Monday, August 2, 2010

Kitchen Konfidential Has Inspired Me

Anthony Bourdain
Brasserie Les Halles
Executive Chef
c. 1998
I finished Kitchen Confidential (Bourdain should have gone Mortal Kombat and spelled Confidential with a K) and now I’m bored. I hate the doldrums of summer between the end of the NBA Finals and the beginning of the NFL pre-season. I would start another book but Grammy is reading my next assignment and MJ is reading Tony Bourdain’s follow up. Instead, since there is absolutely nothing on television, I’ve decided to write. I think Kitchen Konfidential (professional courtesy) has inspired me. Tony Bourdain has been a favorite of mine for about two years. He’s caustic, angry, honest, and a good writer. Until earlier this week I had only heard him read little segue blurbs on his television show, but I knew I liked his style. Kitchen Konfidential confirmed what I had already believed. I was a little bit surprised by how much he’s mellowed over the last ten years, yet I still know that I’ve found a kindred spirit. Not that I ever wanted to be a chef. I worked for three weeks at a Captain D’s. Actually, I was employed for three weeks; I worked about a grand total of nine hours, and I hated every second of it. I hated that people would send fast food fish back as if there was any possibility of me doing something other than dropping what ever was sent back on the floor, back in the grease, on the floor again, and back onto the same plate. I hated the fact that EVERYTHING in a commercial kitchen is hot. I hated that I got burned every 30 seconds. I hated that it was actual hard work. I hated that I stank like grease for 18 hours after I left more than anyone has ever hated anything. The smell of North Atlantic White Fish cod (Captain D’s got sued for calling cod NAWF) doesn’t come out with a shower and it doesn’t mix well with Drakkar Noir. Fast food cook did not enhance my stunna status and so my career in the food industry came to an abrupt and immediate halt. Bourdain fell in love with his first kitchen experience. This is where we differ. I don’t know. Maybe I would have fallen in love with the restaurant business if I’d started working in the late ‘70’s when there were top notch drugs and morally suspect waitresses readily available. The drugs were available at Captain D’s but not the females, and the first without the second is nothing but a self-indulgent waste of time. I also didn’t like the guys I worked with. Not liking, or respecting, my coworkers seems to be a recurring theme in my work life. The only group of guys at any of the jobs I’ve had that I’ve liked enough to want to spend time with them outside of work were the guys I sold newspapers door-to-door with in Tallahassee. I think what was great about us is that we were basically the United Colours of Benetton: Rayford Pea Farm Edition. We were a rotating bunch of guys between 18 and 22 from all over the ethnic and cultural spectrum. The only guy older than 22 was Allen; he was 27. He was the manager and a quintessential Floridian. Allen was a Miami Jew Redneck. Everything about the way he looked at talked was Dade County Jewish money. He was perpetually tan. In the winter he used to like to see if he was darker than I was. He was covered in hair, except the top of his head – first person I ever knew on minoxidil. He had to decide where to stop shaving. I even bought, at the time, that he’d had his nose fixed because of a deviated septum. I don’t know if it was because he was a career door-to-door salesman or not, but he talked faster than anyone I’ve ever known. If he had been on the West Wing, Aaron Sorkin would have asked him to slow down. Everything about the way he lived was Everglades country. He fished everyday before dawn. His favorite music was George Strait and Merle Haggard, and I don’t think I ever saw him without a dip of Copenhagen in his lip. He could drink Mountain Dew out of a Big Gulp cup with a straw and not swallow enough tobacco juice to get sick. He had skillz. We were a crew of between 8 and 15 knuckleheads who terrorized Tallahassee apartment complexes selling subscriptions to The Democrat. We never made any money outside of the first few weeks of a new semester, but it was an absolute blast every night. This is what Tony Bourdain found in kitchens. Unfortunately for me, restaurant work is a little bit steadier than selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door. I’m still looking for the career that makes me want to want to jump out of bed and get to it, to show up early and stay late because I love it and I have to do a better job. I want to work with people that don’t disgust me when I think about them, or make me want a boat so I could dispose of their brutalized corpses without going to prison. I want to work well with others, but “Prison rape is the only thing stopping me from beating you to death just to see if you can have some kind of honest moment of self awareness” doesn’t fall into that category. Until I find that career I’m going to continue writing – I never should have stopped – and I’m going to keep reminding myself that my life couldn’t be any better outside of work, and that’s a trade off that most people would willingly take.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

No, I'm Pretty Sure That's A Dolphin (Please God, Let It Be A Dolphin)

Taken With MJ's iPhone

Shark Week starts tomorrow on the Discovery Channel. We got a jumpstart here in Shangri-La. We went to the beach Wednesday afternoon and we saw something that we had never seen in our combined 100+ years of beach going. There had been a thunderstorm at the beach, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it does just a few miles inland, and it did something to the tidal pattern – or something. I noticed something was off as soon as LMJ and I cleared the big sea oats covered sand dune and stepped onto the actual beach. There was a group of six or seven people standing just out of the water and staring out into the ocean. What made it weird was that two of the people were teenage surfers. Surfers don’t stand at the edge of the shore and look out into the ocean and they don’t talk to middle aged beach combers, especially teenaged surfers. I knew what was up right away but my brain refused to believe it. The dolphins I saw playing in the surf reinforced my denial. There were schools of little fish flailing around, which I’ve seen before, but I’d never seen a fucken shark (g. fucken s. shark) jump out of a wave and grab a mouthful of them. A minute earlier MJ had commented that the little fishies scattering like somebody had farted indicated that sharks were in there. Silly girl, ‘twas only the dolphins enjoying a playful snack. I already watch too much Discovery Channel, and one of the things I’ve learned is that dolphins “bark” at their prey like a death metal singer to stun them. The little high pitched squeaks that sound like a parakeet who got into Lindsay Lohan’s stash is them saying hello. I decided that the dolphins were “barking” the fish out of the water. I caught the surface breaching shark attack out of the corner of my eye, which allowed my denial to hang on, since I hadn’t seen it directly. It wasn’t a satanic demon beast from the briny depths; it was just a skinny dolphin whose tail had been twisted 90 degrees, and was filled with murderous rage. A few seconds later his buddy did the same thing tap dead center in my field of view. Some of my personal beliefs were destroyed in this instant. First and foremost: dolphins and sharks don’t hang out in the same place at the same time. In the history of stuff that’s wrong, that might be the wrongest. They seemed to be getting along just fine. One of the sharks asked one of the dolphins if he had any crab boil. Second: I thought only small sharks – 3 feet max – came in this far in this part of the Atlantic. The sharks I saw were a minimum of 5 feet, that’s with me factoring in my terror exaggerating the sharks’ perceived size. I had to go through a process of remembering that megalodon is extinct, great whites and tigers max out at about 20 feet, and the sharks I was seeing probably weren’t them. Still, 5 feet of evolutionary killing perfection is enough to give me pause. The worst part was that the water was really calm – Lake Atlantic – and if I had brought my goggles I would have ignored all the clarion warning signs and gone swimming (read: been bait). I would have followed the basic human logic of “It’s Never Happened To Me Before So It’s Not Going To Happen Now”. I’m glad that I saw the whole thing. It was awesome. I don’t know if I’m ever getting in the water again, but it was still awesome.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Runner Is Born (maybe) or Who The Hell Is Cory Doctorow?

I’m feeling frisky today and thinking about blogging again. Hopefully, this feeling will go away, but I’ve got something interesting to write about. MJ ran with me today. I enjoyed it a lot more than she did. She doesn’t really do “hot” or “hard” so I’m not sure what we expected from the run, but she’s also got some pitbull in her so quitting wasn’t an option either. We did my regular 5k: down to Memorial Park and back. I don’t know if starting a running career in the middle of July in Florida is the best way to start or the worst; I guess it depends on how one looks at it. The upside is that it will never ever be as hard as this again. The downside is that it’s insanely hot and humid and heat stroke is more a probability than a possibility. The run started with us each calling divorce lawyers because the black and bitter hatred was palpable, but then we started moving and my mood picked up. The run went about as I expected. MJ was hot and wanted to get the whole thing over with so she complained expressed her true suffering that I was going too slowly. She decided to set a pace that would get her home and out of the heat a little quicker – we ran about a ¼ mile at a 7:20 mile pace. Then her lungs said, “Wait, what?!?” I’m only joking about it because I did the exact same thing the first time I tried to run. I think everyone does. It takes a while to allow yourself to fall into a comfortable pace. Exercise is supposed to be hard. Anyway, I was just happy to have a running partner. I don’t think it’s going to be long before she can keep up with me, and not much longer after that before she’s dusting me. She’s a lot smaller than me, and she’s able to follow instructions much better than I do. I hope she’s caught the bug.

I was going to write about our run anyway, and then MJ found a website called “I write like…” where you can post writing samples and have them analyzed to find out who you write like. I write like some guy named Cory Doctorow. It’s funny how quickly my ego got involved. My gut reaction – never having read a word Mr. Doctorow has written – was who the hell is Cory Doctorow? I don’t write in iambic pentameter so I didn’t expect William Shakespeare to come up, but I was hoping for Mark Twain. I write about dark stuff in a funny way. At least give me Carl Hiaasen. I read Doctorow’s Wikipedia entry, and I just felt worse. He’s a tree hugging Canadian communist sci-fi writer, which is kinda who I am but not who I want be. Aside from comparing myself to the most celebrated American humorist ever, I’d like to think I’m a little bit more gangsta than a sci-fi geek from Toronto. Maybe I should go rob a liquor store. Where’s my copy of Blade Runner: The Final Cut?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Didn't Drown

I’m alive. I finished. I didn’t finish last. In the infamous words of our 43rd president, “Mission accomplished”. Sweet wounded Jesus that was no joke. My first impression of race day was that the bike makes everything a giant pain in the ass. It’s a pain to load. It’s a pain to unload. Next, is that there’s so much gear I had to bring along: the bike, the helmet, the shoes, the sock (I forgot one), the drinks, the gels, the sun block, the sunglasses, and the change of clothes. I showed up at 6am and because of having to get my chip, get marked in magic marker with my race number and age on various parts of my body, and having to stow my bike and all the crap I had to bring I barely had time to pee and get down on the beach.

