Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why live in Alabama?

Why would anybody live in Alabama? How do most people choose where to live? If you could live anywhere in the world for the next 30 years, where would you choose? I live in Alabama primarily because I have accepted life as presented to me as a child. A quick explanation; I was born in South Georgia to poor sharecroppers who made a bold move to "town" for a regular job. I grew up poor and did not see any of the world outside the southeast and not much outside Georgia. My parents decided for me that I would attent Alabama Christian College (now Faulkner) because it was 1) a Christian school and 2) close to Georgia. Very soon after beginning college I realized that "all the money" I had saved from my career at Reeves Construction Company (as in Dan Reeves family) over the summer would not last long. As I entertained finding a job in Montgomery, the opportunity to work part time at the USPS came along. I competed and got the job. After one year the part-time program was terminated and I was given a choice; hit the road or work full-time. I chose full-time, began working 50 hours per week while taking 19 hours at college and dating. I slept.......well, mostly in class. The job was secure, paid reasonably well, and I liked Montgomery so LaWanna and I were married and made a home here. The rest, as they say, is history. That does not mean that, as an adult, I haven't considered other places. Here is a picture of a region that pretty much speaks for itself as to why I stayed here.

Minnesota in December. That was a month ago, before it got really cold. No thanks.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Check-in, Week 4


I've lost six pounds so far in January which is not great but going the right direction. I will be at 175 before mid-year.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I can not resist posting about this discovery! Reading, evaluating, and guessing about the information provided by this service has become more fun than posting and reading blogs. It is fun to see that someone has found my blog by searching for "individuality" of "Wayne Spires" or "Roxy Wishum", then returned over and over. While I can not identify the reader, there are lots of clues and sometimes it is obvious. Other times I do not have a clue--well one clue which is just enough to keep me digging. Who do I know in Ozark, Mo.? To my Canadian reader, welcome, eh. To the Malasians who keep finding me via the dating website--give it up. I am married to a fox. O.K., send a picture and I will think about it. Just kidding, honey! It is also fun to see the trends concerning days and times when the traffic is heaviest. Some of you should be working. And one of you should have been at church. More fun will come my way as a result of this post because I am going to make up labels just to create traffic from searches. To do that I will insert sentences like these. Paris Hilton has gone wild. Britney Spears buys panties. Hiliary Clinton is a man. Barack Obama wets the bed. The war in Iraq has been won--thank you, George Bush. This is the naked truth. Man, this is going to be wild fun.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Break Time!

As I made my way through beautiful downtown Wetumpka a couple of days ago, spreading cheer from office to office, I was about to enter the office of the city attorney when someone called out "Sir, sir, excuse me!". I stopped to see a young man (mid to late 20's) and his wife (I assume) approaching me. I had already spotted them in the parking lot next door near their parked Astro van and noticed that they seemed a little out of place. Why? Well, they were young and clean-cut. They were reasonably fit looking. They just did not look like Elmorons. But they did look a little disoriented. "Excuse me" he said "Is this the Post Office building?" I had to think a moment how to answer the question. You see, the large, square, white marble building used to house the Post Office before it was outgrown and a new building was constructed on Ft. Toulouse Road near the Wal-Mart. Not only that, but the building where they were parked has carved into the stones on front "UNITED STATES POST OFFICE" and is commonly referred to as the "old post office". Since community groups often have meetings there and advertise the meeting place as "the old post office", the answer could be yes or no depending on what exactly they were looking for. When I asked questions to clarify, it became obvious they wanted the USPS, not the old building. Unfortunately, the lady they asked in the courthouse across the street did not get the clarification and had sent them to this building. Having been thus reassurred that this was the post office and with the name prominently displayed on the front of the building AND with mail collection boxes still located in the parking lot, they had set out on their quest to complete change-of-address cards to their new address in Elmore County. By the time I happened along they had tried EVERY door all the way around the building. You have to use your imagination to picture the scene; they have tried all doors and found them locked, there are NO lights on in the building, and the only car in the parking lot is the one they drove there. What do you suppose his next statement to me was? "All the doors are locked and I can't get anybody to the door. Is everybody on break?" WHAT? Is everybody on break? Man, you have been listening to too many late night comedians. Do you really think we lock the doors, turn out the lights and lay down on mats like kindergartners for a nap at 10:00? Do I look like a state employee? Do you think there is EVER a time the phone is not ringing with some idiot complaining about receiving or not receiving some piece of junk mail? Have you EVER been to ANY post office where there is not a line of impatient, uneducated people asking for a special favor from one of the two window clerks doing the work of four window clerks? Do you HONESTLY think we have a time that everybody can just lock the doors of a large facility and take a break? Then you tell me you have moved twice and would like me to tell you where your mail is? Brother, you have moved to the right place because you really are an ELMORON!

