Jan 16

Running in the dark

This place is a big circle, and off that circle is a running path and it was a nice, warm day so I jogged three miles in the twilight.

I was thinking, as I shuffled and panted, that sometimes you know when big things are happening. And sometimes you don’t know. And I found myself, right about here, wondering why that is. How do you sometimes know, and other times life springs that sort of thing upon you?

I was trying to come up with a good hill metaphor, but I always get breathless on the hills. That never surprises me.

Dec 15

Doughnuts in the parking lot

Leaving campus at 8 p.m. on the last day of finals may be as close as I’ll ever get to a last guy in the world scenario.

This parking lot is *always* full.

Now? After an afternoon and evening of recruiting phone calls to high school students, just like everyday this week …

Just me. Everyone, everyone is long gone. Most for the term.

But this is work that simply must be done from the office these days. And when I took this, of course, I still had some driving to do.

But, hey, I got in a five-mile run this morning, so there’s that.

Dec 15

The case of the disappearing wagon wheel

More phone calls tonight. Hundreds of phone calls. Repetitive phone calls. Lots of lovely voice mails, and plenty of messages to people I called last week and three weeks ago. I am a phone calling machine. I can say a lot of things in 45 seconds, and I thank my years in broadcasting for that. But, otherwise, this is my role in things at the moment. It is a terribly exciting moment, let me just say.

You know who else has it this good? The boys and girls who get to product test all of these toys. People that have it not-so-good are the staffers who have to create these boxes after a weekend course in Photoshop. Which brings us to the final two box covers I wanted to show you this week. Six, I thought, were worth sharing. But I shot others earlier this week at Walmart, as well. I noticed a common theme. All of the models are white.

Anachronism! These two types of blades never met in battle.

Well … before Highlander, that is. Look, this is a great toy for active young children, but buy them face guards. And remove your lamps. And if you read the fine print you find that the foam sharpening stone is sold separately.

Listen for key phrases when the kids are playing. “There can be only one,” is OK. Seppuku or harakiri, if uttered, would probably signal a great opportunity to swoop in for a teaching moment.

And, while they are distracted, remove the swords.

I bet you had one of these. Or you had access to it. I had one. Held onto it for years.

Plastic. Two actual seats. Cup holders. Seatbelts. Radio Flyer has made some upgrades. Well, except for the plastic.

Dec 15

Adventures in packaging

We raced. This is my bib number from this past weekend.

I’ve built up quite the collection of these recently. Now I have to figure out something to do with them. I’m thinking of framing them and hanging them up. Why not?

Anyway, that was a number from a fundraising run from the nearby elementary school. We run the route from time to time and we were here and so we ran it on Sunday afternoon. The aunt and uncle of a friend of ours are in town and when the uncle found out about the run he decided he’d go to. So The Yankee ran the 5K and the retiree and I ran the 10K. He did it in blue jeans. I finished second in my age group.

It wasn’t a large group.

Anyway, despite the term being over it is back to work. I am making hundreds of phone calls to high school students this week. Do you know when you call high school students? At night, of course. And I am calling them from the office, because that’s what I was told to do. Because you need to be an office to use a phone and make calls you’ve been making for years. Something you volunteered for once that has become a part of your yearly efforts.

More fun than all of that, I went shopping and was picking up Christmas toys. And saw these …

Dad was happy he found something to bond over with Billy. Until the next arrow, when things took a turn for the worse. Arrows don’t turn, Dad knows, but after some doing, he managed to convince the investigators.

“What’s that? My cocktail is ready? Excellent!”

Tomorrow, she’d pour herself a double.

Packaging is a lot of fun this year. I’ll share some more pictures throughout the week.

Dec 15

Wrapping it up

At 6 p.m. on a Friday, the last day of the term, I finally shut down the office. I finally get to drive home. On long days at the end of long weeks like this you return to the motivational messages of the cough drops:

But the semester is over. Time for a break. I don’t mind at all. I will miss these things. Their builders live just outside my office. And when the weather is right they do put on a fine show.

Come back next week for more pictures of … something. Have a great weekend!