Saturday, January 23, 2010

#2

I used to be a rock climber.

I think at this point in my life I'm pretty secure in using the words "used to." I'm too fat and out of practice to ever go back to that life again. Maybe.

I've climbed Devil's Tower, in the Needles/Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, in Yosemite, in Colorado, and in bunches of gorges and crags here in the east.

Some of my favorite memories are of sun warmed granite, bloody knuckles, trusted partners, and near-paralyzing fear.

While talking about those days sometimes make me feel like the middle-aged washed up high school football player re-living his glory days long past his prime, one thing remains for me: Even if I never make it back there, I've done those things. Nothing can take that away.

Friday, January 22, 2010

#3

I'm a perpetual student, but I like it that way. I go to school for a few years, then take a few years off. I would, perhaps prefer a few less "off" years. Academics keeps the mind exercised and sharp. If I don't keep myself challenged intellectually, I end up with a lazy, slow brain.

And then I stop blogging. And no one wants that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

#4

I detest laziness in others and in myself.

That said, I'm probably one of the laziest people I know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#5

I quite like beer.

Funny, I was never a drinker in my early years. I honestly didn't even have my first beer until I was well into my 21st year of life. Heineken at Applebees in Trotwood.

Beer is good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

#6

"I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." ~Charles de Gaulle


As I go through life, I've decided that one of my most solemn responsibilities is to make sure that my children and grandchildren enjoy the same liberties, rights, and opportunity that I have. I've determined for myself that providing a good education for my children is one way to accomplish this, and the other is to do everything I can to keep the country and my community moving in the direction I believe it should be going.

I threw myself into politics for the first time in 1996, and every election cycle since then I've found myself increasingly involved. I have no plans to be a candidate for anything; I've already seen my name on a ballot so there's no real novelty there anymore.

I prefer to continue to be the smoky-back-room and secret mission sort of guy, and I just look forward to the day when Keith and I can share that Georgetown apartment: Keith as Mike's driver and me as... umm, I don't know... "Minister of General Mayhem?"

Monday, January 18, 2010

#7

On November 1 1987 I got to meet Bono behind the Hoosier Dome before the Rattle & Hum concert. He's a short bloke. I've never written about this one before, so it'll be a bit longer than my other items:

Landon and I had gone to the concert, and decided to get there about 9 hours early, for no particular reason. As we walked around the outside of the massive Hoosier Dome, we found the garage entrance where the limos would undoubtedly arrive, and noted that there were people hanging around. We saw a few folks we knew, so we decided to hang out a while and see what was up. The crowd grew to probably fifty or so people, and eventually, the limos came whipping around the corner and into the garage. Girls screamed, people waved and yelled, then the garage door closed and more than half the people left.

With nothing else to do, we hung out back there a bit longer, talking to other U2 fans we had met. More people left, and it started to drizzle. Even more people left, talking about walking across the street to get some dinner before the show started. Broke-ass poor, Landon and I didn't have any money for dinner, so we decided to hang a bit longer. Just as the six or eight of us who were left were deciding it might be time to go find our seats and started walking away, a door cracked open and a crew member of some sort yelled for us to wait. I figured we were in trouble.

He called us over to the door and said, "You guys have been standing out here all day and Bono wants to come out and meet you." Turning very serious, he added, "Any yelling, any grabbing, anything stupid and we take him back inside and it's all over."

I remember looking at the girls that were in our little group and telling Landon, "If one of them screams, I'm going to punch her in the mouth..."

None of them did, and the next thing I knew, one of my biggest heroes walked through the door, right up to me, stuck his hand out, and said, "My name's Bono, what's your name?" Bono then stood around, signed autographs, and talked to us all for a good fifteen or twenty minutes. I didn't have anything on me for Bono to sign, so he drew a picture of the Edge on my Joshua Tree shirt, which he also made sure to laughingly point out wasn't officially licensed merchandise! (Ooops.)

Considering the wave he and the band were riding in 1987, I found him to be genuine, humble, soft spoken, and quite convivial. I'm not sure if I more enjoyed meeting Bono, or being punched by President Bush.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

#8

I am equally happy alone, or in the company of my family or friends.

While I absolutely enjoy the time I spend with friends or family, I also very rarely find myself "lonely" when I'm alone. I have absolutely no problem sitting at a bar or a restaurant alone; although if I find myself alone, a friend who walks in is almost universally welcomed at my table or next to me at the bar, because my favorite memories always feature people I love.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

#9

Montani semper liberi!

Every couple of years, the mountains call me. Actually, they call me quite a bit more often, but the constraints of time and money require me to silence their beckoning until it becomes so loud I can no longer ignore it... this happens about once every couple years.

Few things a man can do can put life into perspective like strapping a pack on his back and charging out into the wilderness alone or with a couple of friends. I'm blessed that my wife tolerates these excursions, most likely because she knows what an intolerable bastard I would be if I weren't able to recharge myself in the mountains every now and then.

This last summer I was fortunate enough to be able to take my sons with me for their first "big" trip... nine days in Colorado. The feeling of setting up our high camp around 11,400 feet or so, at the very top of a beautiful mountain basin, and being able to share my love for the wilderness with my boys is something I'll never forget. No matter how special the mountains were to me before, their value to me increased tenfold upon watching my sons learn to love the high places the way I do.

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." - John Muir

Friday, January 15, 2010

#10

In 2006 I fell off a cliff while trying to rappel, something I had done hundreds of times before. (err... the rappelling, not the falling.) It was caused by a foolish mistake on my part, and it hurt really really bad, but for some reason, Mike and I were laughing about it within minutes of me being able to speak and breath (albeit quite weakly and shallowly) again.

I won't re-hash all the details, but at the time I made some notes here on Blootered.

As souvenirs, I still have a sketchy ankle and some really pretty scars on the palm of my right hand.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

#11

I'm severely addicted to my iPhone.

Several years ago, I never thought I'd be one of those "gadget-addicted" freaks. I even remember when Mike & I worked together back in 2000 and he got his first Palm Pilot. I looked over at him with scorn on my face and in my voice and said, "Oh, so you're going to be one of those pretentious assholes in the checkout lane at the grocery store who's screwing around with his palm pilot?"

within a couple weeks of watching Mike use his Palm, my disdain had turned to jealousy and I went out and one-upped him by getting the latest gadget, the Handspring Visor.

Mike's usually ahead of the gadget-race, although I enjoy the occasional brief moment in the lead. I got my iPhone first, but he got a 3g iPhone. I briefly pulled ahead with an iPhone 3gS until I dropped it in a toilet. Now we're neck-in-neck with matching 3g's.

I will eventually win; however, when I become the first to integrate a neural network right into the base of my skull and become the first cyborg in our little group of drinking buddies.

That's my plan, anyway.