Monday, April 30, 2007

What the Hell Are You Doing?

I’m sick of stuff burning and ruining my workouts. I was watching Good Morning Jacksonville this morning, and they had a piece about Georgia being on fire, and whether or not William Tecumseh Sherman has risen from the grave to let them know who their daddy still is. The cameraman was filming the fire and a fireman holding a hose. The fireman wasn’t spraying water on the fire. He wasn’t spraying any type of flame retardant on the fire. He was just standing there holding a hose. I don’t know what kind of training fireman go thru – other than being shown how to get to the closest Publix – but I hope a portion of it consists of the concept of pointing the hose at the fire and pulling the lever on the hose. Maybe he wasn’t a real fireman. Maybe he was a porn star waiting for the director to yell “Action!” Studies have shown that 1 out of every 1.01 adult films begin with a fireman saying some variation of, “I heard there was a three alarm fire so I brought the big hose.” This is all beside the point, which is that the fireman wasn’t putting out the fire and it ruined my workout.

I picked up the pace of my back routine today because I had an early meeting and I wanted to get in an hour of cardio. I finished in forty minutes, shaving off twenty. I hopped on the elliptical because we’ve been through the running outside in smoke experience. After about twenty minutes my vision went all wonky. The only way I can describe it is like someone spraying water on a window in random spots of my field of view. This has happened occasionally since I was eleven. It usually happens during intense exercise. I’ve always thought it had to do with dehydration, but now I’m thinking it has to do with my sinuses being irritated by smoke. When it does happen I know I have about twenty minutes until I get a debilitating headache. The only headaches that compare are the ones I’ve woken up with the morning after tequila became a good idea. Which is why I’ve always thought they were dehydration headaches. Anyway, I jumped off the elliptical, raced home, took three Tylenol and a Claritin-D, and drank half a gallon of water. I was able to stave off about 80% of the headache, but even ten hours later it’s still lurking in the background.

Yeah, I get it blah, blah, blah containing the fire. Blah, blah, blah controlled burn. Blah, blah, blah, natual life cyle of a forest. But is it really so much to ask for a fireman to put out a fire? It's almost bikini season.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Inauspicious Beginning to My Day

The human brain is fascinating. Creativity, logic, and sentience are miraculous when considering that, at their core; they are just coded electrochemical impulses. I think they all pale when compared to emotions. I love my wife more than is reasonable, but it’s elusive; there is no why. Perhaps that is because love is a complex emotion having to do with facilitating a state of community that has some evolutionary/survival benefit. Rage is simple. I don’t see the benefit of rage. I felt rage this morning. I was trying to make my breakfast and lunch at the same time, and I didn’t get enough sleep last night. MJ read me an article the other day about how quickly we become stupid with even the slightest hitch in our sleep cycle. I was planning on marinating some yard bird. I got out the chicken, I got out the Dale’s, I got the last plastic freezer bag, and I commenced to marinate. I heard what I thought was a fizzing, which I found strange because Dale’s isn’t carbonated. So I picked up the bag and found that there was a hole in it, and the Dale’s was gushing out. I still don’t know what the fizzing was. Dale’s is thick, black, and greasy – kinda like Randy Jackson (that ain’t even right) – and was spewing all over the white counter top, down the white cabinet, and onto the red floor. Not only was there a huge mess, I was filthy, and my chicken wasn’t going to taste right. It’s seven thirty in the morning and lunch is already ruined. I Hulked out. All I wanted to do is smash something. Fortunately, my logic center was up to the task of reminding me that there was nothing I could hit that wouldn’t break my hand, sever an artery, or both -- not to mention cause possibly thousands of dollars worth of damage. The severed artery wouldn’t have bothered me so much. Yeah, the CSI guys would laugh at me, but if I only broke my hand I would have to answer MJ’s questions about a broken hand and broken stuff, and I would still have to clean up the mess. So I elbowed the freezer, it hurt (me not the freezer, it’s stainless steel). But it didn’t hurt enough to cool my rage. I couldn’t do anything except fall to my knees and curse everything from the big bang until now for ruining my day. Yes, I literally fell to my knees. I couldn’t even yell because CG hadn’t left for work yet, and I didn’t want to explain why I was going apeshit at seven thirty in the morning over some spilled sauce. She probably would have had me “Baker acted”, and I didn’t have time for a trip to Maclenny and a psychological review. I had a 9 o’clock meeting. I calmed down for the moment. I cleaned up the Dale’s, went to option B for my chicken, and went back to making my fried egg and cheese toast. I cracked the egg, dropped it into the frying pan, and the yoke was broken. Mr. Rage, it’s been almost a minute since I saw you. How have you been? This time all I could do was laugh.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Revenge of Smoke on the Water