Time is 100% perception. When MJ and I scouted the last race a month ago it seemed that they were starting the waves of swimmers rather slowly. This morning, as I was waiting to get in, it seemed that there was no time at all between waves. I can’t remember the last time I was this scared/excited about anything. They told us to go and I jumped into the water. I panicked about 25 meters in. I was so amped up that my heart was beating a mile a minute and I didn’t think I was going to make it. The thought that was in my mind was, “You can’t do this.” Fortunately, I kept swimming during my panic and when I reached the buoy to turn north I realized it wasn’t that far of a swim so I settled down. I also, and I think this was a HUGE key to me not freezing up completely, resisted the urge to find out if I could still touch the bottom. After that the swim was fun. The only awkward moment was deciding when to stop swimming and walk out of the water.

Soft sand is not fun to move through after a swim. I got to the transition area, which was a lot farther away than I think it needed to be, and tried to make the transition to the bike. I took my time putting on my shoes (without socks) and shirt and drinking some water and eating a gel. I reminded myself to keep my heart rate under 150 and set my watch. The bike ride was boring. The course didn’t go through a neighborhood it just went through a section of road that seemed to connect a bunch of neighborhoods. I was really surprised that I was passing people, but I was. The bridge was tough going up but a blast coming down. I got passed by a hot chick at the U-turn point and followed her for most of the rest of the ride. She was Ponte Vedra “put together”. Other than that what I noticed was how much more efficiently her bike was working than mine. She shouldn’t have been going as fast as I was in the gear she was in. I need a new bike, but I don’t have the $850 to spend on the “entry level” road bike I test rode last week. I honestly think I would have dropped 20 minutes off my ride if I had a good road bike instead of the dump truck mountain bike I’m riding. It’s no big deal, just a note. I passed her going down the bridge, only because she was afraid of the speed. I wasn’t. I was tucked over and trying to be as aerodynamic as possible going down the bridge. I got up over 30mph and tried to glide as far as I could. The transition area was only a couple of miles away.

I got off my bike, caught my breath, drank some more water, and headed out on the run. It was a tale of 3 different miles. The first mile was hell. I was trying to keep a steady pace and a steady heart rate. I knew if I could maintain long enough I would get used to it. I got comfortable about a mile in and cruised. I was very happy to be passing people, and that kept me going. The running course was just out a mile and a half and back. The “out” was under a tree canopy on the east side of the road in front of the 8 figure mansions. There was no tree canopy on the ghetto ass west side of the road in front of the not quite as high 8 figure mansions for the “in”. I felt bad for the people that owned houses on the west side of the street. It must be pretty embarrassing when people can see your whole house from the street  - all 8 thousand square feet of it. I almost walked the last mile. The only reason I didn’t is because I wanted this sumbitch to be over, and I was still passing people. The finish line was around a corner so I was able to pick up the pace and look like I still wanted to be out there. I finished my first triathlon strong and that’s all I wanted to do.

The best thing about the triathlon was the support. It’s even better than the support at running races and I didn’t think that was possible. That’s before we get to JG, EG, and IG standing in the sun to cheer me on as I try not to die. There’s also no better sight than seeing and hearing CG, LMJ, and MJ cheer me on. MJ personally took 90 seconds off my time making the transition from the water to the bike with her encouragement and mere presence as I trudged through the soft sand. I know it was a Herculean effort to get LMJ up and out of the house in the wee hours to see me finish just before the awards ceremony started and I truly appreciate it. This was a lot of fun and my body isn’t torn up. I’m looking forward to doing another one, and I need to finish an Olympic distance before the end of 2011. No rest for the stupid.

Friday, July 9, 2010


I picked up my triathlon packet earlier today and immediately crapped my pants. I don’t think I’m as worried about the race itself as much as the setup. The biggest problem is that they, the organizers, seem to be taking this thing kind of seriously. When I pick up my packet for a running race – even one as big as the Gate River Run, which is a huge national race – I tell them who I am and they ask what size shirt I want. When I picked up my packet today I had to show a picture ID and my USA Triathlon card. They put a hospital style wristband on my wrist that will get me into the transition area. The race starts in about 17 hours. I have to wear this thing overnight. I have to have my bike number on my bike before I’m allowed into the transition area. I want to know who’s trying that hard to cheat for the BFAST Sprint Triathlon. I think the winning prize is $500. The guy that wins this thing tomorrow will have ridden a $3,000 bike, so it’s not for the money. I think if I polled 1,000 random people fewer than 20 of those people would know what this event was – even after I told them exactly what it was – so it’s not for the noteriety. The only people that do this are in it for the love of the game. No one is trying to cheat. But I am nervous about getting my bike, and all the stuff that comes along with it, into the right spot without getting disqualified before the race starts. Where do I put my keys? I can’t carry them with me into the ocean, but I don’t want to get shot if I try to hand them to MJ at the wrong time or at the wrong place. If I can get situated and down to the water then I’ll be happy.

The lady that handed me my packet was also different from the packet handlers that I’ve dealt with at other races. If I go to 1st Place Sports it’s either a skinny teenager who’s a bit clueless or a skinny twentysomething who’s not quite as clueless. The River Run is a mishmash of regular people volunteering. They’re efficient but not necessarily racing the next day. The chick that handed me my packet and put my wristband on was in her early 50’s at the youngest, and had a face, hairstyle, and manner of a schoolmarm. Everything below the neck was Jillian Michaels. She was straight up yoked. I felt a little guilty because I could tell that she’d rather be doing some pushups than explaining stuff to some fatass n00b.

My goal is to finish, and I don’t care if it’s DAL. I plan on surviving the swim, resting during the bike ride, and jogging during the run. I want to keep my heart rate under 150. The race starts at 7am and if I had a time goal it would be to finish before 9am. It’s not that I want to go fast; I don’t want to give the sun a chance to get too high. It’s been really hot this week and I don’t want to get stuck running in 90 degree weather.

If I post tomorrow it means I survived, and we’ll be calling that a win.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Father's Day Eve At The Beach

It’s the middle of June. MJ’s out of school. It’s a Saturday. There was no chance that we weren’t going to go to the beach. It wasn’t all fun and games for me. I wanted to swim in the ocean as soon as I could to get a feel for it. My triathlon is coming up. I’m glad that I didn’t blow this off.

Swimming in the ocean is much different than swimming in a pool. The one thing that I didn’t expect – and didn’t really notice until I was done swimming – was how much easier it is to move through saltwater than fresh water. The things I did expect were much worse than I expected. I brought my water resistant watch because I wanted to time myself. I was all set to head out when MJ made me take it off because sharks like shiny things and she didn’t want me to get eaten. I thought she was being silly but I took it off. That battle wasn’t even close to being worth fighting.

After I was swimming I realized that being phlegmatic about shark attacks while standing on dry land and being phlegmatic about shark attacks while swimming in murky water are two very different things. The water was calm – a Lake Atlantic day – and I was never deeper than five feet, but I still haven’t seen the bottom. I had goggles on but couldn’t see more than 18 inches in front of me. I was also swimming alone, which is a pretty big no-no in the ocean.

This led to two instances of absolute butthole puckering terror. I don’t know how long I was in the water. Remember, MJ made me take my watch off, but I swam from about 6th street to about 10th street. Both instances happened the same way. I was thinking about how easy the swim was going, which somehow led to me thinking about how I couldn’t see and how I wouldn’t know if a shark was there until it bumped into me or bit me. I thought about how it wouldn’t be that big of a deal if the shark bit me on the leg, if it wasn’t that big of a shark. But a big shark could bite me in the side and eat my liver and I’d die right there – I GOTTA GET OUTTA THE WATER! All this went through my mind in an instant. The first time it happened I stopped swimming, stood up, took my goggles off and had to think about whether or not it was worth it. I knew if I got out of the water I’d never get back in so I kept swimming.

Strangely, other than the two instances of abject terror, I never thought about it. I thought about swimming straight and if I was splashing enough for MJ and how far fisherman cast their lines.

I got a fishing line wrapped around my arm. After I was done being annoyed – go find your own ocean a-hole – I felt kind of bad wondering if the guy thought he’d caught something. I swear I almost caught me a 230lb. Blackfish, but I was casting 60lb. test so I really didn’t have much of a chance. I also thought the waves would push me in and the swim back to land would be the easiest part. I was wrong. Undertow sucks.

I felt great getting out of the water, even if I was a little bit out of breath, and started the run back to base camp. I figured why not simulate as much as I can of the event. I’d never run immediately after a swim, and I was surprised by how heavy I felt. It wasn’t that my swimsuit was waterlogged; it was that I was much lighter floating in the water. I got used to the air not holding up as much of my fat ass as the ocean and cruised what I’m assuming was the ¼ mile run.

When I got back the whole crew was playing in the water. LMJ was wearing her brand new crab floaty and trying some kind of joint manipulation to get her mom to let go of her so she could swim by herself. She hasn’t been this comfortable in the ocean since before she could really walk.

After everyone was tuckered out from swimming and playing we were sitting on the beach and saw a whole pod of dolphins slowly making their way south. They were about 50 yards off shore or much closer to shore than I was when I was swimming. I can’t even imagine how much of a little girl I would have sounded like when I started shrieking if I had seen a fin pop out of the water between me and the shore. I’m glad that I was on the beach as they swam by because seeing dolphins (from the shore) in the wild is magical. The beach was pretty crowded and everyone stopped to watch them. It wasn’t just us.

