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Archive for August, 2013

The Daily Post asks bloggers . . . What have you been putting off doing?  Why?

I was actually going to put together a list of things I have been putting off doing, but I think I will wait for another day.

There used to be a commercial for Heinz ketchup . . . “Anticipation, it’s making me wait.”

My theme song should be: Procrastination, it’s making me wait.

I don’t really have a Bucket List, but there are some things I would like to eventually do before I die.

I really want to win the lottery.  I want to prove that having too much money won’t corrupt me.  I suppose I should buy a lottery ticket every day, though, to improve my chances of winning.  Maybe I’ll buy one tomorrow.

I want to write a Broadway Musical.  This is somewhat problematic given that I have little musical talent.  I played piano centuries ago when I was young and clarinet and saxophone in high school.  But I never played any instrument well.  I can’t sing.  I can’t even carry a tune in a suitcase.  The last time I sang in front of other people, my son almost had a stroke.  But I digress.

I do consider myself adept at lyrics–not singing them, but writing them.  For years I have changed the lyrics of other songs, ala Weird Al Yankovic, for humorous purposes.  I have composed a couple of tunes . . . but to give you an idea how long ago that was, they were written on a Mac+ computer.

Sing for me, my Angel of Music!

Sing for me, my Angel of Music!

Perhaps someday, I’ll get around to finishing that Broadway show.

But one item that I have procrastinated on, which I hope is the one I will most likely succeed in finally accomplishing, is writing AND publishing a novel.

I actually have three in various stages of editing (and ideas for half a dozen others). . . one was originated on that Mac + computer back in 1991.

I’m not really sure why I can’t complete one of these projects.  To some degree, I guess I lose interest.  It takes a long time to put together a book!

My most recent effort is a novel about the end of times.  I know.  It’s been done to death.  It’s as old as the end of time.  Pardon the puns.  But so far as I can tell from my Google research and reading, the angle I am taking is pretty unique.  But at one point, I was starting to have weird dreams, and bad things seemed to be happening in my life, and as soon as I stopped writing it, the dreams and bad luck stopped as well.

Coincidence?

Just the other night, I decided to make another push to return to writing this novel.  I was doing some research and watching a YouTube video about the end of times.  When I finished, I was going to go to bed.  I stopped at the kitchen sink to get a drink of water and I happened to look at our thermometer.  It’s one of those electronic monitors that shows outside and inside temperatures.  The outside temperature was 66 degrees.  It just got my attention for some reason and I looked at it more closely.

You guessed it.  It was 66.6 degrees.

666temp

Maybe my novel can wait after all.

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A New Love

I have fallen in love.

It was not exactly love at first sight, but there was an element of visual attraction.  I must say, though,  that the sleek lines and simple make-up were a welcomed sight.   I was not exactly looking for a new relationship, but you know how old relationships go.  There were rocky times.  Things perhaps were not as comfortable as they once were.  Whatever the reason, there I was, trying something new.

And while I admit it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, there was an electrifying exhilaration when I first made physical contact.  Seriously.  This felt GREAT!  Amazing, really.  Like, where have you been all my life? kind of infatuation.  All previous relationships paled by comparison.

But I did not want to rush into anything.  We’ve all been there before.  The novelty can wear off quickly.  What once felt wonderful could sometimes turn into pain.  Maybe there would be a little friction.  Sometimes that could lead to blistering hatred.  Sometimes, it would become a love-hate relationship.  Sometimes, no matter how good it was at the beginning, it just didn’t last.

As such, one is hesitant to tell the world about this new love for fear that it won’t last.  That some unseen defect will later chafe and bring agony.  But I have spent several months now in this new relationship and I am ready to declare my emotions to the world.

I have found my sole mate.  I am in love with New Balance’s 1080v3 running shoes

The first time I tried them on in the store, I knew they were different.  I have had very few pairs of shoes over the years that impressed me when I first put them on.  The desire to leave the store at that very minute and go running was nearly overwhelming.