I’m beginning to agree with Gator fan about why the Saint John’s River flows north. Georgia is still on fire and I have to do my cardio inside. I hate doing my cardio inside. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so I would have to deal with the elliptical machine. Wednesday I tried to run in the smoke; fully prepared to run slower than I wanted to, and at about the two mile mark my legs quit. My thighs hurt. I had to turn around. I can manage my heart and lungs, but when my legs seize up it’s time to reevaluate the current course of action. I had a long run planned and it was ruined by a forest fire in a foreign state. If there is a forest fire in Taiwan and some of the smoke drifts into China it’s considered an act of war – ultimately leading to the inevitable nuclear holocaust of World War III. I’m not advocating the invasion of Georgia by Florida but we could start charging Georgians to enter the state on their way to Universal Studios – they’re not classy enough to go to Disney. Yeah I know the Marxist mantra, forest fires are nature’s way of recycling old trees and stimulating new growth, but what does that have to do with me? I’m trying to get my exercise on, and I don’t want to run on the treadmill. I’m not a gerbil. Also, when I’m on a cardio machine Earth, Wind, and Fire doesn’t get it done. I have to listen to Metal, and when I listen to Metal I know that I make funny faces. I can’t help it. So at best I look like I have Tourette’s. At worst I look like a full blown 215 lb. black schizophrenic trying to deal with the voices in my head, which technically I am. Chicks don’t dig that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Smoke on the Water

My fellow racer JG likes to quote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Running”, and I wonder if her book has anything to say about smoke not really being anything like oxygen. Yesterday was ridiculously busy and I wasn’t able to work out, so exercise was moved way up the priority list for Tuesday. Today was shoulder day, which is the easiest of my lifting days, so I knew I could book it down to the Y and still have enough left in the tank to teach my delts a thing or two. I stepped out of my door and I noticed a burning wood smell in the air, but I didn’t think twice about it as I took off. I had to make it to Publix, which is a mile away, in less than seven minutes. I did: 5 minutes 57 seconds. Normally this is no big deal, but today I was laboring and I had to slow down. Apparently Ware, Georgia is engulfed in flames, and the smoke is wafting south into Jacksonville. Smoke is not conducive to cardiovascular activity. I ran the second mile in just under ten minutes. I couldn’t see the tops of any of the taller buildings downtown as I ran along the river. This gave me a moment’s pause as I walked into the Y. Maybe running in smoke isn’t a good idea, but I don’t want to walk home, that will just add to the length of my exposure. I put it out of my mind as I blasted my delts like they owed me money. Shoulders are where we separate the champs from the chumps because they hurt. No other muscles trap blood like the deltoids. Working shoulders is by far the easiest way to feel the burn. Unless you run through smoke filled air to get to the gym; blast your delts; then run home through the still smoke filled air. Shoulder burn is different from lung burn: one is good, the other is bad. I score in the 99th percentile on aptitude tests. Maybe they’re not good indicators of intelligence.