As good as the dolphins were they weren’t as good as LMJ, who saved the best line of the day for when we were getting ready to leave. I was standing in the nonexistent surf when she came running up to me and said, “Daddy, it’s time to go home.” I asked her if that’s what Mommy said, and without batting an eye she said, “No, that’s what I said.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

100 % Beast Mode

I planned on getting out before it got hot, but it was 78 degrees when I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Oh well. After breakfast I headed out to the Baldwin Trail to simulate the last two legs of the triathlon coming up. The plan was 15 miles on the bike and 5k running. I’d never done anything like this before, and I was a little bit worried. It didn’t slow me down though.

The best part about riding a bike is how quickly the miles pass, even on my albatross of a busted up mountain bike. I think it’s made out of uranium, which is a plus at night because it glows in the dark. The best part about today’s ride was the giant wild turkey in the middle of the bike trail trying to get his gobble on with a flock of hens. This thing was frickin’ huge, and he wasn’t the slightest bit frightened of me bearing down on him at 18 mph. However, I was a little bit scared of him. Giant birds are freaky. I gave him a wide birth, plus I didn’t want to harsh his gig. It’s a guy thing.

I cruised through the ride, jammed my bike back into the car, and started on my run. My legs and my heart – who rarely get uppity at the same time – both said “NO!” My heart rate never got above 145 on the bike. It never dipped below 160 on my run. I felt like I was waddling but I was determined to finish the run. I’ve got less than two months before the real deal, and if I can’t do this now, when am I going to do it? It was 85 degrees and there’s no tree cover for the first three miles on the trail. I was only going out a mile and a half so I was stuck under sun for the duration – and the crackling power lines. These aren’t the wires that squirrels run on in the neighborhood. These wires create magnetic fields that warp space/time and make kids who live near them retarded. There are new developments going up less than 200 yards away from them. I thought that was illegal. Anyway, I struggled with the run from beginning to end. Then I checked my watch and saw that I finished in less than a half an hour. I have no idea how I did it, but I dominated the slightly hilly course. Maybe the wires really did slow down time or shrink space. Either way, I win.

Friday, May 14, 2010

No One Said The Blue Lead Paint Chips Were Poisonous. I Thought It Was Just The Red

For crying the f*ck out f*cking loud.  It's 2010.  Tobacco is bad.  Inhaling smoke is bad.  How could it possibly be good to inhale tobacco smoke?  This isn't arithmetic; two negatives don't equal a positive.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cat Stevens King Airlines

I got an idea on the way home from the beach. I was thinking about Thursday’s episode of 30 Rock where Jack Donaghey was talking about being on a flight to Japan that showed Rising Sun. It was funny for a number of reasons (if you want to see the episode just go to The reason that got me thinking in the car was that an airline would never show Rising Sun as an in flight movie. It’s rated R for violence, language, and nudity. It’s also full of awesome because it stars Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes. Airlines are beyond milquetoast when it comes to their movie choices. My idea is to go the complete opposite way. I’m going to start a bargain basement airline that shows only disturbing in flight movies: Airport, Airport 75, Passenger 57, Castaway, and the pilot episode of Lost. If a plane crashes in the movie, we’re showing it. If someone has a fear of flying, that someone should spend the extra couple of bucks to fly on Southwest or Jet Blue or Pan Am. All of our pilots are going to be of Arab descent. This is your Captain, Habeen Mohammed bin Mohammed. This will do two things. The first is that it will help continue to speed along the healing process between Arab-America and the rest of America. The second is that it will be an opportunity for Arab-Americans to become glorified bus drivers. I’ve flown with Black pilots. The coolest was when American Airlines plane broke (SURPRISE! SURPRISE!) and we got switched to British West Indies on our way to the Caribbean. I was expecting Captain Montgomery Worthington, 9th Earl of Worthington and Duke of Doucestershire. Instead we got some smooth brother from Jamaica flying the plane. I’ve flown with women pilots. I’ve never seen or even heard of an Arab pilot, not even on Air Egypt. Hijackers don’t count as pilots. Anyway, scary movies, Arab pilots, bargain basement prices, and we’ll get you where you’re going on time. Safe but sound isn’t necessarily guaranteed.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We're on a 5, Everybody

Driver 8 is taking a break to concentrate on some other things for a bit. I'm going to try to write here at least once a week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Tales Of Fatigue

This is Sunday’s post and it’s still Friday. I’m no longer sitting in the seminar. I was really antsy and I made the executive decision to skip the next speaker. I don’t do REIT’s anyway. I’m writing this at my desk at home. My PC was out of juice and there was no way I was going to be able to have it with me and not be able to use it. When I got home the first thing I did was call my celly. It wasn’t in the car and I started to panic and have delusions of grandeur. I thought maybe somebody used some high tech car burglary tool to break in and steal my el cheapo phone. I was happy to hear my phone ringing when I called it, but that quickly turned into anger when I figured out the sound was coming from my laptop case, which I had all along. I didn’t forget my phone. I just forgot where I put it. I put it in a pocket that I never use for anything and I spent five minutes emptying my case looking for the stupid thing. I also found the Netflix video. It too was in a place that I never put videos. I have a specific place for them so I know where they are and I can drop them in any random mailbox I happen to pass during the day. I hate being tired. I stopped at Publix – instead of some fast food joint – to get something quick to eat. I got what I thought was a peanut butter Met-Rx bar. It turned out to be an apple pie Met-Rx bar, which wasn’t a bad thing but I didn’t notice what I was picking up because my brain isn’t working. I did notice that the worthless summbitches charged me sales tax for the thing. They never have before. It’s food. It’s processed but it’s still food. It’s not like I got a sandwich at the deli. I started to say something to the checkout lady but what the hell is she going to do? I’m clear-minded enough to know that throwing the protein bar at the assistant manager wouldn’t have gotten my question answered, so I’ll ask about it the next time I’m in Publix after I’ve had a good night’s sleep. On the bright side I’ve written for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so I can leave my computer at home while we go to Disney. Ha-Ha burglars. I’m scheduling this to post after we’ve gotten back. I win losers.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Southern Conundrums

I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be sir.

I’m still in the seminar and I’m writing this for Saturday’s post. Why not get it out of the way? I’m now surfing mommy blogs because the damn LFA network blocks all the gambling and porn sites. Dooce wrote a post giving her experience(s)/opinion(s) of calling people ma’am and sir. She’s from a conservative Southern Mormon family so that was the only way she was allowed to address elders. I grew up in a house full of hippies in communist Montgomery County so the automatic sir/ma’am was never stressed. I was more than a little bit shocked when we moved to the buckle of the Bible belt and every adult rated the automatic title. What I noticed was that since it was demanded it didn’t mean as much. Respect is earned not given. My first example of this was in my sixth grade class. On one end of the spectrum there was me. I respected Mrs. Greer by not being disruptive in class and allowing her to do her job, but she’d have needed something more vicious than anything I’ve seen on The Tudors if she wanted me to call her ma’am. That’s tied to the rebel gene in my DNA. On the other end of the spectrum were the future convicts and drug addicts who were the exact opposite. They thought nothing of Mrs. Greer or her time, but when they were getting handed their daily referrals “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” were the order of the day. I’m going to try to play it by ear with LMJ. I know I’ll never make her call me sir. Daddy is just fine. I also know that “WHAT?!?” isn’t going to be an acceptable response when she’s called. She will respect my Athori-tah. I also don’t know what I’m going to do about the Southern familiar Miss or Mister [insert first name of adult]. Sometimes it’s just dumb. What if she needs to refer to ME? We’re doing tongue twisters now?

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm Tired And Hungry. I Wonder How This Post Is Going To Go

I didn’t sleep well for a number of reasons last night and I’m paying for it now. I’m sitting in a seminar listening to some dude talk about God knows what. The only reason I’m here is to satisfy a continuing education requirement. I could have gone to a session later in the year but I figured why not get it out of the way. I wish I had waited. The things I’ve forgotten so far this morning include the power cord for my computer, breakfast, and my phone. I left my phone in the car, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal but I brought my phone power cord to charge it and now I can’t. I remembered to drop off LMJ’s preschool application but I think I may have dropped my Netflix video in the drop box along with it. When this is all factored into my having to listen to a bunch of wholesalers drone on about statistical measures I don’t think they really understand for the better part of the morning just so I can get one hour of CE, my frustration level is being pushed to the breaking point and it’s not even 9 o’clock. These dirty summbitches didn’t even spring for decent breakfast. I don’t want crappy bagels from Einstein Bagel Bros. These a-holes want me to invest millions of dollars with them but they can’t spring for an omelet guy and a mimosa machine. Get me drunk in the morning, dammitt. This isn’t going to be a good day. I have that weird fatigue and caffeine buzz right behind my eyes. I’m sitting way in the back so my clicking away on the keyboard isn’t quite as rude as it would be if I was sitting up front. I’m thinking about moving up front. If someone has a problem with me, we can step outside.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Thursday At The Park With The Baby Girl

