Archive for the 'general' Category

Trains in the Distance

Every once in awhile, something happens that triggers incredible nostalgia for me. A brief whiff of a scent, a piece of music, a few words spoken and I’m transported into the past. It’s not always a particular memory, but an association with a certain place. For example, there’s a bird (a dove, I think?) that occasionally will sing in our backyard in the mornings. Whenever I hear it, I’m transported to Kenya, sitting on the porch of our safari “tent” after a morning safari adventure. I’m not sure if I ever heard a dove song (or whatever it was) in the Maasai Mara, but the sound of that bird puts me back in Africa. I love that feeling. Another happened to me this morning.

This morning while ambling about the kitchen in a trance-like state, I hear a train blowing its whistle in the distance. That’s not a particularly uncommon sound in our house, train tracks run nearby. In the still of the morning, the train was a little louder than normal. But it wasn’t the train’s whistle that transported me. No, it was what my wife did. She sang just one line, and poof, I was transported. She sang:

Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance; Everybody thinks its true

The line is from Train In The Distance, a song by Paul Simon. I just read that it’s on the Hearts and Bones album, but I know it from Negotiations and Love Songs, one of Simon’s greatest hits albums. It’s music I grew up listening to in my parents’ cars. It became a tradition to listen to that album on trips to Colorado. We might not have listened to it for an entire year, but we made sure to have it on our drive to Colorado. The early-morning wake up call in Dalhart, Texas; stumbling to the suburban so that I can steal an hour or so more of sleep; waking up and hearing Paul Simon as we approach Sierra Grande in New Mexico. To me, hearing Paul Simon means the anticipation of seeing mountains in the distance, and the excitement when they finally appear. As I’ve grown, the tradition has stayed alive. Whenever my wife and I drive to Colorado, we make sure to have that CD on hand. As we cross over into New Mexico, we pop it in. It stays in the CD player usually all the way to Colorado Springs, if we take that route. Last time we went a little different way, taking 160 from Walsenburg to Alamosa, up 17 and 285 to Buena Vista and 24 all the way to I-70 near Vail.

So when my wife sang that one line from Train in the Distance, I was immediately back on the road to Colorado. It’s always a different road, though. This time I was transported to Highway 160, about halfway between Walsenburg and Alamosa, near Mount Mestas (oddly enough, part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, featured in Simon’s Hearts and Bones, another song on the album) and Iron Mountain. It’s early fall and the aspens are turning. A backdrop of deep-green pine provides sharp contrast to the bright gold of the aspens and browns of the grass in the valley. The air is clear without a cloud in the sky and the temperature is mild; the day is perfection. I’m captured by the natural beauty of the mountains. We turn north in the San Luis Valley, with the Sangre de Cristo Range to our East. The road is flat and straight, but the views continue to captivate me. Eventually the Sawatch Range will come into view, but for today I’m content with views of Blanca Peak, Mount Lindsey, and the golden beauty of changing aspens. And Paul Simon warns us that negotiations and love songs are often mistaken for one and the same.


Amazing NASA SRB Video

This is quite possibly the coolest video I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s video NASA posted of the final shuttle launch from the perspective of the solid rocket boosters. It’s quite long, but the first five minutes are so are really worth it. Happy Friday!

The Inception Reception

This is simply the coolest wedding video ever made.

Thankful Part I

Someone posted on Facebook or Twitter recently that Thanksgiving was America’s way of celebrating gluttony and violence (my paraphrase). I found it a humorous insight, even if wholly inaccurate from my perspective. Personally, I love Thanksgiving. I love everything about it.

To me, Thanksgiving is a time for family to get together and enjoy one another’s company. It’s a time of reflection, to look back on the past year and recognize the things that we’re thankful for. It’s a time to enjoy some really excellent food and football that may or may not dazzle you. So, yes, there’s food and a little bit of violence involved; but, for me, food and football are nothing without the family that provides the flavor for those two activities. So, that’s the first thing I’m thankful for this season.

I’m thankful for my family. I’m glad that I’m part of a family that enjoys each others’ company and can stand to be in the same room as one another for longer than a couple of hours. We laugh together. We remember Thanksgivings past and the funny things that happened. We share inside jokes. We genuinely like each other. I’m thankful for this because I realize that not many families are like this. While we’re not unique, we may be in the minority. I love my parents, my brother and my sister; I love my in-laws. I think that’s probably pretty rare, and it makes for a fantastic holiday season.

Yesterday at the table I said that I was thankful that I don’t have any reading due for Monday. I said it for the laugh, but it’s true. I have my diploma. I’m thankful that I’m done with law school, I’m back under my own roof with my beautiful wife, and that reading is no longer required. I’m thankful that I passed the Bar Exam and that I don’t have to sit through another excruciating round of BarBri to prepare for that grueling affair.

I have a job, and for that I am thankful. The job hunting process was not at all what I expected. I thought I would have to pound the pavement, throwing out résumés this way and that, but none of that happened. A fantastic professor of mine sent me an email; a few phone calls and two face-to-face meetings later, I had a job. And I love it. I know that a lot of my classmates are still searching for jobs, and so I am quietly thankful for that with which I have been blessed and pray for my friends that they find the same.

There’s so much more to be thankful for, and I’ll continue tomorrow. God is good. It’s been a good year.

Consistency Fail

I said that I was going to post each day during the month of November. I have failed in that task. It appears that weekends are my undoing. Last week I was good and wrote a post for Saturday earlier in the week, which I scheduled to be published on Saturday. Then I went and didn’t post on Sunday because we were in Waco and drove back. This past weekend I didn’t post Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Not good.

It’s not a lack of ideas for posts that’s keeping me from posting, and it isn’t a lack of time, either. Heck, the weekend is when I have the most time on my hands to post. I think part of it is that I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time in front of my computer on the weekends, so I just don’t think about it.

I do need to figure out a way to capture post ideas while I’m away from my computer, though. That seems to be where the majority of my ideas hit me. Last week’s Porsche post came when I was on my way home from work; I made a voice memo to myself with a one sentence thought to jog my memory. I didn’t end up even referencing the voice memo, though, as I remembered what I wanted to post about. I do think capturing the ideas by either writing them down or making a voice memo makes a huge difference in remembering the idea, even if I don’t go back and reference what I captured. Just the capturing act itself is enough to remind me to write about it later on.

Oh well. I’m going to keep trying, because I really am enjoying writing more frequently. I’ll try and capture my thoughts more frequently so that I can share them with all four of you. I’m sure you’re all dying to know what’s rolling around in my brain.

A Porsche… Sedan?

Last Friday as I was driving home from work, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a Porsche pass by me in the left hand lane. As it passed me, I looked at it and did a double-take – the car had four doors. I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me or something. Surely Porsche isn’t leaping into the luxury Sedan market, are they?

Apparently they are. I had no idea about this, but apparently the car made its debut in 2009. To me, it looks like somone took a Porsche 911, cut it in half, and added a second row of seating and two more doors. It is a little hard for my brain to process. But then again, I still find the Porsche Cayenne tough to stomach.

What do you think?

Not Feeling It Today

I don’t feel like posting. We drove back from a great weekend in Waco (except for the game), it’s cold and raining. I don’t have a lot to say, except for this: I don’t think there’s an institution on the planet for which I have more loathing than Texas A&M.

That is all.