Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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The World
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Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Friday, October 12, 2001
What would you attempt to do if you could not fail?

Coach Bruce Arena asked this question to the U.S. Men's National soccer team before their must-win match against Jamaica. Yes, they won 2-1, with Joe-Max Moore (formerly of the New England Revolution) scoring both goals.

What would you attempt to do if you could not fail?

Since I've read this qusetion, my mind's been clamoring for an answer. I don't have one yet; could there even be one definitive answer? Such a compelling question!

Coach Arena used this question to excite and motivate his team. "What would you attempt to do if you could not fail?" Fantastic motivator. Superb response.

Thursday, October 11, 2001
I've been tracking the gas mileage of my car. Such a simple thing really. My Dad used to have a little notebook where he entered the odometer reading, and the gas that he purchased. I picked up the habit, but never did anything with the data since it was on paper. (I often wonder if Dad did anything with his data.)

So now I have an Excel spreadsheet which calculates days and mileage between fill-ups (it's at 27MPG). In addition, it records which gas station I used, and how much I spent per fill-up, per gallon.

What is the biggest thing this exercise has taught me (besides stop using paper to record mileage)?

I now understand how much gas I have left whenever the gas light turns on. This light appears whenever the fuel tank is 'low'. The Audi A4 that I drive (1.8T FWD) has a 16.4 gallon fuel tank, and the most I have ever filled up my car is 14.4 gallons. The light seems to come on whenever I have two gallons left, and that gives me a little over fifty miles before I need to get gas again.

Sunday, October 07, 2001
I read Sue Miller's While I Was Gone. I remember leafing through this book, and thinking "I should read a female author soon. I haven't read any this year." Of course, as I look through my records, I find that I've already read two books by women this year: Five Finger Discount, by Helene Stapinski, and Fifty Days of Solitude, by Susan Grumbach.

This is work of fantastic fiction. Ms. Miller has tremendous prose, creating a heightened mood. It was a book I felt. At the end of the book was a bonus of sorts: a question and answer section with the author. I'm a huge fan of DVD commentaries, and reading the author discussing her book was quite satisfying.

File this under the serendipity column: HBO has produced a movie about Mikal Gilmore, Gary Gilmore's brother (of The Executioner's Song). Yes, I plan to watch it.

On Friday, just after I pulled out of my driveway, I discovered that my driver side rear wheel had a flat. Jenn and Mia were headed for day-care, so they saw my predicament; I, however, was on my own to change this flat.

Changing the tire on my car proved to be very different from my old car. Instead of unthreading nuts from bolts, I unthreaded the bolt itself. The toolkit and jack had precise images describing what to do. It was fairly pleasant.

While rolling the flat tire into my trunk, I found that a huge staple had punctured the tread. Clearly this was the source of the flat. When I got the tire repaired the next day, it only cost me $20.

I kept thinking throughout that hurried morning: There's no better place to change a flat tire than in one's own driveway.