Full stop, dumbass!

Like a total idiot I went and did the one thing that could have put the biggest cramp in my training schedule, I broke my damn toe. While out playing what I thought would have been a quick game of kick the soccer ball around with the boys, I stumbled on the damn thing and slammed my right big toe directly into the ground. I thought I heard a crack but might have imagined it, either way my toe swelled up a bit and it was quite obvious I made it very unhappy. Here I am about a week and a half later and it’s still mad at me.

I can’t be mad at it though, playing soccer without shoes is not really advisable if you’re even a mildly recreational person much less one that’s in the middle of a six-day-a-week running schedule. I am still pretty mad at myself even though there’s nothing I can do about it but want to smack myself in the face with a frying pan. Which would only complicate my situation so I’ll complain about it on the internet.

With two weeks to go before my next race I’ll have very little time to heal, much less train effectively. I’ll most likely attempt to run limp a short distance to see where I am at the end of the week. Although I wouldn’t be the happiest person if I had to skip my August races I won’t cry about it since I’m not gonna hurt myself any further by compounding stupidity with stubbornness. Hell, I’ll walk my August races if need be.

EDIT @ 2:00 pm: And now I just bit my cheek. I give up.

Half-marathon training in full swing! When my little monsters don’t decide to destroy the evening’s sleep schedule, I’ll be heading out each morning for a run before work with a rest day on Saturday and then a long run on Sunday. I’ll probably limit my weekly runs to about 6 miles due to time and work my way up to 13 miles on the big run a mile at a time. I’ve penciled in a few other races for this season as well and can hopefully find a decent way to keep the momentum going after the season is over cause building back up my strength this year from where I ended up last year has been kinda challenging.

After this season, I’ll be ready to take on more for sure but we’ll see how much. I’d like to go for a full marathon next year and training for and running a half will let me know how much I can actually commit to it. I’m certainly willing to work towards it, even if I don’t wind up doing it in 2015.

I hate car fires.

I’ve never had a car that caught fire but the idea of them just makes me sad. My car has always been a safe place for me, somewhere I can not worry about things and listen to music or just let the wind blow through the windows and feel happy. I realize that feeling safe in a car is kind of silly, seeing how you’re more likely to get hurt in a car than anywhere else during a normal day but my general need for occasional alone time has always looked past that, and I drive safely and have a safe car. I think most people pretty much love their cars and feel safe in them so when it comes to then darn thing catching on fire it’s kind of devastating.

I saw one on the highway this morning on the way into work. It was a Chevy SUV and that’s a first for me because every car fire I’ve seen to date has been a Jeep Cherokee, four of them in total. Today’s fifth car fire sighting marks the end of my theory that Jeeps are the only trucks that catch fire. Either way, I came up to it just as the state trooper got there and what I saw wasn’t what I expected, but it probably should have been.

As I was driving by I saw the state trooper quickly rush out of his car and run immediately toward the truck which was completely engulfed in flames from the cabin forward and fling open the doors to look for someone inside. I’ve no doubt that it probably hurt and being that close to a fire that’s shooting out of a car about ten feet in either direction wasn’t pleasant but it was done completely without hesitation and it was kind of amazing.

Seeing an act of bravery is kinda rare since this part of the world is pretty tame compared to the rest but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. I thought about it for the rest of the way in and am sure it’ll be on my mind for a few more days and thankfully don’t have to think if it too often since dangerous situations aren’t happening everywhere around me all the time. I don’t think I’d have too many friends if that was the case.

Thank you to all of the people out there that have signed up for the kind of job that might force you to put others before yourself. You’re all real heroes.

Ahem. Hello. Hello? Are you there?

My car has been doing this to me for the past two years or so and I’ve been completely ignorant as to why. You know that little light on your dash that comes on when you pull the emergency brake (Usually the word “BRAKE,” brightly lit up right in the center) that is really hard to miss but easy to ignore cause the brakes are working and the emergency brake is off? Well, it’s not just for the emergency brake after all. I’ve had a couple other cars go through the same thing and I owe an apology to all of them.

Early on, about the time I started learning how to drive (coincidentally right around the time computer controls were introduced into pretty much every car), the silver station wagon I was driving (chick magnet) began to intermittently display its Brake! light (it actually had an exclamation point) but it would go off if you would forcibly slam the emergency brake down so my dad’s conclusion to this issue was that the sensor to tell the light to go on or off was faulty. This happened again with the next car I had and every car after that where the method to engage the emergency brake was a lever on the console. Four in total, including my current one.

Here’s the thing with that, or so I have come to learn since having this giant a-ha I’m a dumbass moment recently: your car might be in need of brake fluid if that light comes on as did mine and probably all the others that were screaming for it in the best way they could by illuminating that one particular light on the dash that should tell the idiot behind the wheel that if your emergency brake is off and your brakes are functional that THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING ELSE WRONG.

