Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back to Basics

So I went to church, and listened to a sermon about Jesus knowing how he would handle the 5,000 ravished hopefuls coming to listen to him preach but as the horde approached, he tested his apostle Phillip,.  What should we do, he asked?

Phillip bemoaned being able to feed the advancing hungry horde but Andrew said there was a boy who had 5 loaves and two fishes and that's a start.  That's Andrew's Way, that you have more than you think for starters (we know how Jesus was able to make the loaves and fish be enough for all).

Interestingly, afterwards as I walked out of the building I encountered an Eastern Orthodox woman from Russia who wanted to attend a service in the historic Falls Church.  I introduced her to the reigning priest and went home.

With all that exhausting work behind me, I settled in to watch the Olympics on TV.  Women's cycling, volleyball, swimming qualifying heats.  I could care less about that stuff, so at 11:30 am I bestirred myself, turned off the boob tube, changed and went to the curb.

There's a five-mile loop around my greater neighborhood that I used to run often, back in the olden times.  Back then I could usually break 45 minutes and I liked to get it around 42 minutes.

I started out in the noontime heat and humidity, thinking that was a good choice.  For the first mile, I went through all kinds of scenarios as to why I should make this a mile run, or a 2K run or an indeterminate run out the W&OD Trail.

I got past those negative thoughts however and my breathing regulated and got less ragged as I committed to the run.  At two miles I came upon a man standing by his fence line three feet off the sidewalk using a large watering wand to inundate his flowers.

"Hit me!" I cried out to him as I ran towards him, pointing to the copious water flow emanating from the hose nozzle.  He looked at me in confusion.

I gave him a circular motion with my hand, miming water cascading over my overheated body.  He didn't get it till I was past when he suddenly understood and held up the gushing nozzle but I was already heading away from him and not about to stop. 

At three miles I ran by the county golf course and the mini-golf range with its rushing-about children talking excitedly.  This was a hill up and this took me from the shade of the sidewalks to the sunlight of the road's shoulder. 

I was tiring by the fourth mile which I passed at 40:15.  One mile out, a large downhill in front of me fronted by and finished by a couple of short uphills, I tried to air it out a little so I could break 50 minutes.  I had to make up 15 seconds though to do this.

I turned onto my block and then sprinted the last 100 yards to stop my watch at the return to my driveway at 49:59.20 for five miles.  Yes!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Parking in Arlington

I'm having trouble with regulators these days.  Yesterday I enjoyed a lunch with a friend at a restaurant in Arlington. 

Arlington is notorious for its parking enforcement.  They make you want to never go there.

After lunch, I returned to my car and was standing there with my driver's door open, one foot inside the car, waiting for my friend to come get in.  He was lagging behind twenty feet or so on the sidewalk, coming and plainly in sight.

An Arlington Meter Maid swung by in the traffic lane on her Segway.  Vroom vroom look at me I'm an "Officer" and I'm bad.

While I stood there, standing with my car door open, one foot inside, waiting for my passenger who was in sight mere feet away and coming, she wrote out a ticket (they punch in or scan in your license plate, hit a code and out pops the ticket in seconds) and tendered it to me while I stood there, standing with my car, door open, foot inside waiting for my clearly visible passenger.

"This is my car," I said.  "And that is your ticket," she said smugly.

"I'm not parking, I'm standing," I said.  "There are no signs prohibiting standing."

"You're seven minutes over," she said sneeringly.  "$35 for seven minutes, five dollars a minute, three hundred dollars an hour to park in Arlington?" I asked while I still stood there with my driver's door open and my foot inside the car waiting for my passenger who was plainly visible a few feet away to get in the car.

"Take it up with the traffic board," she said.  "Do you know how hard it is to stand on this machine all day?"

I had no sympathy for her for her complaining, probably she should come down off her mount a little to address her prodigious frame.  She swirled around in the traffic lane on her Segway like the Lone Ranger rearing up Silver and roared off at twelve mph, swerving around the corner in search of quota fulfillment.

Welcome to Arlington, Virginia, friend.  My weekend running buddy who lives in Arlington assures me that Traffic Court in Arlington is merely Kangaroo Court where they'll just assess the printed penalty and then assess you 15% more in court costs for having the temerity to come in.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do you use a film camera?

I am one of those old-fashioned people who still uses a film camera.  You can buy great cameras with phenomenal lenses for $4.99 at the thrift stores.

Usually I just carry a disposable camera around, although this bothers some people, especially younger people.  They just get annoyed that I don't have a digital camera, and when I snap a picture, they often say, "Oh, really?"

When people snap a photo with their cell phone, no one says, "Oh, really?"  That's normal apparently.

This means I have a contract with a mail-order photo-developer.  I snap pictures and two weeks later, when the developed pictures come back in the mail, I re-live the moment all over again.