Check-in for week 3

Boy, I really hate to do this. But I said I would check in every Sunday until I reach my goal. This week I did not loose a single pound. Well, literally, I lost and gained several but the net result is the same weight as last week. All the excuses about Tammy's cherry dump cake and LaWanna's chili and schedule conflicts with running boil down to the same thing; lack of discipline. I am so ashamed. It is a good thing there was not any ice cream to go with the hot cherry dump cake or I surely would have gained weight.

I will do better. Really.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fun with Statistics

The most observant readers (you know who you are) of this blog may have noticed an addition this week. Yes, that little Go.stats counter was added a couple of days ago. I looked at some counters when I first set up my blog but decided after reading how you can start at whatever number you choose (wow, this blog has had 47,322 visitors and has only been up 6 days?) that it was mostly for show. After reading a comment on one of the blogs I visit frequently, I realized that useful data can be mined from some counters. So I signed up for the FREE version of Go.stats. Dave Ramsey would be so proud of me. Allow me to say that even the FREE version of Go.stats is VERY interesting. When I sign in, it gives a summary of hits on the blog in numerical and graph form. But it really gets interesting when plundering the detailed reports. You can see what page your reader left to arrive at your site. I was not surprised to see that the top "previous page" was Laura's blog. Thanks, Laura, for the hook-up. But was educated to see some of the sites listed as the "previous page". I knew some folks were reading and never commenting--which is fine--because sometimes a person will comment face-to-face about a post when I had no idea they even were aware that I had a blog. That occurred a couple of times after the "Echo" post because it resonated with several people. But the Go.stats data reveals some other readers I was completely unaware of previously. You can also track how many arrived at your site via a search engine, which search engine, and what the search term(s) were. That info made me aware that some of the folks that found my site by googling "Wayne Spires" are still checking in for updates. Very informative. It offers much more, for instance, the IP address of each computer from which someone has visited my site. That's riiiiight, I've got your IP address so you are not as stealthy as you thought. It is too late to log off now, I already have it. And, I am not making this up, Go.stats even provides me with data about your computer, such as monitor size and resolution settings. Yes it does! Turns out, not many with really large monitors visit my blog. You know what that means. No, me either, but it is fun and amazing data. It does make you stop and go hmmmm to think that an old guy who grew up on a dirt road could stumble on that much info, just think what a tech-savy hacker could do. Well, I have nothing to hide. So, if some hacker is looking around my computer right now, leave a comment. I already have your IP address.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sure, It's Easy for You!

Nolan Shaheed recently set the world record for men age 55-59 in the indoor mile. Now, before you tune out and discount his accomplishment as "so what? He beat some other old guys" listen to the rest of the story. His time was 4:42:89. Think about it a minute. Can you run a mile in 8 minutes? 6 minutes? I will be surprised if I have any readers of any age who can run a mile in under 5 minutes. Nolan is 57. How does he do it? Was he just born fast? Maybe, but listen to his regimen; he runs 12 miles a day, six days a week, and eats only one meal a day after he trains, fasting three to four days out of the week in the summertime. What is the result of this single-minded obsession? He weighs 127 pounds--the same as when he was in High School.

