Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Chicago Shamrock (Blizzard) Shuffle 2009: Can I Run if I Can't Feel My Toes?

The answer is yes, but not well. Of course, I'm not a good runner anyway, but when your toes and legs are slightly frozen, those fist several hundred yards are a little rough.

First, I should say I was not very prepared for this race. I ate like crap all winter, and I didn't run nearly enough to be properly ready. So, as the weather forecast grew worse everyday that I checked, I was thinking I was not going to do this. Jenn wouldn't let me out that easy. I'd say it was going to be too cold, then she'd bring up that we ran in Lake Geneva last year in February. I'd bring up that it is going to be snowy, and again she'd bring up the mounds of snow in Lake Geneva. At that point I was kind of regretting running that race last year.

So, we put together all our gear the night before with me still on the fence. We had Jenn's parents ready for a kid drop just in case I was going to be the brave soul that I knew deep down that I am. (No, I couldn't keep a straight face reading that either.) We set the alarm for 6am (isn't that a bit early?) and went to sleep. The dog woke us up at 5am (thanks, Quincy) and I noticed it had already snowed, but it stopped. There was a nice dusting of snow with no wind; I could handle that! So, I tried to go back to sleep, but I wasn't very successful until about 20 minuted before the alarm went off. That almost did me in right there. I was not well rested enough to run an 8K! But, I got up. Jenn asked me if I was going to do it, I said yes, kind of hoping she'd say forget about it, but she didn't. We got dressed in many layers, got the kids an headed out to her parent's house. The funny thing about that was as we were getting out of the car in the parking garage she said she was ready to say forget it if I did. I was so close to being able to sleep in my nice warm bed. If only I had been a bit more of a wuss, or a little more crabby, I could have kept me feet warm.

Now, by this time it was a full-on blizzard. It was hard to see, snow was coming down sideways, and we saw many cars off the road. The funny part: Most of the cars we saw off the road were police cars. That's never a good sign. But, we made it to her parents, and to the race, okay, if not a little bit late. We had time to use the porta-johns and line up. Then wait.

And wait. See, as I said before, we are not good runners, so we don't get to be in the lettered corrals. This means we wait for the good runners to go, which takes at least 10 to 15 minutes, then wait five minutes, and the rest of us get to go. That takes another 10-20 minutes, depending on the amount of runners and how far back you are. This meant we spent a lot of time standing in the wind, cold and slush. The slush was the worst. My feet were getting pretty wet and slowly the heat leached out. My big toes, you know, the most important ones, were numb by the time I got to the starting line. Like I said, the first few hundred yards were not easy. I felt like if I ran too hard I'd fall over. I probably looked like a very old man running. I certainly felt like it.

By the first mile mark, I was pretty warmed up, I took of my scary mask, and ran with just a normal hat. I almost took that off, then I was hit by a blast of cold wind and thought better of it. The whole time I could her my mom telling me I'd catch cold if I took my hat off. After I was warmed up, it was an enjoyable run. There weren't too many spectators out there, but there were more than I thought there would be. I almost took a few pictures with my cell phone, but I didn't want to screw around too much. I really wanted to take a picture of the sign for the Reagal Beagle, which cracks me up. Actually, Jenn had thought about having my 40th birthday there at one time. Just because I'm a huge 70's/80's TV dork. (Their burgers look awesome! Now I'm hungry.)

There was one point when I was running along some boot camp. At first it was kind of interesting, then the chanting got kind of annoying. Good thing they were faster than me. Oh, and at the second water stop I got some funky water. I took a swig and tasted a ton of salt, or something. I immediately spit it out. It could have been my own sweat, but I don't think so. The rest of the run was pretty uneventful. I saw one person fall down, one guy in a banana suit, and kept my feet relatively dry for most of the race, however the last 150 yards was very slushy. So much for wam feet!

So, all-in-all, I'm glad I did it. It turns out I'm less of a wimp than about 20,000 people who didn't run it. So, I got that going for me, which is good.

For some more pictures, and a view of the race from a faster runner, read Mr. Unfocused's post here.

