Monday, March 30, 2009

Trampoline dreams & the weekend update.

Last night I had a dream that I was jumping on a trampoline the size of a basketball court. It was magnificient. I had the freedom to jump anywhere and try any move I wanted because there was no danger of me falling off the side. I've always loved jumping in general, but jumping on trampolines is a really great feeling...sort of like you can temporarily ignore gravity.

Jumping on a trampoline alone is very different than jumping on it with other people. Please allow me to elaborate a little deeper on the pros & cons of both.

Jumping alone:
You have the entire trampoline to yourself. You're free to flail about as you please and also try any ninja or gymnastic move you can think of without worrying about accidentally kicking somebody else in the teeth. I'm sort of partial to the back flip and the side flip...front flip's kind of overdone. Jumping by yourself can be slightly less interesting than jumping with others because...

Jumping with others: You have slightly less room and less freedom to try ninja moves, but you exchange it for something very exciting...the partner bounce. Those of you who've spent LOTS of hours on trampolines like myself know what I'm talking about. The partner bounce can be your best friend or a worst enemy depending on how you time it. Timed properly, the partner bounce can give you a much higher bounce than you could ever achieve on your own. Timed improperly, it can totally sweep your legs out from under you.

This is the foundation of one of the greatest games ever... "Knock Everybody Else Down" (I don't know if that's the official name.) Put three people on a trampoline at the same time and I GUARANTEE this game will end up getting played. The best part is that it's really hard to get hurt doing it. Ahh, I do love trampolines.

Notables from this weekend:

1. Starting Friday morning and ending Saturday evening, my brother-in-law and I spent 16 hours assembling a new playhouse for my nieces & nephews. It was painstaking, but was awesome when we were done. We got rained on, experienced 30 mph winds, heard tornado sirens, and even got hailed on...a true HandyGraham adventure.
2. I ran about 9 miles on Saturday morning (betwixt my playhouse adventuring) and about 11 miles on Sunday. Tired.
3. I used a 40% off coupon @ Borders to purchase my second graphic novel. A month ago, I purchased "The Watchmen" to read before the movie came out and on Saturday, I bought "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1." There were four people camped out reading in that section...I felt like they could see through I wasn't "graphic novel" enough to be there. Am I a "graphic novel" guy now? Must I start dressing differently?
4. I had an AMAZING All Star Breakfast at Waffle House after Sunday's run.

Ok, I must end today's Morning Math and go do a lot of things...not the least of which is find a new table saw to replace mine that broke last week - sort of annoying, but sort of exciting too. I mean, It's TOOL SHOPPING.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 27, 2009

oh c'mon - I've got time...(Morning Math)

The title of this blog is a derivative of a quote from one of the most prolific philosophers of our time - Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible...shhhh...don't tell anybody).

I just finished my normal breakfast of Kroger brand Raisin Bran cereal and soy milk (my stomach doesn't seem too keen on dairy products right now). I spent this typical breakfast catching up on my good friend Annie Parsons' blog, which is always a pleasure. Two things that always happen when I indulge "said" blog are: 1. I feel guilty about being so remiss in my new blogging endeavor/commitment. 2. I get the urge to throw caution to the wind and log another entry no matter how late it makes me for whatever I'm to do next. This is a nice segue into this morning's pontification...

"Morning Math"

My dad is particularly bad about estimating how long something will take, or how long it'll be till he's home and dinner can start. Apparently genetics thought this was a good legacy to carry on and tried to pass it on to me...right now, genetics is winning.

"Morning Math" occurs during the time when your alarm clock first wakes you up to the time when you arrive at your first morning destination.

This term is a cousin of the term "Texas Math," which I learned from a road rep at a sales conference a few years back. Nobody in the room had a calculator, so he just quickly added up the numbers in his head and blurted out a number. Impressed, we all just stared at him in awe of his genius to which he responded, "It's just Texas Math," with the verbal swagger only a Texan can muster. Ten minutes and two subjects later, one of the other road reps who had taken the time to add the numbers on his phone pointed out that the Texas Math was rather "not even close." It was kind of a "you had to be there" moment, but the tension was amazing. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...except maybe a Texan whose home state has been insulted. Another topic for another time...I digress...