Teachers of English as a first language and other educated people who may have the correct answer, I have a question. Other than in the present tense, how does one conjugate the verb forego? I wanted to use it in the past tense but I didn’t want to side step it by using the infinitive form after another preterit tense verb i.e. I decided to forego.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I’m at a workout crossroads. I have running goals and I have strength goals. My running progress is way ahead of schedule. I ran six miles in under thirty-five minutes last week. However, my strength goals are behind schedule, and so I made a change this week. I was hitting the gym four times a week doing both lifting and running. This week I’ve split them up. I did weights Monday thru Thursday and I’m going on long runs on Friday and Saturday. I’ve gotten stronger but I’ve gained six pounds. Six pounds in a week is a bit much. I’m eating clean, but still. And I don’t really know if it’s the new program or the fact that I’m more rested. I don’t want to do the bodybuilder thing where I gain a whole bunch of weight as I build muscle and then have to burn off the excess fat by changing my diet. I don’t like being hungry, and no one else likes me hungry either – I’m sure MJ could write an entire post about the schizophrenic dichotomy between me with a full stomach and an empty one. On the other hand I know this program will work. Therein lays the conundrum. Do I get all bloated and go back to my fat clothes in order to bench press 225 lbs. 25 times as quickly as possible or do I continue to do it the hard way and possibly fall short of my goal? Which aspect of my vanity should I appeal to? Comments are appreciated.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Random Thoughts

My wife and I were watching 30-minute Meals the other day, and I think Rachel Ray has jumped the shark. Everything that was cute two years ago is now annoying. I used to like that she was a chatty former cheerleader but now I just want her to shaddup. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too much Iron Chef, both the original and the American versions, and now I think I know more than she does. My favorite Iron Chefs are Sakai from TOS and Batali from the American series. It bothers me that every time she says EVOO she immediately follows it with “That’s extra virgin olive oil”. Don’t we all know that by now? And you can’t cook that much stuff in EVOO. Its smoking point is too low. Maybe it’s because Giada DeLaurentiis is… um, uhh “better equipped”, so to speak. I would love to taste her sfogliatelle.

MJ has been raving about what a wonderful song for walking “Under Pressure” is. She loves it. I think it’s an ok song, but I have my own favorites for exercising. And if I was going to pick a Queen song I would pick “Another One Bites the Dust”. MJ keeps trying to force me to listen to it, as if I haven’t heard it, or I’ve been listening to it incorrectly. None of this should imply that she has some control issues. I’m seriously thinking about downloading “Ice Ice Baby” and throwing it into her mix. Hopefully, I’ll get it on camera the first time it comes up. I imagine it will be like expecting sweet tea and getting a mouthful of diet Mountain Dew. I’ll probably need a divorce lawyer, a neurosurgeon, or both. Word to ya mutha. Do we really wonder why the Taliban hates us?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Meme Thursday: My Maserati goes 185

I don’t do middle ground. I’m an extremist. If I’m interested in something then I tend to go all out and do it as well as I possibly can. If I’m not interested then it tends not to matter to me in the least. And since I hit my mid-twenties it has become more and more difficult for other people to influence what interests me. I think this has led me to living my life almost exactly the way I want to live my life. I have my family and my friends. I live in a sub tropical cul du sac that is hurricane resistant. What more do I need? The only thing that I would change about my life is my interest in my job. My job bores me, yet it fits my needs right now. If I could get really focused on my practice for five years I could retire at forty-one. Which seems appealing to me, but it’s abstract. Nothing would really change. I would have more stuff, and stuff doesn’t motivate me. Also, I don’t like the people I work with who are focused on their practices. Two of the heaviest hitters in Jacksonville work in my office. They’re miserable people. They scream at their assistants. They cheat on their trophy wives. I don’t understand having no need for money yet allowing money to control one’s life. On one hand, I count my blessings everyday. On the other hand I sometimes find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Economist in the house!) Focusing on my career is my jihad right now. Everything else in my life is biscuits and gravy. And if you ain’t down with some biscuits and gravy, you may want to reassess exactly what’s important in your life.