Oh, and the Chicago Tribune has some good photos. I'm not in any of them. I'm certainly not the person in the tank top and shorts. 

Sorry if this got a little on the rambling side. I'm on the midnight shift this week, I can't help myself.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Me, as The Ninja Runner

I took the mask off at about one mile, but I was glad to have it at the beginning. It was a tad cold out today.

Ellipsis Moday Photo Shoot #30: Things that float

From Carly this week:

Pretty self explanatory... show me THINGS THAT FLOAT. Leaves in a stream, pretty candles in a bath tub or pool, clouds, balloons, a scoop of ice cream in soda... ak
a... Root Beer FLOAT. Yum, by the way! A boat on the water, a piece of ice in a glass of water. Children's bubbles. You get the idea. Feel free to get creative with this challenge, and as always, archived photos are fine, but try to post ones you haven't showed us before.

I got a few for today.

First, I threw a ball in the air and managed to catch it with the camera, so to speak.

Next, is a single bubble floating.

And, here my daughter is pointing to a bubble. Can you see it? It's way at the top and basically cut off.

Question Of The Week: If you got an offer to be a photographer for Playboy or a similar magazine, would you accept it?

Not if I wanted to stay married.

Now, go check out the other pictures that Carly links to.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Free reading material: Shimmer Issue 10

The titles says it all really, but Shimmer is giving away their latest issue free for your downloading and reading enjoyment.

Go, do it now. All the cool kids are reading it!

Pass it on.

Cell phone sunrise

I know this phone picture of the sunrise won't do it justice, but I had to post it. Try to enjoy it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weekend Assignment #259: Mentors

Yes, I know I'm almost late again. This Spring Break schedule is killing me. Anyway, this week Karen asks:

Weekend Assignment #259: The term "mentoring" has become a buzzword in recent years but the concept of a mentor goes back centuries, and the word itself all the way back to Greek mythology, where Mentor was a friend of Odysseus. Have you ever had a mentor? How did you benefit from the relationship? And if you didn't have one, would you have wanted one?

I thought about this for a while this week. I can't say that I have had a mentor in the truest sense. Sure, I've had teachers or bosses that have helped me out. But, nothing that I would call a mentor.

My fifth grade teacher was pretty good to me. He was the track and soccer coach, and I did well in both of those. He helped me a bit in track, but nothing much more than most students. Did I ever tell you I set him up with my sister? That might be a story for another time. There are benefits to having a sister ten years older. I'm not saying that it got me any special favors on grades, or anything. They mostly dated during the summer after fifth grade; so don't get the wrong idea.

In my professional life, as it were, I can't think of anyone I'd call a mentor either. Maybe I'm missing out on something. They made it look fun on Seinfeld. Well, until George made the girl read the book on crisis management for him so he wouldn't have to. Maybe I should find someone to mentor...

Would I have wanted one? It's hard to say. I haven't had any real specialized interests that would usually require a mentor. When I think of someone having a mentor, I think of someone going into the arts, or maybe law. I don't know. I could be totally wrong.

Extra Credit: Have you ever been a mentor to someone else?

No. But if it got me out of some work, I may look into it.

What about you? Have you had, or been, a mentor?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things don't really change that much

I haven't been around here much this week since Spring Break is going on. I'm home with the kids all day, which, in itself, doesn't allow for much blogging time, not to mention the fact that I'm too tired to do it later. I'm not a Spring chicken anymore, you know.

This past weekend we had some of our old friends from college over to the house. Some of which we had not seen since we left school. One couple we see every few years, and one that we see all the time. This all came about through the magic of the Internet. We found a few friends through various social media sites, and we all decided it was about time we got together.

I was wondering how the night would go. Seventeen years is a long time. People change. Families grow. We get old. But, you know, after the first few moments the years melted away. I'm sure the beer and wine helped a bit.

We talked about some of the crazy people we used to know from the dorms. The strange things that should have gotten people arrested. (No, not me! Who do you think I am?) We laughed a lot. I think that helped more than anything. Laughing about your childish behavior, or stupidity, does a lot to bridge the gap of many years.