My brakes were a little soft recently so I began to investigate, immediately jumping to the worst-case scenario that came with a four figure repair bill. I know a little about cars, enough so that I can read the labels on top of the caps and don’t put oil into the washer fluid reservoir. I understand how brake systems work (pressure, fluid, no air, contaminants bad!) and found out that my brakes were spongy due to my fluid levels being less than adequate (read: almost empty) and that my poor car had been trying to tell me this for quite some time. I know this because the moment I had filled the brake fluid reservoir to the little line with the word “max” next to it something wonderful happened—the brake light on the dash went off. Not only had I put myself in danger for a sizeable amount of time but my car was trying to tell me that I’m a dumb-dumb for not listening. In the politest possible way of course. It is a Honda after all.

I can safely say that the best advice my father ever gave me was RTFM. Which he seldom seems to do himself and why I seem to have fallen victim to his advice on other occasions.

It’s hard to…

I find it difficult to sta…

Erm…

Starting back up after you leave off for awhile isn’t easy, especially since it feels like you’ve got to say something really important to break the silence or you will bore your (completely non-existent) audience.

There should really be a more consistent approach to blogging if you’re gonna commit to it, otherwise you’re kinda rehashing the same shit over and over cause most people’s lives aren’t that entertaining. More specifically, I’m not that interesting. I have a very routine week. I take myself to and from work five days and when I get home it’s pretty much chaos while I eat my dinner and that continues until the kids go to bed. It’s a story you’ve heard before whether you have kids or not. If you have kids, you experience it firsthand and if not, you’ve heard the stories. It’s nothing new, really.

I’m not saying that it’s bad, but it’s more difficult to come across things to relay that are unique and might be entertaining to a general audience. Life in general is really great but that doesn’t make for interesting journalism.

On the other hand, there are some interesting things coming up. Charlie graduates preschool tonight (graduates as in finishes, there weren’t like tests or anything) and as a parent that’s exciting because it means he’s officially ready for “serious” school (his word), and I think we are too. It’s a happy milestone.

Jimmy is potty training himself. (See why I don’t write about my everyday life?) He just decided awhile back to use the big boy potty with a reasonable degree of regularity. Another happy milestone!

I’ll be running a half marathon in September. Training isn’t going as well as I’d hoped at this point but I haven’t really committed to it. I didn’t stop running for an extended period of time but my schedule has been all over the place. The end goal here will be to run a full marathon next year, whether it’ll be Chicago or one of the other ones I’m not sure but there are thankfully a few nice ones to pick from around here. I will eventually commit to Chicago though, and probably Grandma’s just cause I like the name.

I’ve also committed to good health, however much that sentence has meaning anymore. I am getting older and have a lot of things I’d still like to do without worrying how my body will react to them, so the best way to help that along is stop acting like I’m 18, which I am most certainly not anymore now that I am more than twice that age. *downs whiskey shot* … oh yeah, good health, sure. Happiness too.

I’m winding down my professional career as a designer and getting ready to ramp up a new one as a programmer. What kind of programmer I’m to become has not really presented itself yet but it’s plainly clear that after about 20 years working as a professional graphic designer I just don’t have the taste for it anymore and can’t see a future in it any longer. While I do enjoy the building of projects for people, those enjoyable projects have become few and far between and it seems like all the fun’s been taken out of it. I’m a bit sad but somewhat relieved at the decision to exit the field because I still do enjoy working to create with type and imagery, my future in that will come exclusively from a pure want to create and it’ll have to be the right project at the right time and not just because it’s my job.

I’ve seen the field change in some ways but what really got me was how it didn’t change and I never learned to accept how design in certain companies is viewed as a necessary evil of sorts and the opinion that decisions are largely arbitrary and can be made by anyone with the power to tell someone else to do it. There’s just no respect for design talent in certain companies and it’s left me cold. I’m tired of fighting a battle that will never be won and even if it was won, wouldn’t be worth it in the end.

Biscuits and math.

For the past few days, a disconnected phrase has been running through my head that makes me giggle and I feel like I should share it cause I’m no longer connected to the people who were privy to it originally so the phrase itself carries very little meaning simply spoken aloud without context.

When I was in college, there was a group of friends that I’d hang around with and we frequented a small area of the campus called the hub. Ok, not very original I know but that’s not really the story so pay attention. Among this group of friends was a guy named Kurt who was appropriately nicknamed biscuithead. I don’t really know the origins of the nickname necessarily, but it fit and I’m sure you can imagine a rather unfortunate fellow who has unfortunate things happen to him on a regular basis with this kind of nickname.