Grammy had to go to Georgia so I got the baby girl today. We went to an off-brand park on the Avondale/Ortega border, Stinson Park. I like to switch it up a little bit. Actually, the way we wound up at the park is kind of funny in a my-daughter-is-going-to-be-a-world-class-control-freak kind of way. I backed out of the driveway and headed towards downtown instead of towards the park. It’s just force of habit. I went a grand total of one block out of the way. I made a three right hand turns and got us to the park. No big deal, right? Wrong! She didn’t like how we got to the park. It was dead to her. I decided not to go to war with her about playing at a park. YOU WILL SWING ON THIS SWING AND YOU WILL LIKE IT! seemed just as irrational as her disqualifying the park as a suitable place to play because I pulled in the wrong driveway, so we moved on. Stinson Park was a lot more crowded than our neighborhood park, which was a good thing. My baby girl is growing up so fast. She was a little timid but she played well with other kids and put my mind at ease about her transition into school. There were a few funny spots. The first was when a little five or six year old girl was climbing a serpentine jungle gym while LMJ gave the play-by-play and the color commentary: “She’s climbing all the way to the top, Daddy. She’s very strong.” When the little girl climbed down LMJ gave her a round of applause. It was a little bit awkward for the little girl. LMJ figured if the little girl could climb this thing then she could too, and headed up. I had to put the brakes on because I couldn’t reach LMJ and if she fell she would bounce off this metal apparatus at least once and all I would be able to do is try to catch her before she fell the full ten feet to the ground. She thought I wasn’t doing anything but hatin’ on a playa. She also climbed a weirdly shaped ladder that I can’t describe (should have taken a picture) and got to the highest platform on a multi-plaything-slide-tunnel thing. She worked very hard to do it and was very proud of herself. The funny part was when a five year old boy was whining about not being able to climb this ladder that my not quite three year old just finished climbing, and his grandmother made him climb it. After he got to the top she thought he was fine and went to chase his more courageous brother who was headed for the river. The little bitch started to cry (I blame the Crocs). There was another little boy on the platform that had been playing with LMJ earlier, sharing an elephant ride, and when the little bitch started crying he tried to hug him. It was the sweetest thing. We had a fantastic day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Au Natural

My watch was magically out of juice again. I didn’t find out until I was downstairs and outside. I put my watch on top of the van so it could get a satellite sync and I saw “Low Battery”. I almost freaked, but then I thought about an article that I had read. It was about running without a bunch of techno-felgercarb. I didn’t go techno-naked. I still brought my iPod. I was a anxious not knowing all my current stats: how far I had gone, how fast I was running, how long I had been running, my direction, my heart rate, and the time of day. But all of that faded away after the first mile (I guess). It was strangely liberating to just go with the flow. I listened to my body and had a very comfortable run. The only differences were that I didn’t sprint the last 200 yards and I immediately ran upstairs to see how long I had been gone. I looked at the time on the cable box right before I left and I wanted to see if I had gotten back in less than an hour (I did). I think I’m going to run once a week without my watch, at least. Exact time is irrelevant unless I’m going to set a world record – and I’m not. I think my exercise life would be a lot simpler and a lot less frustrating if I stopped using my watch. I don’t need a heart monitor; I know how I feel, and whether or not I’m pushing myself. I’m going to try backing away from the tech stuff bit by bit and see if I can get rid of all of it, including the iPod. I don’t know if I’m ready to get rid of my shoes but that is a movement that’s becoming more and more popular. Running barefoot, or getting as close as possible, is supposed to help make the stride more efficient. We’ll see how long this natural phase lasts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Blades Of Vengance Never Dull

This hasn’t been a good writing week for me. Nothing is happening. I’m working too much and so I’m not seeing anything. The most exciting thing that’s happened is that I can watch my Netflix through my Wii, and a bunch of Joss Whedon stuff is on. I never got into Firefly when it was on. I don’t think Fox pushed it very hard. It was a really good show and I’m surprised that Sci-Fi didn’t pick it up. I’m going to be done with it in a week or so and I wish that there had been more than the one season. Ron Glass is in Firefly. I don’t know if he worked between this and Barney Miller. I also found Dollhouse, which has been cancelled, but at least there are two seasons of it. I’ve always been an Eliza Dushku fan going back to True Lies – the Guvanator’s last good movie and the last time Jamie Lee Curtis was cast as a hottie. I know it’s not a good week when the limited amount of television I’m now watching is the highlight. Work has been keeping me too busy to exercise. I think that might be why I’m in a funk. I’m not releasing any endorphins. I would mention an event coming up but I read on the interwebs that I shouldn’t publish my comings and goings because burglars use the information to break in and steal stuff. Whatever, if the interwebs say so. If someone broke into our house it would be hard to distinguish between stealing and cleaning. This is all assuming this Ocean’s 11 team was able to get past the moat, the dragon in the moat, the Malaysian Tiger traps, and the gauntlet of hatred. And even if they were able to do all that they would never be able to sleep in the same place twice, lest they fall to my righteous revenge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Not Ready To Wake Up

The baby girl has two distinct, vastly different waking up styles. One is beautiful. The other is kinda funny, and it makes it very hard not to mess with her. The first style is made of sunshine and butterfly kisses. She wakes up in the morning with this style. There are lots of hugs and “I love you’s” and “It’s a beautiful day, Daddy”. These make me happy and start my day off on a positive note almost every day. The second style is made of pure uncut Bolivian grumpy. This style appears after naps when she’s woken up instead of when she wakes up. I always keep it positive when I wake her up. I sing to her and I tell her how much I love her. Her response is always some variation of “STOP!” There’s “Stop! I don’t want to wake up” and there’s “Stop! That’s enough” and occasionally it’s “Go away”. Yesterday, I asked her if I could tell her that I loved her and she told me yes, because I should go back out there and stop talking to her. She dismissed me to the living room. It’s the cutest thing ever, and it’s really hard not to push her buttons. We need her to wake up so she isn’t going to bed at midnight, so I feel completely justified singing showtunes to her. She doesn’t like me singing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” or “When I Take You Out In My Surry”. I have to be careful though. If I start singing too soon, before she’s given up on falling back asleep, she gets angry and starts kicking her legs. I feel bad that I think her feral rage is cute as a button, and I try to be empathetic. If someone was waking me up like that I’d have murder on my mind too. Oh well, too bad for her that I’m so much bigger than she is.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Protein, Carbs, Ruffage, and Conspiracies

Today was much better than yesterday and I didn’t even leave the house. I take that back. I did leave the house to make a Starbucks run for dessert. Other than that I puttered around like a shut-in. The day started with an ambitious breakfast effort by MJ and Grammy. I don’t know what got into them but they decided to make eggs Benedict for breakfast. We all showed remarkable restraint, only having two eggs a piece, except for LMJ. She’s on some kind of Ms. Olympia bodybuilder diet. MJ scrambled up the leftover egg whites from the hollandaise sauce – there were like four of them – and added one whole egg and put it all on a plate for the baby girl. She loves eggs but come on. She’s not Gaston. Or maybe she is because she cleaned her plate and asked for more. I can’t eat only egg whites. They’re completely tasteless with a rubbery texture. I guess LMJ is just hardcore. The womenfolk had just started on a walk around the neighborhood when my parents showed up bearing gifts of bagels and cream cheese (and scones). We sat around talking politics for a while, and an idea I’ve been having coalesced into a fully formed thought about our president, his predecessor, and global conspiracies. I don’t take conspiracy theories seriously (say that 5 times fast) but this one I’m pretty sure is true, and it scares the living crap out of me. If I have some time to think it through tomorrow I may write about it. And if something happens to me, I don’t launder money and I would never kill myself. After my parents left and LMJ fell asleep I was able to watch some NBA playoff basketball. I felt a little foolish that my dad may have been at home watching Kevin Durant (the DURANTULA) have one of his worst games of the season after I raved about how unstoppable Durant is. I ironed all my shirts for the week. I had a salad with grilled chicken for dinner. I’m finishing this post. And I’m going to bed ready for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

At Least It's Over

Today was completely and utterly unremarkable. We had a very full day of getting nothing accomplished. Anything we tried failed miserably and opened up a bunch of new problems. The highlight of the day was a late breakfast at Panera and LMJ’s first drive thru car wash, which scared her a little bit. After 10am the day went downhill. The fail started when I took the van to get the oil changed for twenty bucks and was informed by the clerk that I needed to get my 30k mile maintenance done for $400. Sorry dude, I planned on spending 1/20th of that and don’t appreciate you trying to increase my bill exponentially. Fortunately for everyone involved, he mentioned it to me instead of trying to sell it to me. I got home, complained about the car, and had a crappy lunch. I took a subpar nap, which isn’t really a bad thing; it just wasn’t a great nap. After my nap we played LMJ’s new game, High-Ho Cherry-O. It’s a counting game with a bunch of hard plastic cherries that just isn’t very engaging. I tried to fix my bicycle tire. I’ve been looking forward to getting my bike fixed so I could ride the Baldwin trail sometime next week. It’s a 14 mile bike trail with no cars around. I may have to wait a little longer because the new inner tube I put on my wheel popped before I could even get it back onto my bike. I don’t know if I over inflated it or if it was defective because the pressure gauge on the new air pump MJ bought doesn’t work. I don’t think I over inflated the tire. I could still squeeze it with my hand and it’s supposed to be inflated to 100 p.s.i. Finally, it’s 10:40 and I’m still waiting for Farm Bureau Insurance to call me back so we can start the process of getting Grammy’s car fixed. Oh well, on the bright side, tomorrow can’t be any worse than today was unless I get diagnosed with cancer, and I’m not going to the doctor.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My Brain Is Pudding

This has been a seriously messed up day. We woke the baby girl up early to help get her on a more reasonable schedule. It ended in unmitigated fail. She patently refused to take a nap, and how do you make someone sleep who doesn’t want to sleep – barring techniques that are illegal to local police. She finally tapped out at 3:45pm – 45 minutes after her supposed wake up time. I let her sleep for about a half an hour before I woke her up. I wasn’t going to be reading stories to a little girl at 11:30 tonight.

While I was dealing with a very tired, very stubborn two year old, Grammy called and offered to go get pizza for dinner. There’s a picture of her next to the word Godsend in the dictionary. Unfortunately, on her way to Moon River some chick ran a stop sign and there was a fender bender. No one was hurt but now there’s a brand new pain in the ass that we have to deal with: a jacked up bumper, two auto insurance companies, and a car dealer.