We talked a lot about music, too. You know how the perfect soundtrack can really bring a movie to life? I think it does the same thing with memories. A lot of our stories revolved around concerts we went to while in college, since graduating, and what we still listen to now. One of my friends told me to make a playlist of all the songs from our college years. I didn't do that, but I made sure to skip through iTunes to find the right songs. I think it worked out well.

So after way too many beers (for me anyway), way too much food (for anyone), our friends had to leave. Most to get kids, or themselves, to bed. I think Jenn and I were in bed by midnight, which would have been unheard of in college. The parties would just be getting started at 10:30! But, we are all older now. That's not such a bad thing.

I hope we do it again soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poor ducky

As we were leaving the house to get the kids a haircut, I happened to notice a duck in our front yard. She was semi-surrounded by some small bushes, so I didn't notice her at first. Once I did, I also noticed she wasn't alone. Sticking out from underneath her feathers was an egg. Yes, a duck was going to have a baby duck in our front yard. The kids thought it was neat and so did I.

On the way to the haircut, I thought about what I would write here, how I would get a picture, and, most important, how would I protect the egg from the landscapers when they came. I knew that would be any day now.

So, on the way home, I took the back way in so I could try to get a quick picture with my cellphone. But, as I pulled up, I could tell something was wrong. The duck wasn't sitting. She seemed to be searching. Looking around for something. Then I noticed the wood chips on which she was standing looked different. They were no longer covered by dead leaves, and the edges looked freshly, well, edged. And, yes, the egg was gone. In the short time that we were gone the landscapers came and cleaned up the yard, unknowingly taking the egg with them.

The duck us gone now. She probably won't be back.

Should I put an egg from the fridge out there for her to sit on? Just to make her feel better?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #29: Winter Meets Spring

Seeing as how Spring has just sprung, Carly wanted us to photograph something that brings the change to life:

It's that time again, when we have converging seasons. Next Friday, winter will transition into spring here in the northern hemisphere, so let's see what the change will be like in your neck of the woods. Please post new photos for this one, as opposed to posting photos from your archives. Now I know that some folks don't live in areas that see very much of a difference between seasons, and so there is an alternate assignment for you, but if you do live in an area that is just bursting to come alive with the colors of spring, please show me the celebration. Show me WINTER MEETS SPRING!

We don't have any snow left around here, and no frost in the morning lately, but I was able to get this shot of one of our tulips pushing through the ground.

I have no idea what type of tulip, if there even are different types, that this one is. They were planted before we moved here. They surprised us on our first Spring in the house 5 years ago.

How about some fresh grass? I will admit that this grass is in a cup in our window and not outside, but my daughter planted it at school, how do I not show it off?

Question of the Week: What do you think about Spirit Photography? Is it possible to photograph a spirit or ghost?

Short answer: No. I'll just leave it at that.

Have a good week!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weekend Assignment #258: It's A Small Web (After All)

So, this was supposed to be done by yesterday, but then I came up with the post I did write yesterday and felt I had to write it down before I lost it. That happens to me often. To top it off, I was confused on the days all week and thought I had another day to do this. But, I saw on Karen's twitter feed that she is getting some sleep before posting, so maybe I can squeeze this in. If not, that's okay, I wanted to do it anyway.

This week's topic has to do with online friends. Karen asks:

Weekend Assignment #258: In the online world, the word "friend" has become a verb. We "friend" or we "follow" people on social media sites and blogs, often forming casual connections with people we would be unlikely ever to meet face to face. Do you extend your arms wide to the online world, collecting lots of online acquaintances, or limit your web interactions mostly to "real" friends?

I certainly don't have a wide net of online friends. I don't belong to many online groups. I have this one here, and Carly's photo shoot as my only online groups. That's fine with me. If I had too many, I'd have trouble keeping track of everything I'm supposed to be doing. I have enough trouble getting to every one's posts the way it is now.

I do follow others on Twitter, and their blogs, that I don't know, but even that is relatively small. I think I follow 55 people on Twitter. Some I 'know,' most I don't. I follow people that I think will be interesting, funny, or a combination of those.