Anyway, Morning Math - It's "Morning Math" that causes me to push that snooze button for a whole hour because it makes perfect logical sense that, in less than 15 minutes, I can do my whole morning regiment (hygiene, breakfast, reading Annie's blog, etc.) AND get to the other side of town during the morning rush hour.

Ironically, it's during this time of day that I also become oh-so-inspired. "Not only do I have the time for the routine, I've also got time to talk to my neighbor, BLOG, continue the search for the end of the Internet, watch the news, knock out a chapter of the book I'm reading, sit on the couch and ponder the area rug..." You get the point.

It's doesn't matter at all how early I get up. Somehow, I will still be 15 minutes late. Alas...any suggestions???

I do love the mornings though. I know I'll spend the rest of the day running around like a chicken with no head...why not just take a few extra minutes and enjoy the quiet peace of the morning? After all, what's the fun in being self-employed if you don't enjoy a somewhat loose schedule now and then?

I think I need a secretary...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Point of No Return

Busted - or not...
OK, honestly...did you just find yourself singing the Kansas song "Point of No Return" when you read that?!? Maybe I'm the only one who remembers that song. Whatever.

The 1/2 Marathon

Well, I've done it. I've officially signed up for my first 1/2 marathon, The "Tom King Classic," which I will be running this Saturday. The money is non-refundable, and I don't waste money, so I'm doing it!

I'm pretty excited and just a little nervous as you might imagine. I've actually been training for the Country Music 1/2 Marathon, which isn't for another month and a half or so, but for some reason, I felt like I wanted to run this one too, and here are some reasons why:
  • more casual...less pressure.
  • an opportunity to feel out a 1/2 marathon before I run the one "that counts" next month.
  • It was only like $45
  • You get a medal
  • You get to finish on the Jumbo-tron in the TN Titans stadium
  • You get a nice technical/running shirt...I've recently fallen in love w/ these shirts...OK, this is actually reason number 1. I'm fickle, I know.
My Feelings
I'm probably not as nervous as I'm sure a lot of first-timers are. I've already run this distance many times, over much worse terrain, and running it with a group of racers will make it easier. I was a pretty high-stakes hurdler in high school, so I'm familiar w/ racing tension...albeit I'm a bit rusty. Plus, I'm not trying to max out. I just want to finish respectably (and collect that sweet tech shirt...yessssss).

I am a little nervous about going out too quickly and wearing the appropriate clothing so I'm not too hot/cold...It's supposed to be around 50 with showers on Saturday. I'm still trying to get over a cold. My knees are also somewhat unreliable, so I'm hoping they behave themselves...especially in light of the less-than-helpful, projected barometric pressure.

In other news:
My washing machine crapped out yesterday. Seeing as I got it for free and will need a front load washer if I buy this other house, I figured I'd just bite the bullet and get a new washer. I got a pretty good deal on a nice Whirlpool front loader which was still far more than I'd hoped to spend this week...but it's so cool. It's energy efficient, it actually looks nice, and you can watch the wash cycle...I'd have spent the evening doing that had I not had company. Maybe tonight...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gunshots or not? Pointless ponderings of Monday Morning

I didn't get much sleep this weekend. I missed enough sleep, in fact, that springing forward one hour was laughable in juxtaposition. The only real difference now is that I'd just gotten my body to start waking up at 6 w/out an alarm clock, and now it's waking up at 7. Crap.

Naturally, after such an exhausting weekend - on top of lack of sleep, I've also got a cold and still ran about 14 miles between Saturday & Sunday - I justified a bit of sleeping in this morning. By about 7:30 I wasn't really falling back to sleep, but I didn't really feel like getting out of bed, either. So I laid there enjoying the sunlight streaming in through the window that I was able to leave open all night and also listening to the peaceful sounds of the morning.

