Finally…

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me that March Madness doesn’t garner much more from me than the occasional “uh huh” when someone tries to bring it up in conversation. I know approximately as much about basketball as I know about partial physics. Actually that’s not true, I read a book about noteable physicists once, which I can’t say for basketball players. So it’s possible there is no topic I know less about than the fine points of college basketball. But still here I sit with the semi-finals playing in the living room.

Sigh. The trials and tribulations of being a semi-good son.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Team Building Activities. It’s pretty rare that I run into a topic on which I can’t speak with at least some degree of confidence. I discovered this week while developing and delivering a group presentation titled “How to Change a Diaper” that almost anything related to the care and maintenance of a human baby is apparently one of those topical areas with which I am completely unacquainted. I’m happy to give the presentation, but ecstatic to leave the details and task execution to others. In this case, ignorance truly is bliss.

2. Sleep. Yes, I know this is one that crops up from time to time, but it’s been worse this week than most. In your standard day, you only get 24 hours and to be frank, I’m not willing to give up any more than 1/4 of it on just laying around essentially unconscious. It’s not that I’m exceptionally busy or feel that anything I’m doing is especially important, just that I think there are better ways to spend the day that being quietly tucked into a warm bed. Lately, though, the standard six hours hasn’t really felt like enough. I probably just need to find a way to crank more caffeine into the system to overcome the increased coefficient of drag.

3. The media. Again. For the last week or so, they’ve been filling the television set with the story of an overzealous and potentially crazy neighborhood watch captain gunning down an innocent kid on his way home from the corner store. Other outlets are screaming that the kid wasn’t as innocent as we’re being lead to believe. Either way, it makes a good story and a nifty bit of narrative for the media to run with. What none of the stories do, though, is tell me exactly what happened. Personally, I’m reserving judgement until more than speculation is known. We were once a nation of laws rather than a media drive lynch mob. It’s a pity that’s not still the case.

A modest proposal…

Friends,

I realize that some of you do not to purchase lottery tickets or engage in gambling activities because of your religious convictions. I absolutely respect and support your decision. In light of tomorrow’s $540 million Mega Millions jackpot, I have come up with an idea that will help all of us. I’ve already bought my tickets for the drawing so don’t worry, that sin is all on me. I’ll do my best to account for it when my turn comes to meet my maker. In the meantime, what I need from you, my friends, is just a little prayer that my numbers match up with the drawing on Friday night. No fuss, no muss, just a kind word from your lips to God’s ear.

If I can count on your help in bringing this bounty home and sharing it with your favorite charities, just mention me and the Jeffrey D. Tharp Charitable Trust to the deity of your choice tonight… and maybe again in the morning… and possibly for a third time after dinner tomorrow night. When my six numbers match and just as soon as I can get the Jeffrey D. Tharp Charitable Trust up and running, I’ll be happy to make out a sizable check in your name to the charity of your choice just as my little way of saying thank you for keeping me in your prayers tonight.

Don’t forget to click “like” so I know I have your support (and I can figure out where to send the checks!).

Warm Regards,

Jeff

Style and comfort…

In the few brief decades I’ve considered myself a traveler, I’ve come to loath almost everything associated with getting from Point A to Point B. The one grand exception is when I get to drive to wherever I’m going. I still love going, but I really, really wish there were better options when it comes to getting there from here.

Since age 18, my ire is almost exclusively reserved for airlines and the whole air travel experience in general. Today, though I’m reminded that there is one mode even more evil than your standard issue economy flight… That would be the bus. If airlines have become the busses of the air, I suppose busses have become, well, nothing really. They’re still loud, slow, uncomfortable, and leave you feeling vaguely grimy at the end of the trip. At least that part has stayed consistent down through the years.

Whoever it was that said “getting there is half the fun” must have been functionally retarded. Being there can absolutely be both fun and educational. Getting there, on the other hand, has all the style and comfort of dead moose. Let’s just say for the record that I’m happy to be in the last 90 minutes of this trip. I’m looking forward to unfolding myself from this seat, getting back in the truck, and then backtracking 40 minutes to get to the house.

The joys of home ownership…

Like pretty much everyone who purchased a house before 2007, I’m still trying to make my peace with the fact that my one time castle is worth about what it would have been had I bought it in 2002. It doesn’t quite make me want to jump off a bridge, but it does cry out for me to bash my head repeatedly against a blunt surface. I never expected my house to make me rich, but I had hoped it would, at least, have the decency not to make me poor. Since I had the foresight to buy just at the peak of the market, I’m doing my best to make peace with probably always having a house in Memphis… Unless it burns to the ground or otherwise gets smited by the finger of an angry God, the chances of being able to sell the place and just break even anytime in the next two decades would appear to be running somewhere between slim and none. That’s an obnoxious reality that I’m doing my best to ignore for the time being.

We’re a nation of 300 million souls and growing. They all have to live somewhere right? Surely at some point someone will be interested enough in a nice three bedroom, two bath house in Memphis to not make me feel like the prettiest guy in the prison shower when we get to the closing table.

Glass: The Danger in our Midst

There is a grave danger to every man, woman, child, and distracted bird in this country now hidden in our midst. Multi-billion dollar corporations are allowed to build 15,000 square foot retail stores in areas commonly used by people for shopping. Then these companies then have the audacity to clad their storefronts with newfangled see-through glass doors and walls. These fancy glass doors represent a clear and present danger to any and all who seek to do commerce with those businesses and I say they must be stopped. How dare these companies use glass to allow passersby to see into their stores and allow their stores to be take advantage of natural ambient lighting. It’s too much! Too much, I say!

83-year olds like Evelyn Paswall and all our fellow citizens must be protected from the continued use of glass in construction around the country, because our corporations are patently “negligent … in allowing a clear, see-through glass wall and/or door to exist without proper warning.” We as a species have only been aware of glass for five millennia, clearly not a sufficient time for all of us to learn about the hazards of walking headlong into this dangerous substance as we go about our daily business in our homes and places of employment.

The courts must provide an immediate remedy for the egregious use of such a dangerous product, because clearly human beings have not been graced with the common sense that God gave the average house cat.

While this case is winding its way through the courts, I’ll be stockpiling supplies for my bunker… because civilization is obviously doomed.

Feelings…

Sometimes it feels like I can’t get the words down on the page fast enough. This isn’t one of those times. Every word this week has been a struggle. Somewhere between the brain and keyboard most of them seem to get lost. Most of the “how to be a better writer books” tell you that you just have to push through these times and keep doing it. I take the more pragmatic approach. If my inner muse isn’t being very helpful, I just do something else until an idea jumps out at me. That might not be the professional writer’s approach to getting the job done, but conveniently I have the excuse of not being a professional writer. It also has the benefit of letting me sneak away to do things like laundry and mowing the lawn without feeling guilty about not hitting mu daily word count. Maybe it’s not the best approach, but it seems to work for me at the moment.

On an average week, I try to write at least 7000 words with an outside goal of 10,000. The blog here usually accounts for 1500 of those words. The rest go towards different book ideas and occasional contributions to other blogs. I’ve cracked 7000 a few times, but I’ve never come close to besting 10,000 words in a week. Maybe if I got really focused, didn’t go to work, and spent a week doing nothing but having good ideas, I’d hit the target. In a world that wants me to keep doing those other things, though, I suppose I’ll just have to leave it as a goal.

What was the point of all this? Well, with only 2500 words under my belt for this week, I’m feeling a little less than productive. Maybe a nice rainy weekend will be just what I need to kick the writing bug back into gear. It’s either that or lose an entire weekend to Call of Duty. Sigh. This is one of those times when being easily distracted sucks.