Now, because of that, my readership is pretty low. That's okay with me. Would I like more? Sure, but that might also invite some stalkers, or crazy people, you know? It's funny, I think about once every few days I'll get an e-mail saying I have two more followers on Twitter and by the time I get to look at their profile, the account has been suspended. That cracks me up for some reason. I wonder if the "Twammers" (I didn't make up that word) really get much out of Twitter. I can't imagine they do.

I am on Facebook, too. For the most part, those are people that I know 'in real life.' A lot of them are former classmates from some era in my life. But, while it's fun keeping in touch with them, I don't find Facebook as fun as blogging. Or, as fun as Twitter for that matter. I don't have my Twitter feed update my Facebook account, I'm not sure why. For some reason I want to keep the two worlds separate. I know, it's weird.

Extra Credit: Have you had much online interaction with people from other countries?

Not a whole lot, really.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have a few letters Syfy can use

As you may have heard, the SciFi channel has changed it's name to SyFy in order to change it's geeky image. You can read about it here.

Like most people, I think it is kind of dumb. It's fine to change your name to change your image, look at Prince, he does it every 10 years or so. Puff Daddy, or whatever his name is now, has changed his about 6 times in the last decade. So, go ahead, change away. But, (you knew there was going to be a but, right?) I think Syfy is a little goofy. I came up with some better letters. What about, WTF? I'm serious. Just follow along.

First of all, everyone is talking about the name change. Basically, from what I have read, most of them boil down to WTF? Wouldn't it be cool if that is what they changed their name to. It would be genius!

Also, their biggest, and best reviewed show, Battelstar Galactica, is ending this week. You know when a show like that has it's finale, not everybody is going to be happy. Look at The Sopranos. Since many people are going to be saying WTF? when the show ends, wouldn't it be great if that is what they had changed their name to on the same week?

Let's not forget that a new BSG related show is coming out next year called Caprica. They are basically letting us know already that it is not going to be anything like BSG, and be more like a soap opera. Again, a perfect time to say WTF? At least it looks like you know what the people are going to be thinking.

Another point, look at some of their programming. For the most part, most of the shows make you say, WTF? anyway. Some for good reason, X-files, Stargate, BSG, Eureka; and some for less good reasons; Mansquito anyone? Not to mention on Tuesdays all of a sudden wrestling comes on. Really? WTF? That never made sense to me anyway. Now, if it was cyborg wrestling, that would be cool!

I know you may be thinking to yourself, how would they get that name changed approved by the Big Cheeses at Universal or the FCC. Well, most of those people are so out of touch you could tell them that WTF? stands for anything. They are all clever people over at Syfy, I'm sure they could have come up with something. Heck, they could have gone all BSG on them and said it stood for What the Frak? It's not like any of them know what Frak means. I mean how else do you get the KFC Frak Pack approved as a tie-in? (They did change the name of that promotion by the way. I'm sure someone's kid let them know what it means).

So, come on SciFi channel, take a chance. As Joel Goodsen said, sometimes you just have to say WTF?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ten on Tuesday: 10 songs you hate

It's been a while since I've done a Ten on Tuesday post, but this is something I could get behind.

1. She Drives Me Crazy -- Fine Young Cannibals. I can never turn the station fast enough.

2. Let's Dance -- David Bowie

3. China Girl -- David Bowie. Sorry Bowie fans, I can't stand these two.

4. Knockin' on Heaven's Door -- The Guns 'N Roses version. This song is so bad it can be it's own MST3K episode.

5. Every Breath You Take -- The Police. I like a lot of Police songs, just not this one.

6. Pink Cadillac -- Bruce Springsteen. Nothing against Bruce, but this song is not good.

7. (Enter any song here) -- The Doors. I've never liked them.

8. Lick it Up -- KISS. Every year I realize more and more that KISS wasn't really as good as I thought they were when I was a kid.

9. All Summer Long -- Kid Rock. It's basically Sweet Home Alabama with his words. How hard is that?

10. Ummm...Yoko Ono! (I kind of cheated on that last one.)

I've probably mentioned some of these before. What songs do you hate?

Monday, March 16, 2009

My eyes! My eyes!

So, I'm sitting here, minding my own business, reading stuff off the Internet, and I stumble upon this. I know I have mentioned my general dislike of feet, so any of these would be my worst nightmare for a birthday cake. Did you see the one with the broken toe? That just adds to the mild disgust I feel while looking at these. I mean, come one; the first one has little hairs on it. Who would eat these? I can't even talk about the foot fungus cakes...

So, thanks to Cake Wrecks, I know that I can find a cake that will totally disgust me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #28: Black & White

This week we have to turn off the color for Carly's photo shoot.

Ok everybody, grab your camera, fire up your imagination, and show me some BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY. The subject matter is completely up to you. Do something a little Silly, Fascinating, Spooky, Gothic, or Artsy Noir... it's completely up to you! Just make it BLACK & WHITE.

To me, nothing says black and white like a dormant tree near a shed. Well, at least in my backyard.

Depressing, isn't it? At least Spring is almost here.

During the winter time play sets don't get used too much either. They look lonely at this time of the year.

Here is a close up of part of the swing set. Something about the rope near the fake stones intrigued me.

I think all of the pictures would have looked a little better if it wasn't so sunny out this day.

Extra Credit: Write a little about what it was like to for you to take a BLACK & WHITE photo as opposed to color.

It was a little tough to figure out what to take a picture of at first. I didn't want to take just anything. It seemed like I should try for something that would look a little better in black and white. Or, maybe something that was a little depressing. For some reason, that is the feeling I always get when I look at black and white pictures.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Feeling cheated

I had this pizza last night. Look how small it is compared to the box. I felt a little ripped off. Of course, that's how big a pizza for one should be, but I wanted more.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Weekend Assignment #258: Hobby of Mine

For this week's assignment Karen gets some help from Laura:

Weekend Assignment #257: Are there any hobby activities you've always wanted to try? What is their appeal? Also, what's stopping you from pursuing them?

You know, it took me a while to come up with something for this week. Then, when I did get an idea, our Internet connection went kerplooey. Now I think I can actually answer this.

This first few things I thought of I had already done. Blogging was a hobby that I thought about for a long time before actually doing it. Actually, if it wasn't for Jenn starting hers, I may never have done it. So you can all thank, or blame, her.

I've done some of the basics out there; I have some coins I collected, I play golf, running. The basic things that most people do, or think about doing, I've done. Well, except skydiving. I've never thought I wanted to do it, and I never will!

So, after some hard thinking I came up with flying. An airplane, not being a superhero, or anything. My step-dad had a four-seater airplane that he used to fly when I was growing up. I always thought it was cool and really wanted to learn. When he was learning about flying I would always help him with his tests. Actually, not all that long ago, I found some of his old study materials in the basement. Inside was a score sheet with both his and my scores. I did pretty well!

I never did get to learn though. I know if my mom and step-dad didn't get divorced I would have learned, but I never got the chance. I would have had a plane readily available and could have practiced pretty easily. It's not like I miss it now anyway. I wouldn't be able to afford to fly. Do you know how much it costs to rent a plane? Not to mention owning one? Well, I don't either, but I bet it is a lot.

I did get to take one lesson about 9 years ago. Jenn bought me a one hour lesson at the local airport out here. It was pretty cool, and brought back a lot of memories. I got to fly along the lake and do a low pass over the former Meigs Field. Jenn's mom was not to happy about it though. She was pretty sure I was going to die that day.

Extra Credit: What was the last hobby activity you did?

I just took some picture out in the front and back of the house. We'll see how they turn out. I'll be posting them soon.

So, do you have a hobby you want to do?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Movie night?

Jenn is on her way to a somewhat last minute conference as I write this. Luckily, it worked out that I was off work the next two days. See, I start too early to drop the kids at school on the way. Unless there is a pack of wolves that live in the cemetary next to the school (yes, for real) that can keep an eye on them for an hour, I need to be home when Jenn is out of town.

