Monday, December 31, 2007

Time for another meme...

I like cruising through friends' blogs, and friends of friends, and I find some interesting stuff (note to self, need to organize my bookmarks so I can find the FOAF blogs again!). I am becoming a meme addict, and found a cool one a few weeks ago on this FOAF blog. The rules are pretty simple--go to Google Images, type in your answer to each question, and post one of the images as your response to the question. Make sense? OK, let's begin:

1. Age next birthday

2. Place I'd like to travel

3. Favorite Object

4. Favorite Food

5. Favorite Animal

6. Favorite Color

7. First Job

8. College Major

9 . Bad Habit

(If you can't read the image, it says: "PROCRASTINATION: I'll find a picture for it later.")

10. My first name

(My first name is "Jim", not "Morrison" (C; ).

So, that's that! I don't have to tag anyone on this, but if you like this one please feel free to copy!

More later...

P.S. - Happy New Year to all! Be safe and healthy, and enjoy 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas in review + Training - Week 4

Christmas was nice this year. Not spectacular, not "Holy cow that was the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!", and definitely not sucky--just nice, mellow, and low key. After this crazy year, that's exactly what I wanted.

My wife's family came over Christmas eve for dinner (she makes a mean pan of lasagna, lemme tell ya...), and exchanging presents. I'm starting to see her parents aging more and more, especially her dad--and since I lost my dad a few years ago, my FIL is a "father figure" to me. But all of this just makes me appreciate Christmas and holidays with them more.

Christmas morning I headed out for a run. I think I did the same last year, but we had an, a discussion...about whether I did. Regardless, it's now an official tradition--something I intend to carry on in the future. It was very quiet, and cold, but not windy at all so very bearable.

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast--Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and coffee (NUM NUM!), and then exchanged our presents. The rest of the day we just hung out, watched a couple movies, ate, ate some more...the usual.

I took the rest of this week as vacation time, which I really needed. Now, today, we're headed to my mom's house for a late Christmas with her, my brother, and his family.

This week, my training went like this:

Tuesday - 3 miles (outside!)
Wednesday - 4 miles at the indoor track
Thursday - 3 miles at the indoor track
Saturday - 9 miles at the indoor track

For a total of 19 miles this week, and a total of 65 miles since I started the training program. WHOOHOO...only 370 to go! Well, 396.2 if you count the marathon as part of the whole package...

More later...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas wishes + Christmas video

First...I'd like to wish all of my blogworld friends a happy, healthy, and enjoyable Christmas season, and a great new year. This has been my first year of blogging (well, I blogged for a couple months in '06 but that doesn't really count), and it's been really fun and rewarding to meet all of you online. Thanks to everyone for enriching my life with your stories, your jokes, your encouragement, and your comments!

I got this video link from a good friend--it's a really fun arrangement of "The 12 Days of Christmas." Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Training - Week 3

Today ended week 3 of training for the St. Louis Marathon. This means I'm 1/6th, or 12.5%, of the way through the training. I use milestones like 1/6th, 1/3rd, etc., to break up my longer runs and make them seem not so far--it's one of my many mental tricks.

Anyway, it was a good week. Did all my running at the local community center track, and I really enjoy this over the monotonoy of a treadmill.

This week's training:
Tuesday - 3 miles
Wednesday - 4 miles
Saturday - 3 miles
Sunday - 5 miles

Which gives me a 15 mile week--again, perfect!

I ran this morning with my long-run pal Mark. The last two laps (which is about 1/3rd a mile), I said "So, you wanna just crank these out?" We kicked up the pace and had a really strong and fast finish (felt fast to me, anyway). After we stopped, he said "Man, what got into you today?"

Turns out he was letting me set the pace, and I guess I was...uh...a little speedier than normal today. Sorry, Mark...I'll be better next time.

Mark and I are both looking forward to getting outside for longer runs, he especially so he can use his new toy--the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch. He's like a kid with a new toy. Heck...he IS a kid with a new toy. Just can't use it inside, hence the strong desire to get outside and be able to use it.

Anyway, it was a good week. And now, two more sleeps and it's Christmas morning! YAY...

More later...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bad blogger!

AUGH! Not only have I not blogged in 5 days, I missed two 55FFF's continuing story here, but also missed the chance to post on Mike's 55FFF blog. Rather than scramble to write something, and backpost it, I'm just going to skip it and resume next week.

My good buddy Daniel popped up on IM yesterday to wish me a happy holidays, and kindly reminded me that I'm letting my blogging slip. Yeah, well, it's been one of those weeks...again with the Christmas shopping, work, parties, etc., etc. Fortunately I'm taking next week off of work, so I'll have some downtime which I'm really looking forward to.

