Thursday, September 21, 2006

7-W

What do the number 7 and the letter W have in common?

 

Go ahead, leave a comment and take a guess.

 

I'll post an answer in about a week.

 

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Conflicting Emotions


A couple of weekends ago, I experienced conflicting emotions that I had not endured since puberty.


On the Thursday of this week, I noticed that some of our cutting knives just weren't (well) cutting it. As I tried to pop one of the old Kroger balloons and really had to dig into the rubber to make it pop, I sturdied my stand that to be safer: "Knives should be sharp."


I spent about ten minutes sharpening each of our black-handled, wooden sheathed knives.


Cut to Saturday evening. Romantic. The kids are at a friend's house (yes all four of them, but that is another story in miracles). We are away from Cincinnati for the weekend in a rustic, but posh cabin. The kind of place where a couple cannot go on a first date as the bedroom is the living room, is the shower, and is the fireplace area. All rooms are intimate. All places are romantic.


I have done some homework here and have packed some crackers, three varieties of cheese, some wine . . . and have even obtained some taste-contrasting apples.


The fire is warm. The evening is still. The iPod plays some background music.


It is good.


I am using the knives. I am cutting the apples. I am slicing the cheese. . .


The knife slips.


Kim's sits up quickly, eyes open wide, looking at me and my thumb.


"Right now, I am in a conflicted emotion . . . I don't know whether to be happy about the time wasted sharpening the knives or to be happy that I did such a poor job sharpening them."


10-digit Dave's evening continued . . .


Thursday, September 14, 2006

I-75 Necessary Stops


Written while driving north from Knoxville TN to Cincinnati OH.


Currently, I am nearing exit 41 on northbound Interstate 75 in Kentucky.

Currently, I also need to find a facility -- not for my car if you get my meaning.

As I am driving, I find it kind of amazing that McDonald's -- one of the premier cookie-cutter restaurants is always able to duplicate everything in its restaurant. I would guess that at least 90% of the time, its hamburgers, soda, french fries, morning breakfast sandwiches, uniforms, paint schemes, drive-throughs are remarkably the same.

Unfortunately, their men's restrooms are also almost (without exception) remarkably the same. Not really clean -- more like kind of smelly, do-I-really-want-to-touch-the-door-handle, stinky dirty. Maybe I am not being absolutely fair in this judgment, and maybe it is just the McDonald's and other fast food restaurants near the interstate system, but why are they all so repulsive that one has to almost physically restrain one's son or daughter from touching (well) anything?

So, while I am driving, I am making my list of best places for a personal pitstop:

1. Any rest area just inside the border of a state. It seems that the state does not want to make a negative impression to its newly welcomed visitors just after they have crossed the border.

2. Cracker Barrel -- I don't know how, but they usually keep their bathrooms Disney-clean.

3. The most recently constructed rest areas -- something about the relatively recent architecture lends itself to people hitting the toilet.

4. Fast food restaurants that are to the right of exit ramps -- even if it is not clean smelling, at least it is efficient to get back on the interstate.

5. Truckstops -- these are moderately clean and the persistent cigarette smoke masks the years and filth.

6. Gas stations -- these people consistently understand that getting the vehicle's driver to stop for fuel is their number one priority. Their step number two involves getting the same drivers to purchase the "sundry" items inside (to maximize, Hell to create) actual profit. Their step number three is to get them back out of the store and away from their pumps to lure more drivers.
Having clean bathrooms, therefore, is not a part of their business plan as it causes vehicles to park in front of the pumps for profit-crushing durations.

7. An underpass or any shoulder just past the end of any guardrail. Maybe this should be #5 or #6.

8. The Bigfoot "Convenience Station" on Interstate 74 at the Greenwood, Indiana exit -- never, never, never again.
Do you have any additions or modifications to this list?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

iPod's Connection (and Beauty)


September 13, 2006: This morning, I left the hotel relatively early so that I could stop by the Atlanta Bread Company to get a "real" cup of coffee and to spend some down time before the day's meeting.

As I was there, I was listening to my iPod (Frank Deford and KCRW's The Score). As I was watching these people socializing (it sure seems that there are a lot of men in Bible groups in the Atlantic Bread Company early on Wednesday mornings) I was struck by the irony of these people socializing while I was lurking in their midst and behind iPod's earbuds.

The volume was not turned up, but the earbuds themselves were enough of a social deterrent that nobody stopped by or interrupted my study.

During these 20 minutes alone in public, I drank some coffee, ate my morning sandwich and listened to podcasts which were on two different (not opposite) emotional spectrums.

The first podcast was from a commercial pilot who collects stories in the air from other commercial pilots, flight attendants, and passengers regarding things that happen 30,000 feet up. This particular podcast however was not a combination of several stories, it was one story by Joe d'Eon created on September 11, 2006 giving his view on the Twin Towers and the pilots of the ill-fated flights.

The second podcast included Frank Deford of NPR. Mr. Deford's column usually has something to do with sports and their meaning in our daily life (it is not a package of scores or daily results). During this podcast, Mr. Deford draws a parallel between Pluto and some of the lesser-regarded or lesser-attended sports teams. Listen to the whole thing as you will undoubtedly laugh at the well done sixth grade humor.

