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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Me, Robert Earl Keen and a Marathon

Click on this link to hear one of my favorite songs of all time:

Feelin' Good Again

by Robert Earl Keen

It's such an evocative, positive song. Have you ever had one of those times when, for just a brief moment, all is right in the world?  That is how this song makes me feel.

I'm not a very good runner.  As a matter of fact, I'm a pretty poor runner. I find the marathon distance to be quite a challenge, but I persevere.  I was running a marathon in 2008, and, as usual, at about mile 21 or so I started to fade pretty rapidly. At that point in a marathon, the race becomes more of a gut check than anything else.  At least for me it does - It's been said that the marathon consists of two halves, the first 20 miles, followed by the last 6.2 miles.


...there I am, Mile 21, supremely aware of my aching feet and my profound lack of natural talent.  I whipped out my handy iPod, reserved for just this situation.  Well, Feelin' Good Again was on, and somehow I had my iPod set on repeat, so I listened to this song continuously from mile 21 through mile 24.  At my pace, that had to have been between 3,000 and 4,000 times.  But it took me away.  Took my mind off of my soreness and I kind of floated through those toughest of all marathon miles.  And that's what needs to happen, beyond all the training. For a runner like myself, the last half of a marathon is as much mind over matter as anything else.

So, thanks, Robert Earl Keen for helping me finish my 7th marathon.

You guys, listen to this song.  It is great.  Here's the link again, so you can listen to it again

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Parking Wars - Chattanooga style


Interesting, I looked up the definition of gripe, and found that one definition is "To have sharp pains in the bowels."  Huh, that's not the kind of griping I meant.

I haven't even started this post, and already I'VE DIGRESSED!

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I got a parking ticket?  Of course you do, because you hang on my every word, don't you?  Just in case you don't, here is a shameless link to get you to read that post (oh, and one before that) - you know, to boost my readership up to 7 or 8 people.

Last Ticket:  Repeat Offender

The one before that:  The Worst Day Ever - (should that be, "The Worst Day, Ever"? Damn those tricky commas.)

In the meantime, My youngest daughter got one, again just running into a store for a minute.

OK, cool, we didn't feed the meter for the three minute coffee dash, and I overstayed my meter at lunch.  Whatever.  Here's the deal, though:  The City of Chattanooga, a city that depends HEAVILY on tourism, has farmed out its parking enforcement to Republic Parking - a for profit company that has a vested interest in making as much money as possible - presumably, their contract rewards them for writing lots of tickets.

The result of this contract is that Republic now has millions (yes, actually millions) of parking attendants with portable ticket writing machines on their backs.  Some of the attendants have on uniforms, some are in plain clothes. I'm not sure, but I'd bet that some of them are hiding in trash cans, dressed as trees, covered by Cloaks of Invisibility - all to make sure that they pounce as soon as that meter expires.

Look, Mom all my readers.  I'm not suggesting that they neglect their jobs.  What I am suggesting is that they maybe give the people who are parking, spending money, buying stuff, contributing to the coffers of the City, a teeny-tiny break.  Or else, you know what?  People might think twice about coming to downtown - ask yourself what the reasons are for people not going to Redbank?  Could it be that the city government there made going into Redbank an unpleasant adventure, liable to cost you money, as you unwittingly broke laws while simply driving down the road (redlightcamerasredlightcamerasredlightcameras)?

Point is, oh government, what are you trying to achieve?  Do you want to penalize the crap out of someone who has overstayed the meter by a couple of minutes, or are you trying to keep people from leaving their cars on side-of-the-road parking places for hour after hour (which is where the parking issue lies)?

If the former - then keep doing as you are doing - if the latter, I suggest you maybe ease up. Just a little.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22, 2013 - Reset Day

I think that people pick January 1 of each year to start on their resolutions, because January 1 is such an obvious beginning point.  There is no real reason, other than psychological, to pick that day over another to start a personal makeover.  I mean, it could be any other day and if the "resolutions" are continued, the effect will be the same in the long run..

(It is always amusing to go to the gym during the first couple of weeks of the year and see people furiously working out, only to watch them drop off as the month goes by - I'm not criticizing these folks at all - I'm pulling for them, in fact.)

When I was young, I would always look forward to the first day of school, in part because everything was fresh.  New clothes, clean slate, teachers who didn't have opinions of me based on the previous year's antics.  That sort of thing.

Which brings me to my point:  Every year, after tax season (I'm a CPA, if you didn't know), I take a week off to clear my head - you'd  be amazed at how incapable of holding a conversation I become after working seven days a week - up to fifteen hours a day - for almost three months. The goal is to come back after a week off with a clear mind and cheerful disposition.

I went all the way to Chattanooga last week (30 miles), and holed up at the Marriott Courtyard downtown (why don't you have coffee in the lobby anymore?).  Guess what?  I also took my business email off of my phone, so that I wouldn't be tempted to respond to client emails on April 16 - I love you, Oh Clients, I really, really do, but I'm not able to talk to you on that day.

So, here we are. April 22.  Earth Day.  For me though, it is Reset Day.  It is my first day of school.  The slate is clean, and my mind is right, to paraphrase The Captain in Cool Hand Luke (one of the best movies ever, beeteedubs).  I came in to the office this morning, ready to dive in.  Personally, I'm also ready to dive in.  Time to get back into shape.  Tax season, and the desk sitting that follows, coupled with the lack of time, energy and motivation to exercise, take their toll on my body.

(Artists depiction of me on April 14)

Thanks for reading.  Carry on.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

It's that time of year...

...when all around me are playing.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping...

...and I'm inside working on your tax return

Not actually me.

But in 9 days, I'll be joining you.

This is actually me

Please don't forget me.