They are lightweight, comfortable and cushioned where I need the cushioning.  I was concerned initially that this would be a shoe that would not last, but after a couple of hundred miles of running, I still love them and prefer them over any other shoe I currently own.  I usually try to get 4-500 miles out of a pair of shoes, but even if I only get another hundred, they have been well worth the money spent.

I opted for the white and blue.  It was so nice to have a shoe that was not colored by a LSD trip or designed by a kindergartener.  The style was appealing, not garish.  I have already planned ahead and bought a second pair, knowing that shoe companies are fickle and feel compelled to change their models more often than Hollywood celebrities change spouses.

Of course, I have to deal with two pairs of Asics and a pair of Mizuno’s that are just a bit jealous right now.  Normally, I obsessive-compulsively religiously rotate these shoes in turn.  But now I tend to go to the NB more often, even if it isn’t their turn.  You probably don’t realize how big of a deal that is.  When I listen to my ipod—I never skip a song.  NEVER.  You never reshuffle until EVERY song has played.  When I add new songs on itunes, I don’t resynch the ipod until the end of a shuffle.  There is an order to everything and that must be respected.

Except for the shoes I love.

shoes

Never too late for the Daily Prompt . . . Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes, and where they’ve taken you.

So far they’ve seen me through two races, three hundred miles, central Pennsylvania and Walt Disney World, Florida.  Who knows where we’ll run to next!

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Just Hanging Out

There is a trail that I frequently run.  It leads from a cul-de-sac in our development to the parking lot behind our local high school and winds it’s way through a wooded area for about a third of a mile.

The only indication of civilization on this trail, aside from an occasional footprint in muddy weather, is a power line overhead.

And these:

hangingshoes

I have seen shoes hanging from power lines before.  Someone once said they marked houses or places where you could buy drugs.  The more expensive the shoes, the more expensive the drugs.  It’s probably the stuff of urban legends, but it made as much sense as anything else.

Except there aren’t any bears or deer selling drugs on this trail.  I actually hope there are no bears, but there have been reports of that in the past.  It’s probably a suburban legend.  I have never seen Sasquatch along this trail, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t there.

So when the second pair of shoes appeared on the power line, I began to wonder more earnestly about what was going on here.

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

One article suggests the following reason:

Another folk belief holds that teenage boys who’ve just “scored” for the first time — i.e., lost their virginity — are wont to heave an old pair of sneakers over a power line to celebrate the moment and proclaim their conquest to the world (who says teenage boys aren’t romantic?).

Holy Cow!  What have I been missing here?  That rustling in the bushes wasn’t a wild animal?  It was a wild animal!?  I mean, well, you know what I mean.  Nudge. Nudge.  Wink.  Wink.  Wait a second!  Is that my son’s missing shoes?

I found another article which attempts to clarify the mystery of the hanging shoes.

I heard tennis shoes hanging over a power line meant you could buy crack there.

See!  I told you so.  Those deer are selling illegal drugs!

It’s a time-honored tradition to throw your sneakers over the power lines on the last day of school.

Sounds okay, but these shoes didn’t appear on the last day of school.  The school is nearby . . . Maybe they were late . . .

When I was a lad of 13 in Nashua, New Hampshire, we used to steal pairs of shoes that had been carelessly left on the sidewalk by kids who had popped open a fireplug. At this point we would play “over the wire keep away” until (a) the kid’s mother, brother, father, or a passing police officer put a stop to the game, or (b) shoes went up but didn’t come down.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any fireplugs nearby to pop open.  And I’ve never seen kids doing that in the town I live in.  I don’t know if that makes us behind the times or ahead of the curve.

When I was in the military and guys were getting ready to get out and go back to a “regular” life they would take their combat boots and paint them up all funky before tying the laces together and throwing them over a wire.