Today is my wife's birthday, and I posted a photo of her over on my photo blog. Tonight is her work Christmas party/small birthday celebration, so that should be a lot of fun.

Anyway, hope all of you are doing well, enjoying your holidays, and finding at least a little time to blog. If for some reason I don't post before Christmas again, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas indeed!

More later...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas rush...

You know how everyone knows one of those people who always has their Christmas shopping done by mid-September, and their cards are out in the mail the day after Thanksgiving? Yeah, well, I'm not one of those people. Since Christmas is less than a week away, I figured I better get my butt in gear...

Tonight is Christmas shopping for the family. Yesterday, I ordered gifts online for some work people. Holiday cards are all done and sent except for a few friends from church. Oh, and trying to fit all this in at the same time we are doing our annual planning for next year (our work fiscal year starts Feb 1st)...YUK.

But hey, it is what it is. Blogging has fallen off a bit, but I see that everyone is posting a bit less. I guess it goes with the season.

I am taking some time off next week, so hopefully I'll get to do some stuff I've been wanting to do for a while--spend time organizing my digital photos, finish up a woodworking project I've had going for God-only-knows how long, etc., etc. That is, I'll do all that stuff if the couch and TV don't suck me into their black vortex of mindless entertainment...

One editorial note--in reality I haven't posted since last Friday's 55FFF...but I'm writing a "week in training" update and using Blogger's 'post options' to post it as of Sunday's date. No good reason for doing this, other than I'm neurotic about certain things, and posting my training wrapup on Sunday is one of those things.

More later...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Training - Week 2

Two weeks down, and now only 16 to go. HA! Only 16 weeks? The fun is just beginning...

This was another good training week. I've discovered the joys of an indoor track--our local community center has one. 6.5 laps is a mile and it gets a tad monotonous, but's better than a treadmill, and it's only $2 per session. So I strap on the iPod, listen to my music mix or a podcast, and before you know it I'm done!

My training week is usually Tue/Wed/Thu and either Saturday or Sunday, but this week was a bit different. I started the week on Sunday the 9th with the Reindeer Run, sponsored a national chain of workout facilities. With as much as they charge for membership (I'm not a member but have friends who are) I hesitate to call this place a "gym!"

Anyway, this week I ran:

Sunday: 3 miles - Reindeer Run
Wednesday: 3 miles - indoor track
Saturday: 3 miles - indoor track
Sunday: 7 miles - indoor track

For a grand total of 16 miles. I'd decided that my goal in December and for next year was to run at least 15 miles a week, so it's good that my training keeps me at or above that minimum.

Next week, more indoor running and a "drop back" week. Every third week, the mileage goes down to give my body a rest. If you're ever interested in taking a look at the program I use, here it is.

More later...

Friday, December 14, 2007

55FFF - Chapter VII

18 hours later - Casino floor, MGM Grand Hotel, Las Vegas

"Nice choice, Kathryn," the fat man said. "Crowded, crawling with security, easy exit..."

"Cut the crap. Get off my back, return the cash, and we're even."

The knife moved like lightning, stopping a hair away from her throat. He hissed, "Think again, little one..."

Just then, he felt the pistol's barrel pointed at his crotch...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SWEEEEEET! Speed Racer official trailer

Can't wait...May, 2008! Excellent!!!

What would I do...

with unlimited money? My new blogging pal over at Such Simple Pleasures posed this question to me. It's a meme of sorts, and I'm discovering I have a meme addiction. I can just see it in a couple years, me showing up at an MA (Meme-ers Anonymous) meeting..."Hi, my name is Jim, and I'm a meme-er..."

Anyway, the question is what 5 things would I do if I had unlimited money? So, here goes--just off the top of my head:

  1. Fund the annual research efforts of the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society.
  2. Underwrite the annual budget and provide new, updated facilities for every local humane society, no-kill animal shelter, and animal rescue program in the world. The only string attached would be that there'd have to be a very active spay/neuter program, as I believe a lot of the stray animal problem could be prevented by spaying/neutering...
  3. Buy two brand-spankin' new airplanes--a Boeing 787 for short hops, and an Airbus A380 for longer hauls. Of course, I'd have three complete air crews on standby--one for each of the planes, and a third in reserve just in case.
  4. Provide funding to allow everyone in the world to get clean water. According to a 2004 report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, more than one billion people around the world don't have clean water which leads to unnecessary disease and death.
  5. Indulge all my current hobbies (travel, photography, running, woodworking, cooking) plus those I'd like to get into (play an instrument, oil painting, and anything else I think of) with the best equipment, lessons, etc., that money can buy for each. Oh and I guess I'd have to buy a huge house somewhere out in the country to hold all the stuff (uh, I need a ruling...did I just add #6 to the list?).
Man, that was harder than I thought. When you only get 5 choices, you have to prioritize. I wonder what it'd be like to do the same list and have unlimited choices of what I could do, but a limited amount of money (something like "What would you do with $10 billion?")...