LMJ is trying to kick her sleep habit. We woke her up early, she got a short late nap, and none of it mattered to her. She was still wide awake at 9:15, like she’s going to miss something. I’m writing a stupid blog post and nursing a beer. I’m Keith Richards. MJ is either sleeping or reading a stupid book. She’s Janis Joplin. Go to sleep little girl; there’s nothing to see here!**

**I’m not sure exactly who’s reading this, but comments pertaining to the alleged actions and attitudes of a boy between the years 1973-1981, irony, payback being a pedigreed pureblood female dog, or the cathartic humor that is a large part of being a grandparent are unnecessary and unwelcome - .ed

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Veto Leads To First Openly Gay President

Governor Crist vetoed Senate Bill 6 today and there aren’t anywhere near enough votes to override it. I’m not feeling a wash of relief roll over me, however. Maybe it’s because of cynicism or my belief that Jeb Bush will reintroduce it a year from now after Crist is gone and Thrasher is governor. I have no faith in the fine, fine people of Florida. I also don’t have any faith in Charlie Crist. I don’t buy that he was swayed in the least by the plight of the special needs teacher that teaches one of his friend’s kids. He was painted into a political corner and vetoing the bill was his only option. He’s a lame duck governor and he’s going to get crushed in his senatorial primary by Marco Rubio. Crist was polite and cordial to Barack Obama and must therefore be shunned by the Florida Republican party. Vetoing this bill gives him a shot at winning the general election as an independent – see Joe Leiberman. Public school teachers will vote for him. They owe him. Non-wingnut Republicans will vote for him. Rubio is running on a standard “Conservative Values” Florida Republican platform, but he’s relatively inexperienced as a politician, and this is for the United States Senate not the Florida 111th congressional district. His Cuban heritage won’t help him as much as it normally would in south Florida because the Democrat running is Maurice Ferre – borinqueño and six term mayor of Miami. There could be a split and Crist might be able to run through the hole. This is before we get to business done while the possum crawls. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if deals have been made to limit support to Ferre by the Democrats if they don’t think he can win, figuring a moderate like Crist who owed them would be better than a young right-wing psycho trying to make his bones and might be in the Senate for the next forty years. The goal for Crist, I think, is to keep Rubio from winning a majority in the general election and causing a run-off with Ferre falling by the wayside. Crist would win all the Democrats' votes and the moderate Republicans' votes. If it gets to a run-off he could even come out of the closet and still win.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stomach Knots

This has been an interesting day so far. My mind is heavy with thoughts. They’re coming from everywhere but they’re all ending up in the exact same place: where should we send the baby girl to pre-school. The pre-school issue is just a loose thread of my sanity that I can’t help pulling and it’s unraveling everything. Actually, I’m not really worried about the pre-school. I’m going to be happy with whichever one we choose. There’s no bad decision to be made. My anxiety starts two years down the road when we have to choose an elementary school. My experience as a mentor at West Riverside, our tour of RPDS, and Senate Bill 6 have brought into sharp focus for me that I cannot send LMJ to a Duval County public school. But I also desperately don’t want to send her to RPDS. RPDS is everything we want in an elementary school with one massive exception: its borderline unconscionable monochromatic nature. I’d be surprised if 90% of the student body isn’t related three generations removed and most of the teachers are alumni (cue the banjos). I don’t want LMJ being the one funny looking kid throughout elementary school. One of three in a class is fine but she can’t be alone. It’s 2010 for crying out loud. My anxiety was magnified by reading the comments about Ron Littlepage’s take on Senate Bill 6. That’s a thousand percent my fault, and worse, it sent me stat searching for teacher salaries just to prove a point (I didn’t comment on the Times-Union page). On average Georgia pays $1,000 more than Florida to start and jumps 42% over ten years as opposed to Florida’s 30% jump over that period. I also looked at a stat called “salary comfort index” which compares the average salary to the average cost of living. Georgia is 3rd in the nation. Florida is 26th. This is before the What Have You Done For Me Lately To Make My Pimp’s Brother Neil Rich(er) bill erodes job security and morale. Atlanta is full of families that look like mine. Leaving Jacksonville hasn’t entered the transom of my mind in fifteen years, but now I’m actively considering it for LMJ’s future. Although there are a myriad – a plethora, if you will – of other factors, I can’t come up with a concrete downside for her. Leaving town is an absolute last ditch effort like jumping off the Titanic, and while the hull hasn’t been breached we’re scraping the iceberg.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I wore myself out swimming this morning. It had been far too long since I had been in the pool. I cut my workout short because I didn’t want to overdue it, and there’s nothing interesting about my swim to write about. I looked at a black line on the bottom of the pool, I rinsed, I repeated.

Instead I’m going to write about stuff that I read in the New York Times today. An interesting note about Justice John Paul Stevens’s retirement is that he is/was the only Protestant justice on the bench. Everyone else is a Catholic or a Jew. I have no idea what that means – if anything – but I find it an interesting bit of trivia.

I read five opinions of academics on why educated people use bad words. I thought they were all pretty close to the mark. The opinions ranged from sometimes people need a little extra umph in expressing an emotion to profanity as a rebellious social bonding mechanism. The same word is used by two different vice presidents in both examples. Dick Cheney used the F-word to let a congressman know how angry he was, while Joe Biden used the F-word to share a victory moment with the president. Profanity is used more in places that have thrown off the yoke of imperial colonialism. Americans and Australians curse more than the English do. Mexicans and Cubans curse more than Spaniards. I love bad words. There’s a poetry to profanity. That’s why people have a much harder time cursing in a foreign language. That’s why everyone reverts back to their mother tongue when they need to let someone know what’s what. The Govenator has been here for forty years and speaks great, if heavily accented, English, but he has maybe three phrases he uses in his movies. I would be surprised if he didn’t slip back into some German when he talks to Maria about the California legislature. I’ve been trying to learn how to curse in Spanish for years. I’ve got a book specifically for it, but I have no idea how it flows.

Actually, the book is about how the same words mean different things in different parts of Latin America and how not to get embarrassed trying to get a taxi to the airport. They need to come out with a dirty Rosetta Stone. I’d buy them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Non-Spring Break Is Not As Much Fun As Spring Break

It’s hard getting back into the routine. I like waking up at 7 a lot more than I like waking up at 5. I had a bunch of work to do so I couldn’t get to the gym today. I hate that. It starts my week off all wrong. I need to look at my calendar before I go to bed instead of first thing when I wake up. On the plus side, getting into the office early helped me be efficient all day long, but that doesn’t make up for missing my exercise time (or my nap time). Tonight was the first time in three weeks that LMJ got a chance to go to My Gym. We arrived early, which is a minor miracle. Trekking out to Mandarin at rush hour usually has us showing up right as the class is starting. I was a little worried when we walked in because I saw new coaches. New coaches suck. These two weren’t as bad as some other first timers we’ve had, but they didn’t have the gymnasium control that we like. Our favorite, Coach Jordan, was there but we think she’s some kind of assistant manager or something because she tends to delegate and spends a lot of time in the office. Despite my trepidations, LMJ had a great night. She tried a whole bunch of new stuff – everything that we asked her to try. She had her best separation time so far, which I didn’t think was possible without Coach Jordan in the active mix. One of the new coaches was a little bit pushy – as opposed to encouraging – and I thought LMJ was going to melt down on her. It didn’t happen. She sat there like a big girl and played with some alphabet jigsaw puzzles and avoided getting hit in the head with a jigsaw cutout hammer. After the class and after the shock of how much lighter it is at 7pm now than it was three weeks ago, we stopped at Whole Foods to load up on fancy yogurt for the week. I’ve looked at my schedule, and unless something changes overnight, I’m all packed for swimming and running tomorrow morning.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Great Spring Weekend

Today was not busy but it was a hell of a lot of fun. We had bagels from Panera for breakfast and then headed out to the beach. The weather was just like it was yesterday afternoon so some members of the party were bundled up. A group of boys had dug a hole yesterday and didn’t fill it in (bad form). MJ decided to play hermit crab and move in. She and Grammy thought it would be a good way to get out of the wind. LMJ had a blast getting in and out of the hole repeatedly. I refused to get in because of my nostalgia from the Great War. I’m not getting in a trench. A po-po rolled up and asked us if we’d dug the hole. I said, “F**K YOU, MOTHEF**KER. I AIN’T GOTTA ANSWER A MOTHERF**KING THING!!!” and handed him my attorney’s card. MJ unzipped her sweatshirt a little bit, licked her lips, and asked “Is there a problem, officer?” He asked us to fill in the hole before we left because sea turtles are laying their eggs and it was more than deep enough for one to get trapped. This hole was dug by about eight boys between the ages of fourteen and sixteen with no females around. In other words there was a lot of energy available for the digging e.g. it was very deep and very wide. We started pushing sand back into the hole without a proper shovel. Grammy went to the van to get a proper shovel; I was using a bucket to pull sand into the hole, while MJ and LMJ enjoyed some Doritos. Damn, I want my union card. We did a fair job of making the beach sea turtle friendly, played for a bit longer, and then went home. We stayed at the beach a little bit too long because everyone was starving (despite the Doritos for some of us) so we decided on fried chicken for dinner and peel ‘n eat shrimp for lunch. I feel bad because all weekend long MJ wanted some peel ‘n eat shrimp but for some reason it never happened. We wound up having beanie weenies for lunch, but we did score with a proper brown and white Southern dinner with some fried chicken as the staple. I started this weekend as grumpy as grumpy can be, but no matter how much I try to hang on to it, my bad mood is no match for the beach. It’s been a great weekend and a great end to MJ’s spring break. Half an hour in the pool and an hour running tomorrow