After about 20 minutes of this, the morning peace was disturbed by something that sounded like a single gunshot from very close proximity. Not one who's easily shaken (especially when I'm in the comfort of my bed), I didn't actually move. Rather I stayed right where I was and pondered the absurdity of hearing a single gunshot in the broad daylight of 7:30 AM:
  • Typically gunshots are heard in a series, no? Not just one at a time. If only one shot were fired, it would certainly be followed by some sort of screaming/shouting and/or at least tires squealing, which wasn't the case.
  • Shootings usually take place at night, and if they take place in broad daylight, they don't usually take place at 7:30 AM. Nightlife is over by 5 AM and any respectable criminal would surely be asleep by 7:30 AM.
After I ruled out the probability of the disturbance actually being a gunshot, I moved on to thinking of what it actually could have been. This is where the story gets a little less interesting. My mind automatically went to that sound being an electric transformer blowing on the telephone pole behind my house. I automatically looked at my clock to see if my power was off and lo & behold, it was.

I must offer props to NES (Nashville Electric Service) for having my power up and running in less than an hour. I even got to stand at the back door and watch them do the repair, which was fun for a nerdy little handyman like myself.

You know what's interesting about this? My mind drew the above conclusions and landed on a solution in less than about 5 seconds. What an amazing creation, the human brain. We definitely take for granted the powers of deduction and problem-solving that are ingrained in each of our God-given minds.

You know what's funny about this? My brain expended its efforts on this deductive feat this morning, but to what end? What was I going to do about any of that? Now if only I could somehow channel my brain into thinking about things like work...hmmm...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lent & New Years Resolutions...

I know I'm a bit behind the ball on some of these things, but I guess you've got to trust that these things come to you when they're meant to.

For the first time that I can remember, I was actually encouraged by a pastor to give something up for Lent. I'm pretty busy with life right now, so the idea of trying to either manage cravings or even remember what it was I gave up is a bit cumbersome, but I figured I'd give it a shot anyway. I didn't realize that in some Lent tradition, the Sabbath day of rest actually extends to what you gave up for Lent as well. That made it seem less like martyring myself (which means nothing to God) and more like restricting myself throughout the week so I can actually use the Sabbath day to appreciate what the "Lord hath made."

So I gave up caffeine and carbonated beverages and sort of alcohol.

I wouldn't say I'm addicted to caffeine, but I can be dependent on it at times. I did cheat and drink a cup of coffee on Thursday/Friday of our PA adventure since I was driving and I was carrying precious cargo. Nope, I don't feel bad about it. I assume there's caffeine in the fruit tea @ Baja Burrito & Chile Burrito, but it's just to offset the food coma that comes with Fish Taco Tuesday. Plus, fruit tea is all part of the experience and I'm not drinking carbonated beverages either, which eliminates the majority of the other choices at these fine establishments.

This stuff is bad for you anyway. I figure if I won't take care of my body for myself, I may as well do it for God. Something tells me I won't miss it too badly.

Alcohol (sort of):
Caffeine is the big dog. Unfortunately, carbonation encompasses beer as well; a fact I neglected in my original Lent selections. As this wasn't my original intention, I don't feel obligated to abstain from beer as well. However, seeing as I do enjoy my beer, I'm going to limit myself on that as well so I may value again what the "Lord hath made." March is my birthday month, the keeper of St. Patricks day, and also the month of my annual college buddy lake trip. These are times of celebration. 8)

New Years Resolutions
Something about this Lent season seems to have inspired me, or maybe it's just the onset of the lovely Spring weather. So I've finally come up with some New Years Resolutions.

I'm in the process of preparing my year-end income taxes, which is no easy task for a small business owner. I'm entering hundreds of receipts into excel spreadsheets, tallying up mileage, adding up money earned, finding all those 1099 forms. I've realized that I could have been doing this gradually throughout the year and it wouldn't be a nuissance now. So, I'm not stopping at December. I'll keep going right on up to present day and will have to change my habits to keep it all updated.

Fewer trips to the truck:
In my line of business, it's difficult to know what you're going to need for your work day. Because I drive a smaller (more fuel-efficient) truck, I don't have a huge toolbox and am limited to my skeletal tool selection. Some of the tools have to stay at my work shop during the day. I've also found myself making way too many trips back out to my truck once I start on something. This is mostly because I'm not thinking far enough ahead to anticipate what I should ALSO bring in from the truck on that trip. I've got to work smarter where I can.