I suppose anything is possible.  But there’s no base nearby and these don’t look funky, although they could be combat boots.  Still, a strange location for a statement like that.  Was Grizzly Adams in the military?

Used to be a gang sign — sneakers hanging over telephone or electrical wires were to designate gang turf.

This is sort of related to the drug thing, I suppose.  But this doesn’t look like gang turf.  What kind of gang hangs out here?  The Apple Dumpling Gang?  Although it would explain the deer wearing black hoodies and their tails hanging down around their knees.

I’ll admit to being a former shoe thrower. After getting a new pair of sneakers, it was a common ritual in my neighborhood to tie the shoelaces of your old pair together and throw them up on the telephone wires. What else are you going to do with your old pair of sneakers?

I guess this was before recycling, donating clothing to Good Will, and hand-me-downs.  But why don’t women get rid of their old bras this way?  Because they throw like girls?  Did I just type that out loud?

I read in the newspaper that shoes would be thrown over the power lines to serve as a reminder/warning of a murder that occurred nearby. This seems proven to me: as I was traveling past a home in which a drug-related murder had occurred about three months prior … a pair of shoes were hanging from the power lines in front of the home.

Now I’m freaked out.  Where are the bodies?

So there you have it. It’s either a harmless prank, a rite of passage, or a sign of the end of civilization. You figure it out.

The first pair was probably a harmless prank or game.  The second . . .

“Hey Jimmy!  Betcha I can get your shoes down by throwing my shoes up at them!”

“Bet you can’t!”

Jimmy won the bet.

 

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The Daily Post asks, “Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different direction than you’d planned?

They’re kind of nosy that way.

But that got me to thinking . . . and that is always a dangerous thing.

You see, when you think about things, bad stuff happens.  Most wars occur because some politician or military general thought about things.  Einstein thought about things and eventually that led to the nuclear bomb.  If I think about a putt too long, I miss it.  (I miss it if I don’t think about it and just whack away at it, but then missing it doesn’t bother me so much.)  But I digress.

I first started blogging about Penn State football in the late 1990’s.  I had a free site on a place called Xoom.  It was basically free, which was the most significant criterion for my blog at the time.  You are now reading my ramblings on Word Press, so that criterion is still pretty significant.  Some things never change.

At one point, Xoom died as a web hosting site and I went to GeoCities.  It went belly up as well, except in Japan.  I don’t speak Japanese.  I am not a legend in Japan.  I’m not very funny in Japanese.  Or so I have been told.  Actually, I didn’t know GeoCities still existed anywhere, let alone Japan, until I Googled it.  I think they are hiding from me!

The basic formula to date has been to find a free web hosting service and then help it go bankrupt.  (If you have stock in Word Press, you might want to bail now.)

Along the way, I also diversified from a simple football blog to what you are reading now.

Ta Da!  (Jazz hands!)

(Actually, it was not an evolution from one to the other as it was a spin-off.  This is Frasier to my old Cheers blog.  Or something like that.  I still blog about Penn State, but the humor is secondary.)  Both blogs coexist, but they don’t communicate well together.  Kind of like my multiple personalities.  But we digress.

When I first started writing about Penn State football, I pictured myself as the Dave Barry of the football world.  Except for the part that I didn’t have a syndicated column with a gazillion readers.  And I didn’t make up names for rock bands.  But I thought I was funny.  Alas, looks aren’t everything.

I found that football was too narrow a subject and there were times–like when Penn State lost 6-4 to Iowa–when there was no way to make that humorous, unless you lived in freaking Iowa and had a corn fetish.

Humor is cathartic.  It’s what keeps me sane in an insane world.  I’m no longer Dave Barry trying to make a Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama into a joke, but rather Hawkeye Pierce surviving a daily war with humor and surgical skills as my only weapons.

Eyelife

Damn it, Jim, I’m just an eye doctor.

Living the Eye Life.

Welcome to the war.

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