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Run. Bike. Windy Beach

I’m pretty tired after a long day. It started with a run through Riverside – I’m back. I went early – for me, anyway – to take advantage of the cool weather. Running in 60 degree weather is a lot easier than 70 degree weather. I ran the same course this morning that I ran yesterday afternoon and pulled six minutes off my time. Basically, I took a minute a mile off my pace. I came home expecting to shower and immediately head to the beach but those plans got nixed. Instead of going in the morning we decided to go in the afternoon, after LMJ’s nap. To pass the time I ate hamburgers and watched a little bit of golf. Golf sucks. MJ said she wanted to go on a bike ride before spring break was over so I headed to the (new) bike shop to get an inner tube. It’s a miracle I didn’t walk out with a new bike. I started talking to the owner about my triathlon ambitions, and he gave me some really good pointers. It wasn’t anything I didn’t already know but it was stuff that I’ve pushed into the denial part of my brain. Stuff like road bikes are smaller, lighter, and faster than off-road bikes. He also took the time to insist that I show him my bike before he sold me an inner tube to make sure he was selling me what I needed. He wanted me to test ride some road bikes to see the difference, which was clearly a sales pitch but it wasn’t really. I like him a lot more than I like the other bike guy that I’ve been giving money to for the past three years. I can’t believe that I kept going to that jackass who always acted like I was inconveniencing him with my business. I kept going because he’s local and I try to support local businesses as much as I can. So is the new guy but I had to choose Riverside over Avondale – not anymore. We wound up skipping the bike ride so we could make it to the beach before the sun went down. It was a freezing 70 degrees so Grammy and MJ got bundled up and almost bought the baby girl some snow shoes. Seriously, they covered LMJ up in TWO sweatshirts and spent a fair amount of time on the beach making sure her ears were covered. We didn’t want her losing an ear to Jack Frost. It’s funny because I’m on the extreme opposite of the temperature spectrum and loved the windy beach weather. It was the first time I’d been comfortable all day. I really shouldn’t make too much fun of Grammy and MJ. Last winter I didn’t notice the baby girl was cold at the park until her hands turned pink.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bucky Katt Has A Guitar. Your Argument Is Invalid.


My computer is in Orlando getting fixed.  I'm tired.  I'm grumpy.  I don't feel like writing.  I may make up for this week ass post sometime later this year (or not).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just Because I'm Paranoid Doesn't Mean They're Not After Me

I’m writing this only to stop my screensaver from kicking in while a brand new virus scan runs – it also gets my post for the day out of the way. I’m thinking about blaming Steve Jobs and Apple for my computer woes. There’s some twisted mutant virus on my computer that my tech guy has been working on for more than four hours. The thing shutdown my virus software and Tom had to install some new program. I’m trying to resist asking him about this new program and if it’s better than the old program why it wasn’t installed in the first place. It’s not his fault. He’s even more at the mercy of large corporate bureaucracy than I am. I also ran the numbers for what I’m paying for this machine, and basically my own personal tech guy, and I don’t really have any room to complain. LFA gouges me on a bunch of stuff but not the actual computer. The advanced nature of the virus that’s infecting my computer is what’s leading me to blindly accusing Steve Jobs. I think Apple is flooding the interweb with these viruses to push people towards their products. I didn’t go to some freaky deaky website to get this virus. I only go to heavily trafficked sites that depend on that traffic for their income. If they don’t keep their site in order then people will stop coming to them. I know I’m cutting ties to one of my favorite sites because it’s the only one that I can think of that acted funny. It’s the premier MMA bulletin board. It’s a huge site with ties to ESPN, but it’s the only site that I frequent that even might be a little bit vulnerable to virus and spyware piggybacks, unless it’s the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports, Facebook, or Blogger. Those are the only sites, and sites within those networks, that I visit for non-business stuff. The virus isn’t even going after my passwords and personal information. It’s only dropping porno icons on my desktop. That’s why this has to be a conspiracy that involves some pretty sophisticated programming, and the only people who would gain from this would be Apple.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Broken Computer Day 2

I still have tech issues

  • long run
  • pool with friends
  • good day

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6 2010

Another day, another computer problem. I don’t know what it is about this machine. I’m making this post short. It’s only serving as a marker.

• I have another computer problem
• We got a new tire on the van
• I missed my chance to workout
• Today has been a really busy day of nothing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First Good Sweat Of 2010

It got hot quick today. When I was leaving to go to the gym this morning MJ was headed back upstairs to get a jacket. That doesn’t really mean anything because she could be in Death Valley in August and if there was a breeze she’d want a jacket, but there was a chill in the air as I got in the car. That chill was gone after I drove two miles to the Y and got out of the car. When I finished my pushups and pull-ups it was hot. Just because the temperature was speeding towards 85 and I’m still getting over a cold and the air is four parts pollen, one part air doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do a couple of bridge loops. I had planned on running for 90 minutes and doing the elliptical for an hour. I would have gotten in the pool but geriatric aquaerobics dominates all but one lane between 8am and noon on Mondays. I decided on doing the bridge loops instead of going on a long run because I didn’t have any sun tan lotion. I figured that 45 minutes of bridges at least equals 90 minutes through Riverside. The 45 minutes turned into an hour because running up and down the Main Street and Acosta bridges is hard. Much, much harder than a long flat run. Thanks to the heat and the inclines I made the executive decision to skip the elliptical altogether. I wound up only running about five and a half miles but I’m about done for the day. I fueled up and hydrated the way I’m supposed to and I didn’t crash. However, Gu is disgusting. It tasted like orange marmalade (minus the bits of fruit) but finished like Triaminic. I ate it about two hours ago and I can still taste it. I have a strawberry banana one that I’m now afraid of. On the plus side my backpack dominates. I had room for three pairs of shoes, a change of clothes and all my gadgets. Now that I’m done, I’m glad summer is back.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I Might Be An Alcoholic

Another Easter Sunday, another celebration of our Lord and Savior climbing out of Hell with family and friends and wine. (Side note: Word is telling me that whole thing is a fragment and I guess it is since it doesn’t have a verb, but it’s a complete thought. Maybe if I changed climbing to Savior’s climb Word would like it better.) Last year we had eggs Benedict and asparagus with my parents. This year we had steak and asparagus with my parents, and I had a bottle of Merlot. The reason I know what we had last year is because I looked at last year’s post. I’m doing that more and more. I’m using myself as a reference. Last year I wrote about building an animatronic zombie Jesus and Passover Land. I never got around to it. Grammy bought a bottle of Merlot to serve with Easter dinner. She also got some world class steaks. My mom playa hated on my dad and made him share his steak with her, something about red meat, cholesterol, and heart attacks. I wasn’t really paying attention. I was busy scarfing down my three pound steak as fast as I could before someone tried to take it away from me. I also was the only one to have any wine. It was a classic textbook situation. I had a two glasses with my steak and asparagus. The wine was surprisingly good. Everyone else had water or iced tea. Once we were done eating MJ and LMJ went to take a nap and Grammy, my parents and I sat around and talked about all kinds of things. We talked about politics and genealogy, and I had a third glass of wine and after that it would have been silly not to finish the bottle, so I did. Then I took a nap. I’m calling that a good Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This To Shall Pass (Not Too Quickly I Hope)

We let the baby girl sleep in today because she hasn’t been sleeping well and we were worried that it was starting to take a toll on her. She woke up at 9:30, just in time for a blueberry bagel. The late rise pushed the day back. We were planning to go the beach but instead of early morning, like we normally do, we got there in the early afternoon. Strangely enough, the beach was packed. When did the beach become popular on the first day of spring break? We drove around for an hour looking for a parking spot and we finally found one by ME’s condo. It’s in Jax Beach and we normally go to Atlantic Beach but it worked out for the best today. We were still looking for an open spot in the sand when we found (were found by) KI. What are the chances? This is where my day really started to pick up. KI’s husband SI offered me a beer. We sat there drinking on the beach, it was cool. The day got kind of funny in a schadenfreude way when a group of young guys started tossing a football in front of us. One of them had “This to shall pass” tattooed on his chest in big cursive letters. He was missing the second O on his “too” and there’s no room to add it. It was a tattoo. It’s permanent. We don’t know if anyone has ever told him. MJ blames the tattoo artist. I say buyer beware. It was a tattoo artist not an English professor. KI and SI left to dye Easter eggs with family but were quickly replaced by ME, her kids, and most importantly, her husband CE. My day picked up again when CE offered me another beer. We visited for another hour and a half before we reluctantly started home. This was a more than solid start to beach season. What began as a chore to find a parking space turned out to be one of the best beach days ever. Just like it always does, the beach reminded us of why we live here. I’ve always liked the sentiment of the proverb dude had on his chest, but I hope beach days will be an exception.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yes I Want Some Cheese With My Whine

Today is supposed to be Good Friday. It isn’t. I don’t think Jesus would have named it that. I think he would have named it F**ked Up Friday, and that’s what today has been for me. I still can’t breathe and I had a crappy bike ride that culminated with a flat tire. It was truly providence that I didn’t lose my shit and smash my bicycle. I don’t know if flat tires are something that avid bike riders just deal with or if I’m something special. It seems that every third time I ride my bike I get a flat tire. I hate that. I didn’t even get to ride ten miles. It was just a giant waste of time and energy. If I was riding off road I don’t think the equipment failure would bother me as much or at least I would understand it. I’m riding on public roads and sidewalks in nice neighborhoods. I don’t know why but I get the real feeling that the dude at the bike shop sold me some defective tires. I’ve always gotten a weird vibe from him. I think it’s best for everyone involved if I change bike shops.

As for our Lord and Savior, he had a much worse FUF back then than I did today. He was flogged, stabbed and crucified. That’s a really bad way to go. You just hang there until your shoulder muscles fail and then you suffocate. You also have to carry your own cross up the hill.
I remember a couple of jackasses in the early UFC that carried crosses to the octagon to show their devotion to Christ. They both got crushed. The second got his gonads pounded into fine paste in the most brutal display of violence I’ve ever witnessed. He’s been the punchline for almost twenty years. He’s MMA’s version of the Wide World of Sports “Agony of Defeat” guy. A couple of years ago a breakthrough in DNA testing proved he was a sadistic rapist and now he’s spending the twenty-five years in prison.

I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything other than me being in a bad mood on a twisted holiday. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Can You See Yourself In My Classroom Next Year, Johnny?