IPod -- the poor man's satellite radio . . . but rich with emotions.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Education Begins Everywhere


Last week, a friend and I met to discuss education and how we might make education better for the teachers, the students, the families, and (although we didn't formally discuss it) society.

This evening, I just finished writing of the minutes of that initial meeting to both capture the record of the meeting and to create a to do list to get that all-important inertia overcoming static friction and dealing with the less-energy-to-overcome kinetic friction.

Meeting with my friend last week was quite good as it was another push to get the wheel moving. Finalizing the minutes this evening are self-validation that this seemingly pie-in-the-sky, big hairy audacious goal, it's-just-to-right-thing-to-do Project (with a capital P) is coming to life.

Mary Shelley would be proud.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fly -- No Matter What

This post rambles -- I've re-read it twice, changed it around a little bit. It still rambles, but right now, I still can't fix it.

In time, I'll be able to. . .


-----

Everyone remembers where they were on September 11, 2001 -- I was in a Construction Meeting at the Greater Cincinnati Airport. My wife called twice and I picked up the cell-phone on her second attempt -- our code for "it's important".

She told me that a plane had just struck the World Trade Center. She said, "Dave. It's important. Tell everyone in the meeting what just happened." From the first minute, she understood better than anyone I know what was going on. No, she did not know if it was a terrorist plot or an accident, but she knew that today was a day that we'd remember. She knew that it was important for me to tell everyone in the meeting that something big and terrible was happening.

When she called the second time about twenty minutes later -- we ended the meeting.

That afternoon, I returned from our field office at the Airport to our Main Office. That day I did not want anyone to take anything from me -- I continued to work for several hours as I did not want to give into anyone trying to terrorize me -- I was not going to be bullied.

The Unger Report posted a piece today on comedy and how 9/11 has impacted laughing. If you have a couple of minutes, listen to it -- especially the last 40 seconds. It is the voice of someone that gets it -- and ironically he gets it, because he admits that he just doesn't understand it. David Letterman went back to work six days after the 11th. I recall him stating that he was going back to work because Mayor Giuliani asked that people try to return to their normal ways.

In 2001, our family was only four in number -- now it is six. As I was driving today, I realized that none of our kids will really remember September 11 -- just as I don't remember November 22, 1963 (I wasn't alive yet) or July 20, 1969. They'll learn of it and remember it, but they won't know right where they were when it happened. Is that a good thing -- I don't know -- part of me thinks yes and part no.

A couple of years ago, my daughter started learning about 9/11 while listening to the words of Alan Jackson's song. She listened to enough of the words to wonder why "the world stopped turning."

It was sometime in 2003 and even though it wasn't September or an 11th or 2001 -- just some random day -- I remember where I was -- driving up Hunley explaining to her what had happened a couple of years before . . . and having to stop talking a few times from being choked-up.

I wonder if that is what she'll remember?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

TED


If you are interested in hearing some very good speakers talk about some work they are doing that can change the world one thing at a time, check out TED -- People using technology to make things better (or Geeks Providing Love) -- seems like a good thing.

Friday, September 01, 2006

365 x 2 plus time

Each year, I (literally) take thousands of photos.

I took the attached photo two years ago tomorrow. The quality stinks, the cropping is poor, the reason I took it is not quite known (even to me), but its importance is paramount.

8 seconds before this photo was taken, my wife had walked from the garage down to near where I was and advised me that my Dad had died.

She bore the news and before she got to me, our then-four-year-old son got it and got to her. He went to her with all available hugs and comprehension.

I still don't know exactly why I took this picture - my camera was close and something told me that I would want this years later -- and painfully sweet, I know that I was right. Picturing (literally, again) the hurt on my wife's face, the comfort to her from my son, and knowing the situation reminds me again and again what a phase life is.

I don't like interrupting a story-line, but two years ago as I was driving back to Indianapolis, I was listening to a CD that I had compiled just a few days before. Being in the state that I was, I was imagining that each song really meant something that my Dad wanted to say to either me or to someone else. In each song, I was able to apply meaning -- except one.

The one song that I could not give any justification was a Jimmy Buffett song -- "Permanent Reminder of a Temporary Feeling". The whole drive up, I could not figure out any of the lyrics that made sense. Each and every other song had a least one line that I was able to fit into something that he would want to say to either me or to Mom -- but not this one. Nothing would fit.

Years ago, knowing my affection and admiration for my Dad, I asked that should he die before me, would he mind giving me his wedding ring. I admired his love and givingness to my Mom and thought that I'd like a little of that passed on to me.

Driving back to Cincinnati the next day while wearing my now-given-to-me-from-my-Mom Dad's wedding band, I was again listening to the same CD in the truck when Track 6 came on. I got it when I heard Mr. Buffett sing, "What's this ring on my finger, what is its meaning?"

Contact from my dear old Dad. Dad 1, Dave 0.

Tomorrow, it will be two years later, time will have moved on. My mom still aches, I still miss my biggest fan, and this picture reminds it all to me.