More later...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Training - Week 1 + quick kitty story

One week of marathon training down, 17 weeks to go...

This was a good training week. I ran the following:

Tuesday - 3 miles on the treadmill
Wednesday - 3 miles on the treadmill
Thursday - 3 miles on the treadmill
Saturday - 6 miles at local indoor track

I'm right on schedule. When I trained for the Chicago Marathon last year I missed some of my mid-week runs, but I'm trying to make sure I don't miss anything this time, that meant my Wednesday and Thursday runs were at around 10PM each night, but I got them in.

I also ran today--a local race called the Reindeer Run. Just a 5K, no biggie--except we had ice/freezing rain last night, and there was just enough left on the streets today to make it slick.

Since I'm going to be traveling this week I'm giving myself "credit" for today's run (it'll count as my Tuesday run) meaning I only have to run Wed., Thu., and Sunday of this week. Looking forward to week 2 of training, though.

Completely unrelated topic--we put up the tree (no lights, no ornaments...just the tree itself) last weekend in order to let the cats get used to it. Of course, Bella had to explore and climb up the inside pole. I captured her at the top just kinda hanging out...makes a cute pic on my photoblog.

More tomorrow...

Friday, December 7, 2007

55FFF - Bella Boo

CRAP I totally forgot that today is "55FFF" day. I wrote one already for Mike M's excellent 55FFF blog, I've already posted a new meme today, and quite honestly I am just NOT feeling Chapter VII of...well, of "the continuing story" (which totally sucks as a book title, but that's all I've got in me right now). So, until next week when I resume TCS (and maybe I'll have a title for it by then!), here is my story from the 55FFF blog.

Author's note: I usually work at home on Fridays. My baby girl kitty Bella (we sometimes call her "Bella Boo", hence the post title) is my near-constant companion in my office. She's impeding my efforts to work right now, but she's so darned cute I can't hardly get mad. I wanted to see if I could capture her essence in 55 words...see what you think.

She slinks into my office quietly, the jingle bell around her neck the only sound.

She's curious, sniffing everything cautiously.

Walking around my desk, she jumps into my lap and starts kneading.

She purrs contentedly and explores my desk, ignoring efforts to work around her.

Then, she curls up on my lap for a catnap...

More later...

King of the memes...

I had another meme tee'd up as a draft post, but didn't want to push it out just yet. But just today, one of my new bloggosphere friends, Heather, tagged me with a meme today. I feel honored to have been tagged, so here I go with another meme.

Here are the rules of the Meme:

  • Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog (DONE!).
  • Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  • Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

With that, here are my 7 random and/or weird facts (thank God it's not 7 weird things...y'all would skeeve out...)

1: I was an AFS exchange student the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school.

2: I am an introvert. I love people but I prefer non-verbal, non-contact interaction (i.e., email, IM, blogging, etc) versus verbal/contact interaction (going out with large groups of people, spending hours on the phone, etc.). I will email or IM someone all day, but I have trouble having a personal phone conversation longer than about 15 minutes.

3: I tend to get bored easily.

4: I'm very superstitious. I have certain rituals I repeat when I do things like run a road race, get on an airplane, etc. The repetition of these rituals always makes me feel better and more in control.

5: I have 5748 songs in my iTunes collection, and 1668 of those are country or bluegrass, which means about 30% of my collection is country.

6: I love fruitcake.

7: I don't fear being dead, but I am afraid of what will happen to me during the process of dying.

So, that's that. Who will I tag? Uh...well, I've kinda been tagging the regulars with memes lately, and I don't have a ton of blog friends yet, so here goes:

Rinz (my niece)
Dan (who is always a good sport)
Mike M
Wes (an absolute ROCK STAR over on Cre8Buzz)
Sue (er, sorry if I already tagged u this week I don't remember...)
Taj Wanders
Snowelf (ditto--in fact, she may have already done this one)

Whew...there. Enjoy. And if you don't like being tagged sorry...but try it, even if you just did a meme like 5 seconds ago, because they're fun. (C:

More later...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Catching my breath...

Today is one of those "I don't have anything to write about but I can write something..." kind of days. Work has been very busy this week--I had out of town people come in for a 2-day meeting. To prep for it, I was up at 5:00A and out the door by 6:00ish Monday-Wednesday, in the office before (or just after) 7:00AM. Hey, at least I made up for it by working late...but not past 9:30PM. (C: But it was cool--good meeting, good to see everyone, etc., etc.