MJ and KI worked themselves almost to death trying to be the best teachers they could be today. The first thing I heard from MJ this morning was “I’m so tired I want to vomit”. Good morning to you too, Sweetie Pie. When MJ got home she was on the verge of tears telling me about her day and the state of education. She and KI had spent the day planning the fourth quarter, which in my mind was dumb. When the great Senate Bill 6 becomes Florida Law Bend Over, the fourth quarter isn’t going to be for teaching the current kids anything new. They’ve already taken the FCAT. They have no further effect on their teachers’ incomes. For all intents and purposes they’re dead. The fourth quarter should be used strictly for scouting next year’s students and buttering up the principal or whatever administrator is in charge of next year’s scheduling. Teachers should stop doing the best they can with the students who walk through their doors, whoever they may be, and start recruiting like this was big time college sports. Sure, it may cost a teacher a couple hundred dollars in bribes to the front office staff. That money’s going to come back in blue chip test taking students, and blue chip test taking students mean ca$h. Now that I think about it, a smart teacher is going to make sure she’s the principal’s secretary’s favorite. I imagine it would just be a matter of time before there were a bunch of rules concerning recruiting students, and just like college sports; those rules would be circumvented or outright ignored, especially since money’s on the line. The fact that it’s going to be a relatively small amount of money – thousands of dollars to individual teachers as opposed to millions of dollars to corporations – will make the cheating much easier to rationalize. I’m so glad John Thrasher is on the job. /sarcasm

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same

I got stuck in the office all day today so nothing happened that was worth writing about. Since I was at work I wasn’t at the gym or running. I still can’t breathe, and since I have to write about something, I looked back at what I had written during this week last year. A lot has changed during the past year and a lot has remained the same. On March 31st last year I was whining about being stuck in my office. That’s not the least bit familiar. However, the exercise posts for that week, while similar in that I wrote about not getting to the gym, were about the pain of lifting weights: deadlifts and squats and whatnot. I had completely forgotten about that crap. I wonder if it will ever make it back into my routine or if it’s going to fade away with the rest of my youth. I honestly don’t miss them. Running is so much simpler and less painful. I also wrote a post this week last year about politicians ruining education with stupid top down policies written by evil people with ulterior motives. This year it’s Jeb Bush and John Thrasher. Last year it was Bill Gates and Barack Obama. It reminds me of a Joe Pesci line from My Cousin Vinny: Well, it’s either me or it’s them, but one way or another you’re getting f**ked. I honestly wish I knew what it was like to have faith in an elected official or at least not hold them – all of them – in bitter contempt. I don’t know which would be worse, but I know at least one of the following is the truth: they’re either all criminally incompetent and are trying their best or they’re all just criminals and are not trying at all.
Wow, that became a really negative post. On a high note, there’s an extended trailer for The Expendables online

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Not Where I Was But Not Square One

Discretion and business were the better part of valor this morning. My body told me to hold off a little bit so I did. I still can’t breathe. I went into the office early and got some paperwork done instead. Today was a beautiful and I felt antsy all day. I really wanted to get some exercise. MJ got home early and we all went to Starbucks. She went to get some grading done. LMJ and I went to walk around Memorial Park. Grammy went for some free coffee. LMJ and I walked up to the statue and I read the plaque for the first time ever. I’ve lived here for almost 30 years. I’ve lived within two miles of the statue for more than 25 of those 30 years. The park is dedicated to the memory of the veterans of World War I. You learn something every day. The time outside pushed me over the edge, and when we got home I went for a short run. Welcome back heat. Welcome back sunburn. Welcome back dehydration. I ran exceedingly slow and it was still a bit of a struggle. I ran 90 seconds slower per mile than I’ve been running. I’m proud of myself for keeping my ego in check and not trying to speed up. It was a good thing too. I sprinted the last hundred yards as I finished and then spent the next five minutes hacking like a mustard gas victim with tuberculosis. I feel like I want to stick a pipe cleaner down my throat and into my lungs to clean all the garbage out. I don’t know if it was a good idea to get out there today or not, but I’m glad I did – regretting things we don’t do more than things we do. The cold and inactivity have taken their toll on my body though. I only ran 3 miles but I can already tell that I’m going to be sore tomorrow. Oh well, nothing to do but burn through it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Swim. Bike. Run

I think I’m done with the cold to allergies transition. My energy is back but my snot production is still at wartime levels. I’m going to try to exercise tomorrow. My backpack arrived and it’s awesome. I went way overboard, but I couldn’t resist the price. People have climbed Mt. Everest with smaller backpacks. It’s definitely bigger than anything I’ve seen someone riding a bike wear. I don’t care. I’ve got a lot of stuff to carry. I’m going to start riding my bike to the gym: triathlon training, gas savings, I already bought the locks, cool backpack. I’m going to need to carry my running stuff that doesn’t overlap with riding my bike, all my swim stuff, my drinks, my energy gels, and possibly my shower stuff, depending on how pretty I want to be and if I want to take a shower at the Y when I’m just going to have to jump right back on my bike for the ride home. Tomorrow is going to be the first time that I’ve done all three phases in the same day. I should probably ease back into things but I’m not going to. I’m excited. I guess it’s going to wind up being 5 miles on the bike, 500 hundred yards in the pool, and 5 miles running. I’m not really adding that much to the routine. 5 miles on my bike is nothing. I may extend the trip home, depending on how I feel. I want to run outside tomorrow so I can see the true stats on my watch, but I don’t think I will. The pollen count is just too high. I think NOAA has it at infinity. The air is absolutely disgusting. I hope it rains tonight and sticks most of it to the ground. If it rains and I can get out early enough, before it dries, the plants won’t have a chance to fill the air up again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting Carried Away

I’m sick as a dog

My allergies have replaced

My cold. I can’t breathe.

However, this picture illustrates a new exercise program guaranteed to get results quickly. For the low, low price of a case of Heineken a week, I will let you chase my daughter around. Resistance training? We got that. She weighs about 30lbs. and she’s getting bigger every day. Cardio? We got that. She’ll run all day long if you’re up for it and even if you’re not.

Hold on, I’m getting a message from Corporate. NO WAY! THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN DO THIS! If you act now – operators are standing by – you can start this program for just a 12-pack of Heineken. Folks, I’m going out of business here to get you fit. I’ve done my part. The rest is up to you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Obligatory Filler

I just hit the wall so there’s a really good chance that this post isn’t going to make any sense. I hate being sick. I was feeling better and then BAM! I felt a wave of fatigue wash over me. The baby girl isn’t ready for bed. The kitchen isn’t clean. There’s basketball to watch, and I’m totally spent. I don’t care if any of that stuff gets done. LMJ can stay up and watch television all night as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got enough saved on the DVR to keep her entertained until tomorrow morning. As long as I’m in bed by 9pm (it’s 8:45 right now) I don’t care.

With the exception of the runny nose and coughing, I had a really good day. I got a load of laundry done. I read the baby girl some stories. I watched the first four episodes of The Sopranos, and I finished it all off with a steak dinner. The steak wasn’t as good as it was last week but it was still a steak so it was pretty good.

I haven’t exercised since last Monday and I’m starting to freak out. Did I mention how much I hate being sick? It’s not so much that I’m missing the actual exercise, which I am. It’s that this bacteria or virus or whatever is taking me backwards. I’m not just missing a week of gains. I’m having what amounts to a three week setback. I’m feeling better than I was two days ago, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s almost April and the end of July will be here before I know it. I tried to rationalize the lost week with the excuse that my tricked out backpack isn’t here yet so I couldn’t get started on my new regimen with bike riding mixed in. It’s all crap. I blew up during the River Run and I’m determined not to have that happen in my triathlon. There’s no place to rest in the ocean so I better be ready.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Florida Senate Bill 6, I'm In Jim

A letter to the editor in the Times-Union got me on board with Senate Bill 6. Actually, it was the way the writer ended the letter.

If this bill is such a good idea, then have elected officials link their pay to the economic well-being of their constituents.

If foreclosures rise, unemployment increases or incomes drop, let that be reflected in the pay of elected officials.

If they can't fix the problems, then they should be held accountable beyond simply losing an election - after all teachers can be fired, too.

As Thrasher said, it's "about having the best and brightest."



I’m willing to sacrifice public education and teachers – sorry everyone – in the short term because this new random accountability will fix government.

We’ll break government responsibilities – federal, state, and municipal – into three big categories: Economics, Education, and Security. Elected officials will have their salaries and eligibility to run for re-election tied to each category. Mr. Brock has already provided the framework for the economic section. I would only add a GDP standard: 5% growth a year and a bonus is available, 2 years out of 4 with less than that and the official isn’t eligible to run for re-election.

Senator Thrasher has outlined the education portion, but with the amendment that a third of his salary and career is now dependent on how public school students do on the FCAT, so no matter how many kids get vouchered into private schools, whoever is left will be the determining factor.

The third piece is security and Florida might not be the best place for a politician. There needs to be a 5% drop in violent crime every year. Convictions and prison sentences are not factors. The only factor is man’s inhumanity towards man, and it needs to be trending towards zero.

I'm willing to bet that this would push public education to the top of the priority list since it's the only thing that has historically fixed all of these problems.

