Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The above photo is from Stanley Kubrick's, The Shining. In the particular scene, Jack Nicholson is imagining he is in a very busy ballroom while he is the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Of course in actuality he is going crazy and imagining the whole scenario.

I'm not saying I relate to Nicholson's character here, but I am a bit on the bored and lonesome side of the fence. My weekend work I mentioned last week was put on hold for another two weekends, so that has left me with an astounding amount of time to ponder life.

In just 17 days I am running in a 6.8 mile race, the first long distance race I've ever signed up for. My training is keeping me busy. So I run or walk at least an hour each day. I haven't run 6.8 miles before and don't think I will before the day of the big race which makes me nervous. I don't know if I'll run out of steam half way through or easily jog the course in an hour. It's exciting to know it is in two and a half short weeks.

Keeping my mind active is the goal. With that much time, I could easily sleep through each day and become a slob. I refuse to do that. I am equipped with books, su do ku puzzles, my daily dose of news and sports headlines and of course exercise. I have little countdowns going on in my head like 17 days until the road race, 31 days until I leave for New Zealand, 5 hockey games remaining on the schedule.

As I've mentioned before, when nothing is happening, it is hard to find things to talk about. But things are happening I suppose. My roommates are both going to be going on the New Zealand ski trip with me now. That's good news as I do get along with both of them even though Jeff did break the space heater this week and I'm the one who uses it most! It is in the 50's of late and I could really use another space heater.

A good childhood friend of mine's dad died last week. It was sad news to hear and even harder to know I couldn't come home to be there for her and the family. John Shaw was always smiling. When I was a kid, I'd often eat dinner over on West Surry Road. I always sat at the table in the corner of the kitchen, next to Amy, across from John. He will be missed.

I hung out with my friend Curt York last Friday night for the first time in a few weeks. He is doing well. He has really learned a lot about home brewing and has a great system set up on his back porch. Whenever I go over there he serves me up some of his homemade beer and it is pretty darn good.

The Wimbledon Tennis was great this year. The matches came on here around 10:30-11pm. The women's final with Venus and Serena Williams was kind of a let down, but at least I was in bed early. With the men's final, I was hoping for a swift three-setter, but as you know, was forced to stay up until 3:30am to see Federer beat American Andy Roddick for his 15th major title. With no work the next day, I didn't mind. And I'll be happy someday to say I watched that match.

I'm a bit ready to stop hearing about Michael Jackson. It's been 12 days since his death. The Australian media, as well as the rest of the world I'm sure is still fascinated by it all. After thinking about it for a week, I'm not so sure I agree with my statement last week about "you have to respect the guy." You don't really have to and I'm not sure I do. The child molestation charges and fairly sound evidence that he had a problem with young boys is very hard to look past. It is amazing how the media can change people's perspectives. It is hard with all the in-your-face headlines we see everyday to form your own thoughts. For example one day here they had the child molestation special on MJ and the next day, they play a tribute concert. Like I said, let's move on. That probably won't be the case though.

What else is going on in sports. They play Major League Baseball games here four times a week live. It has been luxurious to watch live baseball while I eat breakfast. Today I watched the Brewers host the Cardinals. It brought back a lot of memories as I went to many Miller Park games in Milwaukee when I was in college. It is truly a fun experience out there in Wisconsin. They say Wisconsin people can tailgate better than anyone in the country. I'd have to agree. I would love to have a bratwurst and a beer just thinking about it.

The NASCAR race in Daytona over the weekend was amazing. For you it was a Saturday night race, but for me it was a Sunday race. Tony Steward led most of the way until the final lap when Kyle Busch passed him. About 500 yards from the finish line, Stewart's car clipped Busch's which sent Busch into the wall, giving Stewart the victory. It was exciting racing, the type of racing that makes a guy like me watch. You have to give NASCAR credit, they have marketed that sport so well. They play the Nationwide Series races here a lot, but not the Sprint Cup, so that was an added bonus to get to see the best drivers race.

I'm waiting for my tax return check to come in next week. So until then, I'm really taking it easy on going out or doing anything really. The good news is I've paid my rent for the next five weeks already. Grocery shopping is always interesting when you're on a tight budget. I might have to switch to the store brands this week until that check comes in. That picture of me is from Halloween 2005. I was an incarcerated Elvis (It's all I had to work with!) and those guys were dressed up as Ed McMahon and his Publisher's Clearing House crew. Pretty great idea for a costume.
Alright, thanks for listening to me rant about my week. It took up some time and that's what I was aiming for. I've emailed a few of you from home lately. I just want to say thanks for your responses. Hearing news from home always makes me feel good. As I said last week, don't worry about me, I'll find something to do!

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