Setting goals:
It's this simple. If I don't have any goals to shoot at, I can't fail, but I also never actually succeed. I'm going to start small, but it's time to get this thang in action.

I'm sure I'll think of others, but I'll mention them later.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Twin Kegs: The Diamond in the Rough

Many of you know that I've begun (and am now merely a part of it) a group called South Nashville Progressive. The idea of this group is to call all the 20, 30, and not-so-grown-up 40-somethings out of the woodwork to show that we are actually here in South Nashville. Though we're still in the early stages of this group, we've all committed (more or less) to one ideal thus far - AIM WITHIN THE SOUTH NASHVILLE COMMUNITY MAP

That means we try to:
  • shop within "the map"
  • hang out within "the map"
  • hang out with other people who live within "the map"
  • go out to eat within "the map"
  • bring people from outside "the map" to do these things within "the map"
You get the point. We're not nazis about it...South Nashville is still "Progressing" as it were, and we just don't have certain resources that other Nashville communities have...sometimes you have to get "off the map." We're just trying to take pride in our community.

Last night, we had our second official meeting, and in the interest of keeping to the "code," after the meeting we decided go to a bar/restaurant called "The Internationally Famous Twin Kegs." It's totally a divey little place at first glance, but I think I've found my new favorite hang-out. Awesome stuff about the IFTK:
  • Burgers - voted Best Burger in Nashville in the 2008 Tennessean Readers' Poll. I tried the "Big Bad Burger," a beautiful 3/4 lbs. burger...and I'm a bit of a burger connoisseur, if I do say so myself.
  • They've got a shuffleboard table. What a great bar game.
  • They've also got a pool table.
  • They've got karaoke 3 nights a week, trivia on Wednesdays, Poker night. I had NO IDEA!
  • They've got a pretty decent bottled beer selection, including Yuengling & Blue Moon...oddly enough, nothing on tap, despite the name: "Twin Kegs" 8)
I LOVE that place, and I'm pretty sure I'll be back again this week. If anybody'd like to join in, just let me know.

Twin Kegs....freakin' awesome...

Monday, March 2, 2009

No, I'm not dead...

Hey everybody,

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm not dead, I'm just quite busy. I'm not washed-up in the blog world yet, I promise...I just need to streamline my schedule a little bit.

Why am I so busy?
  • I'm trying to be a good Handyman for a know, actually working and stuff.
  • Apparently the first date I botched up so badly wasn't quite bad enough to scare her off. 8)
  • I'm dabbling in community organizing now with "South Nashville Progressive." (come find us on facebook)
  • I'm going to try & buy the house next to mine so I can own my first rental property.
  • I just returned from a whirlwind weekend roadtrip to Pennsylvania and back with Annie Parsons & Paul Zimmerman-Clayton.
  • I'm still training for the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon.
  • I just joined a new church
  • etc.
Anyway, these are all great things, so I'm certainly not complaining...just hope you'll forgive me for my recent silence. This is still one of my new years resolutions, so I'm not giving up so easily.

PA trip:
I'm still in a little "recovery" stage right now from my crazy weekend w/ Paul & Annie. I actually didn't even tell my parents that I was coming home for the weekend, so it was a lot of fun to see their surprise at my arrival. Apparently, I owe my little sister "big-time" now for covering for me though...I told her to put it on my tab.

I've gotta say, my favorite part of any road trip is usually the part when we're actually on the road. Yes, it was great to be home, but I've been home before, and I've been in Nashville before. I've even driven that exact (736-mile) route MANY times before. I've never, however, driven it w/ Paul and Annie. It was a much faster trip with good friends around - I hope next time I go up there, I'll be bringing friends again. Ahh, good times. Stay tuned - Annie documented a good portion of it on her trusty little camera and I'm sure the video will make its debut very soon.

Anyway - more to come. South Nashville Progressive is having our second meeting tonight - we ain't no joke! Now, if you'll please excuse me, I've got to go save the world one drywall patch at a time. 8)

thankful for you guys,