Today is catching up--finishing notes/actions from the meeting, doing the stuff I ignored for a few days (including blogging!).

I started my marathon training this week, but it's all been on the treadmill--it's WAY cold outside (about 10 degrees Fahrenheit at 10AM...), plus there's a lot of snow/ice which would make the running hazardous. Saturday I'm meeting a good friend at a local fitness center, we're doing the indoor track. 6.5 laps equals 1 mile, and I've got to do 6 miles on Saturday, so 39 laps...ugh. Still, better than outside...

Life is good right now. We've got a lot of holiday party stuff coming up, but the next day or so we can kind of have quiet time before all the hubbub. So I'm enjoying today while I can.

More later...

Monday, December 3, 2007

iPod meme (a.k.a. Son Of Return Of The Meme!)

I promised I wasn't going to do this until the weekend but dang it, I have nothing else interesting to post today (HA! Like that's ever stopped me...). Snowelf tagged me on this one, I also read Mike M's fine version of this meme, and thought it was my turn...

Here are the rules:

1. Put your iTunes/ music player on Shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.

Sinner's Prayer - Ray Charles/B.B. King

What I Can Do For You - Sheryl Crow
"What I can do for you/there's no one else on God's green earth can do..." NICE...

Lovesick Blues - George Strait
Uh, my wife is out with some girlfriends tonight, so maybe iTunes thinks I'm heartbroken or something?

Stay A Little Longer - Willie Nelson
I've always said I want to live to be 110 years old - my 110th birthday will be on July 4th, 2076 - our country's tricentennial. Hey, I can only be wrong once...

Brother Wolf, Sister Moon - The Cult
"Hang your head/no more.../and beg/no more..."

Distant Shore - Dierks Bentley
Uh, maybe iTunes that I'm out of touch a lot and sometimes I take a really really really long time to call them back when they leave me voicemails?

Stir It Up - Bob Marley and the Wailers
Hm...I guess I was a compliant, good little boy growing up--now, I'm living my life the way I want to so I've "stirred it up" a little since I was a kid? I'm reaching here...

A Lot of Things Different - Kenny Chesney
About a man who, if he had his life to do over again, would do the things he was too afraid to do the first time.

Regatta De Blanc - The Police

New York State of Mind - Billy Joel
Even when I'm far away, my thoughts are still with that person and I can't wait to get back to them...

The Space Between - Dave Matthews Band
Again, WTH?

Good Christian Men, Rejoice - artist unknown (compilation CD)

Treat Street - George Winston
I swear, people, I didn't cheat on this one!!!!

Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground - Willie Nelson

I'll Take That As A Yes - Phil Vassar
Again, oh great iTunes, I ask you WTH??? A song about two people getting it on and ending up having sex in a hot tub? EEEW, so inappropriate for a funeral...

Angel - Aerosmith
Uh, spending time with my "angel" (that would, of course, be the Mrs...)

Come A Little Closer - Dierks Bentley

Still Listening - Steven Curtis Chapman
Again I say, "HA!"

Missionary Man - Eurythmics
"I was born an original sinner/I was born from original sin/and if I had a dollar bill/for all the things I'd done/there'd be a mountain of money/piled up to my chin..." Yep...that about sums it up...

So, who do I tag now? I'm tagging the first 5 blogger friends who come to my mind, regardless of how well we know each other (or not)...

  1. Daniel
  2. Mona
  3. Suchsimplepleasures (who has a pinched nerve now, according to her last post, and so gets a hall pass on this for a while)
  4. Charles
  5. Flash

Full disclosure:
  • I used the iTunes program, rather than my iPod, to do this. But Mike did it with a non-iPod device, so I figure that's OK.
  • The first time I did it, I cheated (oh, the shame! The horror!). So I started over again and stayed true to my slightly modified rules (see #3 below)
  • Er, I kinda still cheated a little, because I skipped over anything classical (chamber, baroque, whatever). I mean...what kind of meaning can you derive from "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor"? Besides, what's a meme without a few tweaks?
  • Isn't it kind of cool that the print on this is so small, it seems like some legal mumbo-jumbo at the bottom of a contract?
  • Bella helped daddy write this post--she sat about an inch away from the computer screen and tried playing "fetch" with the cursor while I wrote. SO CUTE, but I guess you had to be there...
  • Hey Snow don't get all mad that I didn't tag you...cuz I know you already did this.
  • Hey Snow don't get all mad that I said "Snow don't get all mad" because I know you are the sensitive type. (C: