Even a dedicated blogger needs a break now and then, so I’m off to Vegas for a long weekend. Talk to y’all from Sin City. Maybe.
So anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last six months has either watched the increasing cost of gas or at least seen it’s continuing coverage as a “news” event. The minute-by-minute tracking of the price of gas is about as useful to most people as the minute-by-minute stock ticker. It’s kind of interesting to know, but there’s not much that you can do about it.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have noticed one interesting thing, though: My afternoon commute, once a spot on 40-minute trip is now down to a svelte 34-minutes from door to door. Though not scientific in any way, I’m taking this to mean that at least in my little part of the world, the afternoon “rush” (such that it is in West Tennessee) is not quite as busy as it was a few short months ago.
Could it be that there are actually fewer cars on the road? Just released Federal Highway Administration data shows a decrease if almost 10 billion miles driven in May, so maybe this is the beginning of a trend. For those of you thinking this is the beginning of my new life as a tree-hugging, sandal-wearing, granola-eating hippy, fear not… As far as I’m concerned, this is great news because it means more room on the highway for me, less time committed to the daily drive, and gas that’s down a few pennies from it’s highs at the pump. It’s the law of unintended consequences at work and the reason I don’t bitch too much when the price of gas goes up a bit.
Congress has an approval rating of 9% and yet somehow something on the order of 95% of individual Members of Congress will be reelected when they run. If there was ever a better case of the people getting the government they deserve, I don’t know what it would be. We have term limits in this country. They’re called elections. If we’re too lazy to throw the bastards out every two, four, or six years, then honest to God, I don’t know what we’re doing here.
OK, so it seems that the most likely culprit that sent me to the oral surgeon on Tuesday is some kind of infection. At least that’s the early diagnosis. The authoritative word will come back from the biopsy that he sliced out of the roof of my mouth… Yeah, and incidentally, if anyone every wants to take a hunk out of the roof of your mouth, I highly recommend looking for an alternative course of action.
I stumbled into a five sided conversation about baseball this morning and realized very early into it that the best thing I could do was keep my mouth shut, nod at appropriate intervals, and try to escape without being cornered for an actual opinion. I know that sports are what men talk about when they are in a group, but outside of the basic rules, I don’t know a damned thing about them. I don’t know who’s leading the National League or what teams are likely to be in the playoffs.
What’s more, I don’t really care about knowing these things, either. I’ve tried to pay attention, mainly because I like to have something to add to polite conversations, but God, do I find it all so dull. I can talk at length on topics from Ancient Greece, to politics, to pop culture but when it comes to sports, I’m a babe in the wood. It’s not so much that I don’t like sports as much as I just don’t care about them.
Yeah, I just admitted it on the internet. Hopefully they don’t come pull my credentials as a guy.
It’s official. Vegas 2008 is on the calendar. Tickets are in hand. The hotel is booked. Time off has been approved. And I’ve once again prevailed upon one of my favorite travel companions to tag along with me. I mean, really, what better vacation can you think of than gambling, free booze, and a good looking broad? Life, my friends, is very, very good.
So, at a few days shy of 5 months old, Winston is at that pesky age where he’s gotten fairly consistent at not peeing on the floor in the kitchen, but not quite as reliable anywhere else in the house. One of the delicate balancing acts I’ve had to learn is that between trying to have quality time with the pup, but still actually getting things done when I can’t keep him in direct line of site. I still don’t feel like I’ve struck much of a balance on that note. So, I either feel guilty of keeping the little fuzzy bastard in his exercise pen in the kitchen or feel guilty because I’m not getting something done around the house… like keeping up with blogging or actually cleaning the bathrooms.
I guess I’m always a bit concerned that I’m just not doing it right… Of course I know I’m probably just suffering from a serious case of paranoia. At the end of the day he’s getting quality food and lots of attention, first class medical care, and doesn’t belong to Mike Vick… so I guess I’ll just have to count on the resilient ability of dogs to adapt to their circumstances.
For the last week or so, I’ve had this feeling that something is not quite right and this afternoon I think I finally figured out what it was. Over the last year or so, my average daily email intake was probably upwards of 100 a day… Now that I’ve moved over to a job that deals mainly with issues inside the organization, I’m down to maybe a dozen (that aren’t just cc’d to me for some reason). Today, I had two… that’s right, two emails. I think the strange feeling I’ve been having is my mind trying to figure out what to do with three hours of extra time during the day that use to be occupied by answering email. For some reason I’m sure something will crop up to fill the void.
So, I’ve discovered that without the pain in the ass that was my old job, I really have very little to complain about. Sure, that’s good for me, but it’s completely fouling up my ability to post a blog on a semi-regular basis. I guess some people write about their day to day interactions with people out in the world, but we all know how much I hate being out in the world and being forced to interact with the populace, so that’s not exactly fertile ground for me. You might ask what I’ve been up to now that I don’t spend hours seething about the blundering incompetence at work. I’ve rediscovered actually reading books, which is something I still don’t get to do enough of. I’ve managed to spend a little more quality time killing zombies, so that’s good. Even Winston benefits as I have more time to roll around on the floor with him. Of course all of that makes for perfectly bland blogging, so I’ve spared you the details.
At the instigation of one of my oldest and dearest friends, I’ve even taken my first tentative steps into the world of Facebook. Thanks a lot, Sandi… Another social networking addiction is just what I need. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to be as labor intensive as MySpace, so hopefully it won’t be too distracting. It also currently has the benefit of not being blocked by our network administrators… yet. So, if you’re on Facebook, look me up.
It’s hard to come up with a new 4th of July blog that doesn’t repeat the same things I have said year after year. I’m not going to go on about the laurels due the giants of the American founding and I’m not going to rail against the useless hippy bastards that want desperately to think the world is a place of sunshine and puppy dogs rather than the dangerous place it is. All I can really say is that today is the Independence Day, the High Holiday for those of us who pray at the altar of republicanism (that’s a small ‘r’ in case you missed it).
Even I’m not arrogant enough to proclaim that the United States infallible in our actions, but I will argue vehemently that we have done the best we could with the world we inherited from the failing empires of Western Europe. In good times and in bad times, I remain unashamed to say before you and before the world that I love my country. For me it has been a land of opportunity that has given far more than I had any right to hope for while demanding so little in return. I know I’m biased, but I don’t shrink from saying that taking all things as a whole, my country is the greatest on earth, not necessarily because of the global reach of our military or our role in global trade, but because of the nearly unlimited opportunities available to this son of a cop and a teacher. I couldn’t possibly ask for more than the chances I’ve been given… and for those yet to come.