Friday, December 28, 2007

The rules of the game

Ok, here are the rules, as I’ve developed them for my “365 in 365” game.


1.       The participant shall run 1 mile a day, every day, rain or shine, hot or cold.

2.       No miles may be credited to future runs.

3.       Runs missed can be made up in subsequent runs.

4.       Time is irrelevant, distance matters.


That’s pretty much it.  Easy, simple, and straight forward.  Basic principal is that I need to PLAN to run each and every day for a mile at least.  If I run 2 miles today, I can’t credit that second mile to tomorrow’s run, so the project won’t end before December 31, 2008… unless I get terminally behind in my mileage.  If I run nothing today, I CAN, however, make up that mile tomorrow.


Ideally, though, runs won’t be more than 1 mile at a stretch, because ideally I won’t skip any runs (and we ALL know how likely that is).


Minor modifications will be coming to track progress through the year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I got another song to add to the playlist:  Cumbawumba’s “Tubthumping”.


Yea, I know it’s a stupid song.  But it has a snappy and up-tempo beat that should be just right for running.


Off to I-Tunes for me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ding ding ding da da ding ding.

Queen wrote “Under Pressure” with one of the most memorable audio hooks in the biz thanks to Vanilla Ice.  Of course, we all know the vanilla one added a beat, which means it wasn’t plagiarism.  Yea.  Right.


Anyway, I think of that hook at times like these when I remind myself that …  deep breath now…  everything will be ok.  I DON’T have to do it all.  There is NOT a single moment upon which all of history rests (even though there likely is a single moment upon which…  calm down…  deep breath…  relax).




I’m too hard on myself.  I know I hold myself up to an insane standard sometimes.  Like when I failed to finish my first marathon and was SO ridiculously down on myself for months…  because I ONLY ran 16 miles out of 26.2.  I fell short.  Failed.  And those most biting words of all:  not good enough.


Deep breath…  calm down…  relax.


Easy there, Pancho.


Just because failure is not an option does not mean failure to attain a goal is failure.  In fact, the refusal to accept failure as an option is WHY failure to attain a goal is not failure.




Not finishing my first marathon was only a failure if I didn’t get up off the mat and run again.  The failure to attain a goal is only failure if it is the end.  If that rock is fuel for a fire which burns with a higher intensity that before that drives the engine to push farther and faster and better than before, that short term setback is merely a step toward actual completion of the goal.  If failure is fuel for the fire, then it is not failure at all, and the unattained goal is not a failure.  I hate to use “management-speak”, but the fact is that we can either see challenges as impediments or opportunities.  Road blocks are merely tools that allow us to find alternative solutions.


Me crapping out at 16 miles made crossing that finish line 12 months later all the more sweet of an accomplishment.  And the finishing medal for the next year was a much nicer medal, too.  I never would have gotten that one had I finished the first marathon.


So relax there, Pancho.  No need to be so hard on yourself.  Ease up some.  Learn.  Improve.  Succeed.  And when you finish the race, look forward to that congratulatory pat on the back and the “race well run, good and faithful servant”.


Deep breath…  calm down…  relax.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Paragon Way Inc.

Is a bunch of liars.


I get a call last night from Maribell Somethingoranother from Paragon Way Inc.

I can tell from the number, long pause after picking it up, and repeated missed calls during the day it was some kind of telemarketing.





Hit the phone on the desk…  “Hello!!?!!”

“Yes, is Mr. Joseph… available?”


“Ok…  May I speak with Mr. Joseph …”


“Are you him?


“Ok…  Sir, I am Maribell with Paragon Way Incorporated and I have some sensitive business information I need to share with you.  I just need to confirm the last 4 digits of your social security number are…”

“I’m not going to confirm any digits of my social security number with you.”

“um, sir, I just need to confirm the last four digits so that I can share some sensitive bus…”

“I’m not going to confirm anything with you.  Who are you?”

“Maribel with Paragon Way inc.”

“That’s fine and good, but how’d you get my name, number, and last 4 digits of my social security number?”

“It’s in relation to the sensitive business information I need to share with you.”

“Ok, give me a number to call you back at so that I know who you are.”

“Ok, you can call blah blah blah, and ask for me”.

“Allright.” [cklick]

[dial, fully expecting a bunch of nothing]

“Pragaon Way Inc, this is blah blah”

“Really?  I need to speak with Maribel.”