Yes, but that is probably all he does, right? Nope. Nolan is very accomplished at jazz trumpet. He has played with Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder and at one time was the lead trumpet player for the Count Basie Orchestra.

I do not know much else about him, but he makes my efforts seem pretty small. I am not going down the road he has chosen, but may take some inspiration to move in that direction just a little.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Reluctant check-in

Week 2 of Resolution #1


Change-- 0

Net change- -2 lbs.



Did well until the end of the week. Friday we used a Christmas gift card at Outback and Saturday evening we ate BUFFET at Down the Street to celebrate the retirement of a co-worker. Good times--good food--too much. Even with the diagnosis of bronchitis, though, I did run my 5 mile out-and-back on Thursday to Ft. Toulouse WITHOUT WALKING. Sometimes exercise has a delayed pay-off. I will still make the goal by the end of June.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Wayne's World Revisited

I have enjoyed the on-line conversations about Wayne's position, stance, and what happens next. I sincerely appreciate those who found my blog via internet search on this particular story and took time to comment. Your comments are always welcome, whether we agree or not and regardless of the number of words needed to express yourself. Really. Glad to hear from you. Originally, I heard of this story from Rick and Bubba. Just as I arrived at work they were beginning to explore a story someone had e-mailed to them about a guy sitting on a tower. They were very interested and Bubba astutely noted that the tower in the photo looked like a ham radio tower, which has been an issue with him and past Home Owners Associations. Unfortunately, I had to go into work before the story developed fully. When I got home I checked the Advertisers website and read the story. It looked to me like Wayne (based on the article information) was on shaky legal ground and choosing a wacky way to get his story out. Well, the method worked--at least to a point. The story did spread quickly and became fodder for water fountain conversations (sorry those of you who carry bottled water missed out).
Here are a few thoughts as I have reflected on these events in the last few days. While I do not personally know Wayne, I feel safe in saying we have both similarities and differences. I admire his dogged determination to make his point regardless of what others may think and say. I am amazed at his temerity demonstrated by staying put through two tremendous storms. I am impressed that his family has rallied to support him with physical presence at the tower and by posting information on-line. Based on the information I have (which I say again, is limited--there is much I don't know), Wayne's cause seems based on a questionable foundation. Here is where the story interfaces with the book I am currently reading (Prayer, Does it Really Make a Difference? by Phillip Yancey) and the thoughts spurred by that book. Yancey refers to incidents of Abraham, David, Moses, Job, and even Jesus praying in a way that seems like negotiating with God. There are lots of examples but the one that stands out in my mind now is Abraham asking God to spare Soddom and Gomorrah. He starts with a high number of righteous for whom God would spare the cities, then when God agrees he pushes the envelope and offers a smaller number until he gets down to 10. For 10 righeous souls the cities will be spared--agreed. We now know of course what God knew then, that there not 10 righteous folks in all of the two cities. What stands out is Abraham kept asking for more and God kept agreeing. In fact Abraham never reached a number where God said "No, you are asking too much". What if Abraham had asked God to spare the cities for 2 righteous souls? We can speculate but never know because he did not ask. What strikes me is how often I fail to ask. Not just of God but also of others. The idea of meekly and humbly accepting life as it comes to you is a strong "life commandment" from my upbringing that asking for a lot seems........wrong. Yet, God wants to give. Friends and family want to give, up to a point. So, somewhere past the mid-point of my life I still have to weigh whether to risk being the pesky person who always wants his way against waiting to be asked for my opinion or preference while watching the acceptance of an inferior choice because someone had the "temerity" to ask. And ask again. I am still thinking about it. But win, loose, or draw I respect Wayne's toughness.

