sunday school class - you enjoy him immensely, but best in small doses at a time.

Not to say that there aren't any good nuggets to take away - here are a few:

Pg. 65 - "For this time [when Jesus returns] it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible terror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side."

Pg. 127 - " . . . it is very right, and often our duty, not to care what people think of us, if we do so for the right reason; namely, because we care so incomparably more what God thinks."

Pg. 131 - "Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did."

Pg. 140 - "Faith is the act of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods."

Pg. 185 - "Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group, but as organs in a body - different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children or your neighbors into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that."