The real question is: what do I watch tonight? I still haven't watched The Simpsons Movie. I have one more MST3K movie to watch. I can play video games, too. Of course, I could just go to bed early since I'm tired, but that is boring.

Any advice? Other movies I should watch?

By the way, no, I don't think it is all fun and games since Jenn is gone. I'm usually quite bored when she is away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I knew bears were smart...

This headline cracks me up:

"Big Bear Market Rally Coming," Says Noted Bear Barry Ritholtz

He's not just any bear, he's a noted bear.

Yes, sometimes the stupid things amuse me.

(Also, I do know what they mean, it just looks funny).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daylight Stupid Time

I really hate changing the clocks. What do we really gain out of it? Sure it is light out later in the evening, but now I go to work in the dark again. why is that better? I have to worry about changing the clocks before I go to bed, make sure I don't somehow screw up the alarm, and basically I just don't sleep well due to fear of over sleeping. Why can't we leave the clocks alone? Please!

Speaking of clocks, I realized our old clock radio is pretty useless now. The clock was a gift off of our wedding registry about 14 years ago, so it has lived a long life. See, it works fine, it still keeps time, but I found out last night I can't change the time. The little button I have to push to allow you to change then time doesn't work. So, instead, I set the alarm an hour earlier. That made the early morning hurt even more. We do have a new clock radio standing by, but I didn't want to mess with it last night. It is one of those new-fangled ones with an iPod dock, and more small buttons. I need to practice slapping it into snooze mode a few times before I'm ready to put into service full-time. I don't want to turn it off in my sleep on accident since I have to bring donuts to work if I am late. I know, it's a stupid unwritten rule. I mean, come on, you want me to be even later by stopping and getting donuts? Dumb!

So, yeah, I might be a little cranky today due to losing the hour sleep. Does it show? It was sad last night. We ate dinner kind of late, and I kept saying, "I need to go to bed soon, it's almost 8 o'clock," or whatever time it was plus an hour. I kind of felt like I lived on one of the coasts where prime time TV is an hour later than it is here. How do you people handle that? I couldn't imaging having prime time end at 11pm. That is way too late. Of course, in these TiVo times it doesn't matter too much. I could just record everything and watch it a day later at a more reasonable time. Or, watch it at work, if I had a Slingbox.

Okay, back to work. Did you miss the hour you lost last night?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #27: Condiments

Carly wants some pictures of condiments. It should be easy enough, our fridge is full of them. I think we have more condiments than food in there at all times.

Here is a sampling:

We have a bigger bottle of Tabasco, but I like this tiny one that we got from a restaurant. No, we didn't steal it. My wife bought the tuna salad maker a while ago; it has yet to be opened.

I took this shot to try and do something different. Ketchup doesn't come out the same since it is in squeeze bottles now. What happened to the anticipation?

That is all for this photo shoot. What is your favorite condiment?

Friday, March 6, 2009

So nice!

Look what Dreamybee over at Subliminal Intervention gave me:

Proximidade Award

"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes of self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

That was nice, wasn't it? I'm not so sure I would be considered charming, as the award states, but hey, it's nice to get things like this. At least I know some people are reading and enjoying what I write.

So now the hard part. I always have trouble with giving these to other people. Not that others aren't deserving, it's just that I don't "know" that many people well enough to give this to, but I have a few. Oh, and it doesn't help that this comes from one of my regular reads, and that Dreamybee gave one to Florinda already. I will do my best.

Karen over at Outpost Mavarin: She keeps us busy with the weekend assignments and with great pictures, and stories of her dogs. Plus, I kind of owe her something for not having sent any weekend assignment ideas yet. I will! I swear!

Mr. Unfocused at The Unfocused Life: It's been fun reading about his novel work, and general life stories. I seriously don't know how he he gets everything done.

Cookie over at Shut up and Knit. I'm am not a knitter by any stretch of the imagination, but she always has something witty to say, and drops by here often.

Oh, I would give one to DC of Green Apples & Kool Aid, but she is on a blogging hiatus. Maybe this will bring her back!

