Friday, September 16, 2005

Self Reflection

So, lately I've been doing a bit of thinking about my life so far and I realized that I have been looking at it all wrong. When I look back at my life, it used to be pretty much a long list of pointless or temporary jobs, an education I will probably never get to use, a bunch of apartments but no actual home, and basically I always thought, "Well, it can only get better. Only way to go is up."
But this last time I looked back and decided to look at things another way. Put all my professional ambition aside and look at what is really important. I mean, I always say that money doesn't mean that much to me and that I don't have to please everyone, just please myself (thank you Rick Nelson), and my motto has always been, don't make sense, make change. Well, I realized that I wasn't looking at my life and accomplishments in that light. So I decided to take stock.
First off, I have had a pretty good life so far. Growing up, I was never in need of anything. My family was always (and still is) there during the hard times and I got through them all with a relative good outcome.
Then I was lucky enough to have the most wonderful thing come into my life: Rachel. She has always been there, good times and bad and in-between. No matter what happened or where life turned us, she was there at my side and I was a better man for having her there with me. No matter what my dreams, wants, or wishes, she was always there to support, give, or grant whatever I needed at the time. Sure it is a give and take thing, but what isn't?
I also have some really great friends right now. Some are pretty normal, some are just plain crazy (like me), and some are a mix of the two. Stark raving sane. But I couldn't ask for better. Every one of them mean so very much to me in their own way and it is a pleasure to know each of them and be part of their lives.
And now looking at my life and what is coming in the future, I feel pretty damn lucky to have gotten everything I have in life and probably wouldn't have it any other way... except maybe that I could win the lottery some time in there. Oh, and a dog. I really want a dog.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A New Post

Wow! Even with four contributors no one has had anything to say for almost two weeks. Aside from being glued to the Hurricane Katrina coverage on TV and commenting about it on Scott's blog, I've been focusing on getting ready for this past weekend, explained in the rest of the message below. I don't know if it really counts as a new post since I'm just going to copy an email I sent out instead of creating original, unique content, but here it is:

First, I survived. Second, thank you for sponsoring me.

This was my first time doing the MS150 bike tour, and it was a fun (although challenging) experience. If you don’t know, the MS stands for multiple sclerosis and the 150 is the number of miles we ride, although this year it was the MS176. They tweak the route each year and this time had a course that started at the Summit Technology Center campus in Lee’s Summit and ended at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. Ride out on Saturday and back on Sunday. They advertised it as 82 miles each way, but everyone with a cyclometer (including me) agreed that it was 88. So we ended up riding 176 miles for the weekend. For the most part—some people rode 100 miles the first day so they could get a “century” pin, some planned only to ride the first day and had transportation arranged for Saturday night, and some caught rides with the support vehicles to cut the pain short on Sunday. Leslie and I started around 7:00 a.m. and arrived around 3:30 p.m. each day, although we talked to some people who were done by noon and saw others still coming in as the sun was going down.

The support on the ride was amazing. For just over 2000 registered riders, there were around 1000 volunteers. There were people to greet us, manage traffic at every major intersection, cook, and hundreds of other tasks. They transported our luggage to Sedalia and back. I don’t think we ever went more than 10 minutes without seeing a motorcycle or support vehicle (SAG – Support And Gear) asking if we needed anything. Every 10 miles was a SAG stop with port-a-potties, semi-tankers with water, tents and mechanics from bike shops, and volunteers constantly slicing fruit, making PB&J sandwiches, and mixing Gatorade. Five meals were provided. There was a camping area, RV/camper area, dorm facilities (our option), and shuttles to hotels. There were festivities in Sedalia all evening. They did everything they could to take care of us.

Brian Busby from KMBC TV and Kelly Urich from Mix 93 radio emceed (Kelly also rode). We didn’t confirm his identity until back in Lee’s Summit, but we had lunch Saturday with Mike Hendricks from the KC Star and his wife and saw them numerous other times throughout the weekend. And we met and rode with lots of other interesting people.

All day Saturday I was wondering if this huge effort was really worth it as a fundraiser. I also had to wonder each time we tried to thank a volunteer for their support and they responded by thanking us for riding. The rally at the campgrounds answered my questions. The riders in Kansas City this year raised over $1,000,000 for the MS society. They didn’t have individual information from this year yet, but they also explained the riders with yellow numbers on their backs instead of white like the rest of us were the high fundraisers last year—one hundred and fifty some odd riders each raised over $1000—over $400,000 (52%) just by themselves. One guy brought in $55,000 alone and at least ten others were over $10,000. I decided to do this because I like to bike and it looked like a fun ride. After hearing them talk about why they raise this money, what it’s like to live with MS or love someone who does, I had a much greater appreciation for the event. Thank you for sponsoring me, because it really means something to a lot of people who are struggling with this every day. You’re helping to make a difference.

Oh, and we’re planning to do it again next year and would like to both have more company and raise more money. It’s not too early to start training and/or saving (the hotels in Sedalia are probably already booked, though).

Saturday, September 03, 2005

An Unimportant Post

I was just browsing around Amazon, vainly adding things to my wish list, when I found this. Too cool. I simply must have one. You know, for productivity.