This isn’t to punish the politicians; it’s to reward the true statesmen.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You Can Call Me Grace

I fell down – hard. I tried to step over a stroller, which was lying on the ground, and didn’t. The world slowed down. I tried to free my foot to catch myself but I couldn’t. I think I tried to grab a chair on the way down because one was knocked over when I got up. I remember hitting the ground but don’t remember falling. I didn’t hit my head but I did bang up my whole right side. I don’t know how I landed on my knee and my hip but they both hurt. I know I braced myself on the way down with my right hand because that hurts too. All kinds of thoughts rushed through my mind when I came to my senses. Again, I didn’t hit my head but I don’t know how else to describe the different modes of my brain other than to say I came to my senses when I started “thinking” again. I know I didn’t hit my head because it doesn’t hurt and there’s no crater in the floor. I thought about how lucky I was not to have injured myself. I thought about how it never hurt this much to fall down when I was a kid, and it was a lot easier to get back up. I thought about how I need to lose some weight so there just isn’t as much mass colliding with the ground the next time I fall. I thought about how weird adrenaline is. I thought about getting a med-alert bracelet, and how difficult it would be for Grammy to have to lift my broken carcass off the floor, especially with LMJ giving both of us directions. If I had the med-alert bracelet the ambulance would come automatically and the paramedics could hoist my bloated behind off the ground. Mostly, I thought about how lucky I was that I didn’t spill any of my pizza. Bones heal, sauce on the floor is gone forever.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You Will Respect My Authora-TIE

We started going to My Gym last June so LMJ could start learning how to socialize with other kids. Spending the large majority of her time with only Grammy and me wouldn’t serve her well when she finally went to school. She started out not acknowledging that other kids existed. They were poltergeists that flitted around the ether annoyingly but didn’t affect her playing. Sometime in the fall she moved on to considering the other kids like they were chimps, and that they would be much better suited in cages. She was also reluctant to do anything new with the coaches. There was a period of stagnation and I didn’t enjoy going as much. Part of it had to do with kids not progressing in straight predictable lines. Part of it had to do with some of the coaches we were familiar and comfortable with moving on to bigger and better things and being replaced with some off-brand scrubs. And part of it had to do with the Thursday day night class being a little rowdier than we needed - *cough, cough* bad parents *cough, cough*. Switching to the Monday class solved the last two problems. LMJ solved the last problem by coming out of her shell a little bit. She now says hello to other kids, and last week she not only bounced on the trampoline with another little one, she joined another little one who was already bouncing. Unfortunately (perhaps), she may have come out of her shell a little too much. To be blunt, she’s bossy. The other day there were kids who were significantly older than she is playing at the park, and she spent more than a little bit of time and effort yelling at them that there’s no yelling in the park. They paid her no mind, most likely because they couldn’t understand her. She was yelling in German. She went from shrinking violet to Der Führer in about a week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

People Getting Bent Out of Shape

I don’t know if I have a cold or if my allergies are acting up. I have a sore throat but I’m not stuffed up and I’m not achy. I spent the day in my office so I didn’t get a chance to exercise so I have to write about other stuff. What’s taking up space in my brain right now is that people are willing to de-friend (un-friend) friends on Facebook because of healthcare bill related status updates. On the one hand, if you’re looking to cut ties with someone this is as good a reason as any. On the other hand, I don’t understand how someone’s opinion of someone else can be significantly affected by differing opinions on something the federal government does. If someone comments either way on Facebook I think they’re talking out of their backside. No one knows if the bill is good or not, but the cadology underscores a bigger problem in America. I figure that roughly 10% of the voting populace chooses who to vote for based on the candidates’ merits for the seats they’re running for. What I mean is that for 45% of voting Americans there is almost nothing that Barack Obama can do to lose their votes or a Republican can do to win them and the inverse is true for another 45%. I’m at the point of “Tool Up Or Shut Up”. If you’re not willing to kill your neighbor and his family or sacrifice yourself and your family then it’s just not that important to you. At least that’s how I live my life. Healthcare reform? Eh. Estate Tax repeal? Eh. Gay Marriage? I wish I was a divorce attorney. All this comes from a jaded cynicism like the world has never seen. George W. Bush was the worst POTUS since Grant, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Obama pushes him for that top (bottom) spot. I still get to run and spend time with my daughter so it doesn’t really matter to me what the government does. When my time with LMJ in infringed upon then it will be time to lock ‘n load.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Here’s a question: is reading a magazine in a store with zero intention of buying it stealing? I picked up a running magazine in Publix because it had three articles that I found interesting. One was on running barefoot, which was just a novelty to me. I can’t realistically run barefoot where I run. The ghetto ain’t a meadow (Nipsey!!) The second one was about pre-run stretching, also a novelty to me because I don’t do it. I don’t have time to warm up, stretch, and then run. I ease into my runs, my first mile routinely being my slowest, so that’s my warm up. The third article made me wish I had a photographic memory and made me wonder whether a magazine is the paper and ink or the information. I thought about buying it, but they were asking $4.99 for a 75 page mag that was 40% ads. Is you crazy?!? I’m not paying that, so I tried to memorize a twelve page article with charts, and I’m a little bit pissed that I’ve forgotten a lot of it. Since I was in Publix there wasn’t the weird and awkward pressure like there is in a convenience store, but I was still rationalizing about how much money I spend in the grocery store so I was justified in not buying the magazine, and how I was being environmentally responsible by not buying it. I wished I had a scanner or an unlimited data plan because I would have been emailing myself the whole magazine – minus the ads. The article I wanted was about specifically training for a 5k. Some of it was stuff that I’d heard before – time based training instead of distance based – but I’d never thought about training specifically for a 5k road race. It had a great training schedule, which I’ve forgotten, and so I’ll have to go back to Publix tomorrow with a note pad. I guess it’s not a moral question for me as much as it is a philosophical one. I learn something new about myself everyday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I’m exceedingly tired, and it’s not for anything approaching the concept of a good idea. I got out of bed to write my post last night and didn’t go back to bed until almost 1 am. Getting out of bed to write my post wasn’t the dumb idea. Getting sucked into Reign Of Fire was. The movie is dumb. It’s about dragons destroying civilization. It sucked when I first saw it on HBO however long ago that was and it sucked last night. I don’t know why I didn’t just go back to bed. I don’t know why I was breaking down Matthew McConaughey’s dragon killing strategies or the ridiculous amount of food a planet full of dragons that flit around like ten ton hummingbirds spraying “natural napalm” everywhere would need. I don’t know why I was offended when McConaughey beat Christian Bale in a fight. When the movie finally ended I asked myself what the hell I was doing. I slept in until almost 8 this morning but I didn’t sleep well so it didn’t really matter. I spent the morning doing laundry and getting the house straightened for my parents who were nice enough to bring some bagels and scones. I tried to take an early nap but LMJ also slept in this morning and wasn’t in the mood for a nap, and if she isn’t going to sleep then no one in the house is going to sleep. I wished that I had some absinthe to settle her down. After an extremely shortened nap, we made the Herculean effort to drive all the way to 5 Points to see EJG and JSG sing in a free Gilbert & Sullivan Chorale. LMJ always amazes me with how well behaved she is, although she may have been a bit rude during the Pirates Of Penzance portion. She asked her mother if she was sure they were real pirates. I guess it was a legitimate question; LMJ knows pirates – and funny. We all had fun, and I’m always blown away by real live people that can actually sing. (Un)Fortunately, tomorrow is Monday and I can get some rest at work.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Bright Sunshiny Day

Busy busy day today. We started with a bad night of sleep and getting up before the sun. The plan was to go to Panera for breakfast, which we haven’t done in a while. I’ve been making bagel runs for the past month or so, but today we dined in. It was great, as always. I had the sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich on an asiago bagel. After breakfast I was tricked into going to Target. I’m looking for a new backpack, and MJ thought I could save some money. I couldn’t. The Land’s End backpack is superior in every way to the Target backpacks, including price. Instead I bought another bike lock. I treat bike locks like they were paper napkins, but I’m determined to keep this one for a very long time. The lock and backpack are so I can start riding my bike around. It’s a part of my training that I’ve completely ignored. After the fortnight in Target, we went home and I started cleaning up the yard. I spent half an hour setting up some stupid leaf blower/sucker that was much more trouble than it was worth. I think the rake was invented two days after farming and 10 thousand years later it’s still the best tool to clear leaves. Grammy and I filled up about ten lawn bags. Then I had to run to the gas station because not only was the lawnmower out of gas, the gas can was empty. It was a massive headache, but I’ve finished the yard work for the year so I’m happy. Grammy went to Publix and brought home some New York strips. I cooked them on the grill and they were friggin’ awesome. A little bit of kosher salt, it’s just that simple. We ate like a pride of lions, gorging ourselves on meat, and drove out to Mochi for dessert. By the time we got home it was way past the baby girl’s bedtime, and all I could do is wonder where the hell the day went. It was a good day, and I’m really glad spring is here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Turtle With A Weight Problem

Slow and steady wins the race. I’ve been mentioning my weight loss periodically because it’s the only way I can stay positive about it. I have to remind myself of where I started so that I can see the forest for the trees. I think I’m like everyone trying to lose weight. I expect it to fall off in a steady predictable manner, and most importantly, quickly. Every week I challenge myself to lose ten pounds, which is ridiculous. That’s what people weighing 450 pounds lose on The Biggest Loser. I’m not one of them. I’m not morbidly obese and I’m not on a fat farm. Real life doesn’t work like that. I’ve also mentioned that if I was on that show I’d be an awful contestant. They’d have to change the name of the show to Jillian Michaels Biggest Sexual Harasser. Anyway, the incremental, snail’s pace my body fat has been taking has been nothing but frustrating. I run ten miles, I eat like a rabbit, and I lose a half pound. Fortunately, there are mornings like this morning. I stepped on the scale and broke through an arbitrary benchmark. It’s not even a round number. It’s a number that stuck in my head because it’s what I weighed when I got married. I’m in a lot better shape and I look a lot better than I did then, but it’s a weird number and it made me feel good about myself. It also means that I’ve lost thirteen pounds since the beginning of the year. Back in January I expected to lose a pound a day and to have been done with the weight loss a month ago. Like I said, I’m not on a fat farm and I’m not in a NFL training camp. Those expectations are absolutely ridiculous and I know that they’re ridiculous when I first expect them, but it’s like my Spanish professor used to say when someone asked him about a word, phrase or idiom: it’s not logical, it’s psychological. It sounded cooler when he said it Spanish.