I almost forgot Carly. Actually I didn't forget, as much as I forgot to write it in here. Carly runs the Photo shoot Monday's over at Ellipsis, she took over from Karen awhile ago, and has been keeping me busy with my camera.

So, thanks again, and go check out the other people.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weekend Assignment #257: Giving It Up

Looks like Karen chose to go with a topic that Florinda suggested this week. It's very timely as we are just getting started on Lent. Time to give stuff up and show some willpower.

Weekend Assignment #257: Have you ever given up anything for Lent - and if you have, what was it? Did you make it stick for the whole forty days? (In deference to those of you who have never observed Lent at all, let's expand this to giving up anything for religious, ethical or health reasons - cigarettes, for example.)

I'll start by saying I am Lutheran. I went to Lutheran school from preschool through eighth grade and I don't remember having to give anything up. I don't know if that is something only Catholics do, or if I just blew it off all the time. Could go either way, really.

That doesn't mean I never have. About eight or nine years ago I gave up pop (soda for you people who call it that). I was drinking Sprite all the time, all day long. I mean, I was sweating lemon-lime. It was kind of cool when you think about it. So, I figured it would be a good idea to give it up. It worked out better than I though; I stopped drinking pop for good, though I would have one occasionally, with certain types of food. You cannot tell me that water tastes good with pizza. It just doesn't.

I have given up other things through the years, candy, chocolate, etc. One year recently, I gave up M&M's. It was kind of a cheat though, since I let myself have other candy. Jenn kind of gave me crap for it, as she should have.

This year I am back to giving up pop again. A different kind this time. See, a few years ago, I started drinking caffeinated pop, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, etc. I needed an extra boost sometimes whether it be from working midnights, to getting up early for the day shift, or just because we have kids that do not like to sleep in on weekends. I ended up developing a bad habit of having Dr. Pepper all the time. It never really helped anyway. Sure, I'd get the rush from it at first, but then, BAM(!) I'd crash from the sugar high. It was rough after lunch at work sometimes.

So, yes, I am giving up pop (again) for lent. Jenn isn't too happy because she thinks I'm going to be cranky, and she's probably right. But, I really don't need the extra calories. So, right now I am having some Gatorade G2. In this 20 ounce bottle, there is about one third of the calories that are in a 12 ounce can of Dr. Pepper. Don't worry, this isn't all I'm going to drink during lent. I'll mostly drink water. I was having the Gatorade for some flavor with my sandwich.

Extra Credit: Have you ever given up eating meat, either as a fast observance or as an ongoing change?

No. Again, I don't remember us doing this when I was younger. We were probably supposed to, I don't know. I don't think I could give up meat. What would I get to eat for protein, tofu? Blech.

Do you give up anything for Lent? Or, for any other reason?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Holy Grail of beers

I almost bought this. With a whole case I'd get a free gobblet. But I wimped out. I wasn't sure I'd like it. It wasn't cheap either. It is cool though. Ni!

If you only check out one photo online today...

...make it this one. Yes, that is a real person. Sure, she looks like she is made out of beef jerky, but she is real.

Make sure you listen to the podcast, too. It's pretty damn funny.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ellipsis Photo Shoot Monday #26: Hit me with your best shot

Carly wants us to get all Pat Benatar on her:

Ok, now it is your time to shine! We photographers might tackle a lot of subjects, but we all have one type of photography that is our very favorite. Landscapes, Still Life, Night photography, Portraits, Pet photography, Seascapes, Sunsets, Macro photography... it's all good. For this assignment you are welcome to look in your archives and post your best photo, or you can set the scene sometime within this week, and show off the type of photography you feel you excel at. If you do go with a shot from your archive, try to make it one you haven't posted before, I am really interested in seeing something new if possible. HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT!

I don't really know what type of photography is my favorite; I'm still kind of new to this stuff. I would like to say Landscapes, but that is only because that is the type I like to look at. We don't have many great places to take landscape shots around here.

Anyway, I don't know if this is my best shot, but I like it. I like the geometrical shape of the hotel against the clouds, for some reason.

So, there you have it. Go to Carly's site to see what others have posted.