“Hold please.”


Interesting.  Maybe they’re legit… I’ll play along.


“This is Maribel”

“Maribel, this is Joe.  Start talking.”

“Ok, we need to confirm the last 4 digits of your social security number are blahblahblahblah.”

“That’s not my number.”


“No.  Let me check my wife…  nope.  Not hers.  Let me check my son, who is also Joseph, but he’s 1 so you can’t talk to him.”

“nope.  Not his number either.  How’d you get ahold of us?”

“Can I confirm your address is…  “

[open browser and google Paragon Way]
“Nope.  That’s not my address.  Not even close.”

“Is this your work phone blah blah blah-blahblahblah-blahblahblahblah”

“Nope.  That’s not even close, either.  Are ya’ll a data storage company?”

“No sir.”

“Oh, wait.  It says you’re a debt collection agency.  Is that true?”

“Thank you sir.  I have to go now.”


Yea.  That’s what I thought.  You see, several years ago the knuckledragging mouth breathers at Capital One fucked things up and put some douchebag from Alexandria’s bad credit on my report.  Not identity theft, mind you, just an ignorant dumbfuck at a credit card company who can’t read or think.  I had to get that shit cleaned off my report.  And I wasn’t happy about it.  And I hate Capital One.  I’ve never owned a Capital One theft account and never will own a Capital One theft account.

I’m wondering if this has anything to do with that?

Either way, guess who’s pulling a credit report over the weekend.


Word to the wise, don’t EVER give out information over the phone unless you call them or you KNOW them to be reputable.  “Sensitive Business Information” that you don’t know about is NOT sensitive business information, it’s a scam.  I was tempted just to tell them “that’s me” to find out what the business info was.  Before I looked them up I thought it was a proxy issue that we keep seeing arrive in our mailbox for some guy who never lived in our house.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Ok, I have what should be a simple task ahead of me:  build a playlist that is up to 10 minutes long for a quick 1 mile run in the morning.


Should be simple because it’s only 10 minutes.


HOWEVER, it’s a lot harder than you’d think because…  if you had to pick one, which finger would you cut off?


You see, I’ve got to pick ONLY 10 minutes of music that’s both appropriate for running juice as well as waking up juice (or the occasional after work juice).  I think if I’m going to do these runs they’ll be in the AM between 6 and 6:30 rather than in the PM, simply because I’m more likely to have that morning block available and the weight of the world will still not yet have settled down on my shoulders by then.


So, what?  A little wake up jamz to stretch by for 30 or 90 seconds, then a little something to get the tempo funking and the feet moving for the first couple of minutes, then just as that heavy breathing is settling in a little rhythm to greet the rhythm of the run for another 2 - 4 minutes.  That gets me to around minute 5 or 6, which at my current running pace isn’t close to the full mile.  Of course at my current running pace that’s also about the time I’m going to have the overwhelming urge to slow down and take a quick breather, so I’m going to need a little sumpthin sumpthin with some up-tempo blasting to invite the adrenal gland to inject some influence on the sitch, yea?  And if I’m still running at 9 minutes, I might need something attached to a stretcher to close out the set, but I’m thinking the last jam can be some kind of cooldown for 30 or 60 seconds…  maybe some acoustic funk.


Of course, I have the usual suspects waiting in the lineup…  Eminem, Rage, maybe a little Will Smith and The Offspring, maybe Parliament….  But then I have to start cutting back to 10 minutes.  Hard cap.  No more.  10.  Full stop.



I’ve got about 2 weeks to settle this.  Suggestions are welcome.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Weird dream

Had a weird dream last night.  Too weird to share.


But it did get me thinking that this is about the time when the aches and pains are really sinking in and the banging and training is beginning to catch up to the first timers (and some long timers).  In the beginning, there’s the soreness that gets worked out, but now is where the constant banging and general weight of the training is beginning to really bear down.


That’s what it really is…  the weight of it all.


The weekends when you just … don’t … feel …  like  …  running…


But that cross current of “I’ve come this far” kicks in and the discipline takes over.


This was the part of the training I hated most (except for the other parts).  This was the part where running really REALLY felt like a grind.  Because rather than the short 3 – 6 mile runs, the only effective runs at this stage were 6+ milers.  8 – 12 miles, or you really aren’t working.  If you’re not going to go 8, you might as well stay in bed, right?  And if you really wanted to do it right it was 6 during the week and 12 on the weekends.  Yea, I know.  It really starts to feel like work.