Monday, January 08, 2007

National Champions

Hey, Ohio State, welcome to the SEC! Teams like Ohio State, USC, and Texas would NEVER go undefeated for 19 games in the SEC. Say what you like, 41 to 14 is a whuppin!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Excuse Me

Hey, you up there in the SUV. Yes, you, lady. What are you doing? It is 6:30 a.m. and people are on their way to work. Sometimes we like to swing through the drive-through for a Hardees biscuit and cup of coffee TO GO. TO GO is the operative term. Now, there are no posted rules and anybody can use the drive-through window. Certainly, I am not in charge and can not kick you out of line. But if you would take a moment to observe--or just stop and think of somebody besides yourself--it would surely occur to you that this is not the best way to 1) place 13 individual orders for everybody in the office (make that steak biscuit dark and not too much bacon in the low-carb bowl) 2) pay with a debit/credit card that requires passing the card through the window to be swiped, receiving the clipboard to sign the receipt, waiting til the overworked woman returns to the window to ask for a pen, passing the clipboard back, receiving the card back--while making sure to raise and lower the SUV window between each transaction because it is a frigid 67 degrees 3) individually open and inspect each order to be sure it is correct 4) place the receipt carefully in your purse so you can spend another 30 minutes at work settling the tab 5) find Rick and Bubba on the radio before pulling halfway out of the drive lane. If you KNOW your order is going to take 17 minutes, PLEASE park and walk inside rather than hold up the 11 pickup trucks holding blue-collar guys who just want a quick cup of coffee and a biscuit. We could ALL go through the drive-through while your order is compiled. And by the way, your friends will not tell you, but if you park down in the corner of the parking lot and walk in, maybe your butt wouldn't be that big. If that is just too much, maybe you could hang a sign on the speaker saying "Insensitive jerk in line--prepare to wait" and the other 11 of us would gladly park and go inside. If it helps, the spicy chicken biscuit and senior coffee is $1.63 including tax so you can have the exact change ready. Done right, it takes about 35 seconds.

Weighing in

I promised to follow up on my public resolution by weighing in each Sunday until my goal is reached. Here is week #1.

Weight-- 200

Change-- Lost 2 lbs

Exercise --"B"

Diet-- "D"

Summary; Bad news--only lost 2 pounds
Good news--really only a half week because I considered the first few days
holiday time and frankly was lazy until Wednesday--Yeah, bowl games!
Good news--even at only 2 pounds per week, I could arrive ahead of schedule.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wayne's World

This gentleman is Wayne. Wayne Spires lives in Wallsboro. He is 61 and has been sitting in a chair tied to a 68 foot ham radio antenna for 4 days. He says he is not coming down until he gets his way. Rick and Bubba are reporting on their morning radio show that Wayne is from Wetumpka and Montgomery folks would probably say the same. But in Elmore County, Wallsboro is a separate community from Wetumpka. This distinction is important because Wallsboro is unincorporated. That means that if the residents of River Falls, where Wayne lives, wants to pave the roads in the neighborhood they have to pay for it directly rather than via taxes. Now, the reality is that this method is cheaper than paying property taxes over several decades but can mean a lot of money all at once. It turns out that River Falls has a neighborhood association. There are different versions of the agreements reached by the residents of River Falls related to....well, everything. Homeowner's associations provide plenty for us to debate. Should you be able to change the oil in YOUR car in YOUR driveway? Should your neighbor be allowed to have 23 Rottweilers? On and on we could go. It boils down to how much will you pay in dues and how many property rights are you willing to forgo in order to protect your property values. Beyond the debate over homeowner's associations, Wayne's stance (so to speak) brings up other questions. Mainly, is sitting on a radio tower a logical way to resolve differences of opinion? Sure, Wayne will get lots of attention and if he stays up there tonight during the thunderstorms the debate may well be over tomorrow. The publicity will, no doubt, reflect badly on the neighborhood and the association. Some of Wayne's neighbors resent being forced to fork out $1500 to pay a share of paving the roads and they support his protest effort. No doubt others are embarrassed and will avoid Wayne for years to come. Since he has already lost a court case on the issue, the outcome is unlikely to change. But he sure has a determined look.... and lots of gear.