There was also another group of people who would hang together that were essentially the purest and most perfect examples of misfits. One was a rather portly dude who didn’t really care much for personal hygiene, a blind girl who always dressed in pink sweaters, a few other nondescript people and a really short girl who I swear had a club foot but it was a long time ago so I might be wrong about that. This story centers around that girl.

One day, a presumably normal day for poor biscuithead, he was on his way somewhere in a hurry and being himself was running and not really paying attention to his surroundings. As it was relayed by him, he rushed around a blind corner near a stairwell and happened upon the previously mentioned, most decidedly vertically challenged girl. And he happened upon her in a way that met with a decent amount of force that would knock any normally sized person to the ground.

The description of the collision could probably be described in greater detail but since I wasn’t there I’ll save you the probably imaginary details—let’s just say that books, papers and tiny people were flying in a way they weren’t meant to. What happened after was the thing that brings us here and eventually to the phrase that stuck with a few people for the rest of their college career together. As poor biscuithead and the short girl (for lack of a better name) attempted to deal with this sad accident, there was a flurry of “I’m SO SORRYs” and a lot of silence. As he helped he pick up what appeared to be her entire weight in books, papers and pencils it just got more uncomfortable and more silent, right up until the end as she had everything in order and turned to walk away, only to turn back and look him right in the eye and say, ” I have to go to math.”

Now, was that phrase necessary of this wordy explanation? Not at all, since it wasn’t what she said but how she said it that stuck with us and became the trigger for much laughter in the next couple years. Imagine the girl I previously described very pointedly saying that particular phrase like Gollum from Lord of the rings. It was the kind of thing to catch someone off his guard enough to flip from panicked embarrassment to insane giggling all the way back to relay the entire incident to his group of friends.

Now don’t you feel special?

With a newfound need to not be sedentary, I’m looking into all the old activities that kept me busy and I’ve still some gear for. I got that bike thing out of the way. Well, my old one was stolen so I can’t exactly blow the dust off that one and I like my new bike a little more than the other one anyway. I guess it’s the bigger wheels?Either way, with the summer approaching an end in the next few months, I’m gonna need a winter activity and sliding down a hill on waxed wood sticks and boards was always fun so let’s do that!

The shop I got my bike from turns its gear over to snow stuff in mid-October and I’ve got a few things I’m gonna have them polish up. I’ve even got an initial “why not” from my wife on whether or not she’d join me for a ski session. I’m looking forward to the time I can get the whole family out on the slopes or trails so I better get her used to it sooner than later. She’d be one hot ski bunny and I need some practice.

Thankfully I invested in a pair of skis that had demo bindings and are easily adjustable for different size boots. They are the longer/faster pair of the two I have but we have the same size feet so maybe the other pair could work as well without any adjustment. I’m not much of an expert when it comes to skis.

We do have a really tiny ski hill just down the road from us that I dragged my dad out to a while back and that was coincidentally the last time I was up on skis. I’m not even sure what year that was. Same with snowboarding but I’m pretty sure that one went in storage just before leaving for college so that would be about 94. So 20 years. I’m sure I’m still really good at it.

Ha.

Slowly but surely, I’m inching my way down towards my goal weight of 180 pounds, which would put me back at the weight I was before going away to college and from what I can remember, a very comfortable weight for my frame. I broke a three week plateau this week and hit 197. Along with running a mile in less than 9 minutes, I’d say it’s been a great fitness week. Still lots of work to do.

Drenched. (Or, fuck you, serious bike snob.)

While listening to the (occasionally) snooty NPR, I heard an interview with a woman talking about biking in Chicago. More specifically about how bikers who don’t spend upwards of $3k on a carbon-framed road bike or refuse to ride in the rain aren’t serious about cycling.

WHATEVER. Why must I conform to your idea of what serious is to be dedicated to cycling?

My father is a wine lover and has been for quite some time. He reads up on it all, the current crops and vineyards and enjoys it daily. He notes what he likes and doesn’t like and keeps track of it all. By all accounts, my father is serious about wine. Although he has imposed a $25 a bottle cap on himself and that, if you take the snob’s definition of serious, would make him less serious about it or not even serious. Well, that’s really just some serious bullshit.

I have a sub-$1000, relatively heavy mountain bike that I ride 10+ miles on pretty much everyday. It has taken me from about 212 pounds to 197 in about three months and given me a definite need for daily physical activity. I take very good care of it, seriously good care. I wipe it down after every ride and do a pre-ride check before going out. I love my bike and my wife refers to it as “my girlfriend.”

So really, the objection here is to the word serious as it pertains to how much money I’ve spent on my bike over how much I ride it or how well I take care of it because that is, frankly, crap.

I did do a 10 mile ride in the rain and got completely soaked today though, is that serious enough for you or just half serious? I’ll see you on the trails, serious bike lady.

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