Sometimes I don't know what the picture is about or where or when it was taken.  I'm not the greatest picture-taker.

Pursuant to my mail-in account, obviously, I received by mistake somebody else's pictures last week.  Nice to know there are other film picture takers out there, although their snapshots sucked as bad as mine.

I sent the pictures to the intended recipients, without asking for reimbursement for postage or anything.  Today I received in the mail a letter from them enclosing the $2.30 postage in cash in the envelope.

My kind of people.  Linda wrote,

Dear Mr. Lamberton, Thank you so much for taking the time and and money to mail our pictures to us. We have been wondering where they got to.  Enclosed is $2.30 to pay for the shipping.  It's good to know that there are still some people out there who have time to think of others.  Again, thank you so much.  [Signature.]

No, thank you, Linda!  There are still some of us people out there.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Third time's the charm.

‎In November 2009, Brian Danza, the current president of my former running club, the DCRRC, totally disrespected a guest I had brought to a board meeting when I was president, even as Brian along with his posse of three other club IT guys, fellow twenty-somethings (one actually was barely thirty, a rogue club VP and liar who was their personal lapdog) typically and totally disrupted (nay, trashed) my board meeting.  It got so ugly that night that Brian felt compelled to call my friend (but not me) the next day to apologize.

I left the club shortly thereafter over Brian's actions, which included shutting me out of certain parts of the club's website and, in his ad hominen attacks upon me (I think it was a generational thing, or perhaps he's unbalanced, but it was certainly all-consuming on his part), unilaterally editing my president's column to the club.  The personal affronts aside, I could not enlist any board support in undertaking a review of Brian's control over and use of the club's accounts (I had heard stories of allegedly questionable conduct on his part), and since I could not therefore ensure fulfillment of my fiduciary duty as president to the club, I resigned.

Since then, Brian has run right past me and my friend, a running buddy of mine, twice on the trails, passing by within a yard of us each time and pretending not to see us, even when my friend called out a greeting to him.  I have been critical of Brian for his behavior.

Yesterday Brian ran by us again, overtaking us this time in contrast to running past us from the opposite direction, and this time he stopped briefly to say pointedly hello before going on.  My friend said later that Brian acknowledging us finally was to his credit, and that me shaking Brian's hand when he offered it was the right thing for me to do.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Band or Bracelet, or NASCAR

Is it a bracelet or a giant rubber band?  Occasionally I wear a colored rubber strip with a message around my left wrist for awhile to express myself.

The first time I wore a yellow and blood red band that said USMC in black letters, which I picked up for free at a Marine recruiting booth at a fair, when I went down the Grand Canyon on a week-long trip for my first Bucket Trip in 2008.  I never served but my father and brother did and I intended to give it to my oldest son as a memento when I returned.

Then last year around Thanksgiving I picked up a blue band for a $2 donation that said in yellow lettering Occupy, We Are The 99% when I visited the Columbus (OH) occupy camp in support of those committed young people.  That band was a great hit in Dallas where I went to work at a regional office for most of December, where my mostly conservative co-workers would point out any gathering whatsoever that we encountered, be it a union line or a health care demonstration or even a concentration of homeless people and say, "Peter, there are your friends."

I took that band off on New Year's day, figuring I'd shown sufficient support.  A few weeks ago I picked up my current bracelet for $1 in a store discount bin, a light blue band that says, NASCAR Unites 2011.  (Below: I'm on the left standing next to my running buddy John, about to go out for a run on the Mall while wearing my powder blue NASCAR band on my left wrist.)

No one who knows me can figure out why I'm wearing a NASCAR band but I tell people who ask that it's me getting in touch with my redneck side.  You know, the liberal who was a cop for nine years, the NRA opponent who keeps a weapon in the house, and besides, I've been to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Museum in Dawsonville, Georgia, which features lots of NASCAR memorabilia.

I was in a quandary when to take off my showy NASCAR bracelet but today, America's Independence day, is perfect.  An American having celebrated being a good American for weeks with a NASCAR band will retire the bauble to a drawer on July 4th.

As for the USMC band that started it all, that's in a drawer where I threw it when I returned from the Grand Canyon since I don't know where my oldest child is.  He hasn't communicated with me since 2007 (he so loves his Mother, my ex-wife who won't tell me his address or phone number, or even if he is well or not).

Hey Jimmy Rogers, contact me if you intend to use the pre-paid Virginia tuition plan I purchased for your educational benefit two decades ago because the administering board insists it's going to foreclose the plan soon and return my money to me (and require me to pay tax penalties) unless I can demonstrate to them that it will soon be used for its intended purposes.  I have protested the board's attitude to no avail, as I can advance to them no information as to why the plan should remain in place beyond its ten-year limitation, per IRS rules, aside from the divorce court decree which the board claims lacks force over them.