Sep 15

When the blacktop sings to you

And, now, scenes from an all-important, utterly inconsequential and I hope never elusive 20-mile bike ride.

I have some history on this road, I realized, as I pedaled down it today. And not just because I’ve made tiny circles with my feet on it before. I’ve raced on it. I have friends that grew up on this road. I re-learned to run on the path that meanders alongside it. I’ve been caught in the rain on this road and failed to outrun hail on this road. I have history on that little ribbon of asphalt, pretty neat.


To be sure, I do spend a lot of my time on this road with this view:


On a different road. Same ride, different light:


What was going on on the other side of the camera at that same moment:


And now, for two podcasts. If you like Arkansas:

And if you prefer your football to be full of Gator bites:

Some other stuff here and there. Mostly, though, that road, and this weekend.

Sep 15

The new scoreboard

Everyone seems to have opinions about this, and they seem to vary widely.


I think an excellent promotion would be to superimpose an old version of the scoreboard on the screen every week. The previous scoreboard is supered here, supposedly at a 1:1 ratio. Of course, the one on display would get smaller and more basic each week. We’d see more sky and moving clouds behind it. And, after a few more weeks, there wouldn’t even be a screen to look to, just an actual scoreboard.

Crowd watching on the screen is going to be a lot of fun and the production team does a nice job of hustling around and showing all sorts of people. It’s pretty amusing, if there’s no football on at the moment. Not that you really need the screen to see football. But it is big.

Sep 15

The paper, a panorama, a pared piece of perspiration

I forgot to include this the other day. I took this picture during my Monday ride, when I was happily headed up the wrong road to somewhere I hadn’t intended to visit. Every now and then I find some place where the topography and the surroundings can trick you, offering this weird feeling that you’re on the top of the world.

This was one of those place. I figured a panorama would be an appropriate way to try to capture a small bit of the feeling.


Click to embiggen, and then add this sensation to the list of things a simple photograph can’t convey. And let us also acknowledge how weird that entire premise is considering you’re at about 700 feet above sea level if you’re standing on that road side. Weird, I know, but it happens.


This is a first issue and, as first issues go it is pretty nice. We had our weekly critique meeting this evening and if this is their starting point, I told them that I think they’ll be pleased with where they wind up this year.

It stormed here again today, a big, loud, angry, demonstrative thing. I wanted to go have a big run, but the lightning was in the way. So I went to the gym, where there is an elevated indoor track. Only the football team had taken over that gym because of the storm. Some of their gyms were using part of the track. So I sat and watched them for a while.

There’s only so much you can do in terms of football practice on a basketball court, it turns out. But the coaches kept their spirits high and the players focused and they had some walk throughs and practiced some specific scenarios that they expect to encounter down the line. At the end of it all they huddled together and the head coach, Chris Hatcher, told the team how many lightning strikes were in the area. I’d like to look up that National Weather Service number for myself.

Then I ran two miles, thinking this part of life has gotten a little odd. “Two miles is a disappointment. Oh well, make up for it tomorrow.” And then realize, I’m looking forward to that.

I do not know what is happening.

Sep 15

Very quickly

Because this is the Friday before a three-day weekend. We’re not going to bog down such a thing like a three-day weekend with needless detail. So two quick things, and then off you go.

First, Samford opened their 2015 football season last night and debuted the Chris Hatcher era. The new coach had a big success. Here’s a video package the athletics department put together.

Not a bad start to their campaign.

My colleague Clay Carey and I recorded this podcast this morning. It is a good one, where Carey talks about two related stories from The Washington Post featuring small towns, data journalism and the importance of the in-person experience of journalism.

I’m going to make him a regular guest, I think.

Now, let’s all go have a great weekend.

Sep 15

Two podcasts and a breakthrough two years coming

Here’s a podcast I did with my old friend Chadd Scott earlier this week. He’s launching tonight, a site that will cover SEC football like crazy, and he’s asked me to take part. I’m honored. So I’ll be writing occasionally and podcasting regularly, I hope. Here’s our first one, where Chadd previews the Auburn football season:

He’s pretty sold on them. I have some reservations.

If football isn’t your thing, then this podcast that I recorded today with journalist Andre Natta might be more your style. He tells us about a proposal in Denver that will help ease college debts:

Don’t play both of those at once. The awesome noise might be too much for your computer’s sound card.

I created both of the songs in the podcasts, by the way. That leaves me only 48 steps removed from being a true renaissance man.

Also, tonight, I swam 2,700 yards and then got in a nice, easy four-mile run. My last mile was in 8:05. That’s not fast, but fairly respectable for me, I suppose. But, again, I did it after my biggest swim ever and a four mile run. Plus I took 21 seconds off of my last mile yesterday, making this my favorite new game.

Most importantly, in my last few swims it feels like that’s just starting to click, finally. Finally.