In the beginning, you can whip out a 1 to 3 mile run and feel like you’re doing something.  You’re getting back into running shape, getting those shoes broken in, getting used to the heat, times are falling like stones, whatever.  You’re starting your regimen and feeling good about it.  But now is the time when all that groundwork is being leveraged into longer and longer distances.  The half marathon training point is behind you, the 20k is in front of you, and you’re just PRAYING that you don’t roll an ankle or step in a hole funny or catch a cold…  That stuff usually doesn’t happen.


I really am thinking of you guys (and gals) out there running in these doldrums when it could be so easy to simply stay home.  That drive, dedication, and stubbornness is admirable (if not insane).








Breathe…  just a few more miles and you’re going through that Gate of Giants and into our very own Valley of Heroes. 

Run on to that finish line.

Don’t stop.

Leave it all on the pavement.

You’re almost there.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dear Coach Briles

You seem to have forgotten one of the old Texas standards, as memorialized in Jerry Jeff’s “Sangria Wine”






That’s right, ANYPLACE is all right as long as I don’t have to go to Waco.


You’ve gone to Waco.  Silly, silly man.

Back to the double standard

I wrote about the hot teacher after watching a Dateline “to catch a predator” show in September 2006.  The link to the original post is below:


What it all boils down to is this:  the double standard is alive and well and this poor little blonde girl has demonstrated that maybe she was confused and emotionally vulnerable then and needed help, but didn’t get it, and is now demonstrating traits and actions of a predator (allegedly).


Maybe if they’d have treated her like a dirty pervert the same way they treated guys who went after little girls we’d have never seen her name in the news again.

That LeFavre chick is back!!

This is so sweet.

That super hot teacher chick who got a slap on the wrist for getting with that 14 year old student is BACK in the news for…  get this…  trying to get it on with a 17 year old kid.


Yup.  I know.  I can hardly believe it either.


Awhile back I postulated that this chick got a slap on the wrist because she was so super hot and the dude judge and dude lawyer and dude jurors kinda let her off easy so that they might get a chance at a piece of that action.  Plus the general bias that a pretty blonde with some emotional issues COULDN’T HAVE POSSIBLY taken advantage of a hormone riddled teen athlete.  Surely it was the kid that took advantage of her after he was getting his high 5s in the locker room.


But here’s the kicker…


3 years after the deed she’s not so hot anymore.


In fact, she looks like a former super hot chick who’s a little worn out from being a waitress for the last 3 years.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s not hideously gnarly or anything, but she’s not the super hot chick she was 3 years ago.


And here’s where my theory gets the test.


I said awhile back that had she been a dude or a regular chick or a gnarly chick, she’d have gotten jail time.  No questions asked.


But she was a super hot chick and got a slap on the wrist.


Now that she’s not a super hot chick, let’s see what happens.  My hunch is jail time.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I just visited the site and found out that Rage Against the Machine is back as of the beginning of this year!!!


I’m so very excited.  This is the best news ever!


Conspiracies make me chuckle.


Partly because SOME people think they exist under every rock and around every corner.  You know who they are…  after all, you’re helping to monitor them for the UN/EU/NSA/CSI/Illuminati/Masons, right?  In fact, I’m monitoring one of them right now.  Hehe…


But seriously, we hear of the big, grand government conspiracies like the moon landing “hoax”, the Roswell alien landing hoax, the Kennedy assassination, the military/industrial complex perpetual war conspiracy, the “conspiracy” to rig the 2000 election, and the big daddy of the all, the September 11 “truthers” conspiracy.  But in all fairness they all may be connected into one big giant conspiracy, right?




I’m an operations guy.  I do numbers.  I do processes.  I do systems.  In short, part of what I do involves running logical progressions of events from now to whenever in order to project what might happen and implement things today to prevent bad things from happening tomorrow.  For instance, if I have to decide whether or not we should include a specific data point in a database I have to consider what that data point is used for now, what it might be used for in the future, and how hard it would be to retrofit the database to include that data point if we change our mind at a later date and contrast that against the added cost of tracking that particular metric.  Sound fun?  It is.  Let me tell you.  I love what I do.


What does that have to do with conspiracies?  Well, someone can use that same logic to reverse-engineer a conspiracy theory.  Take the 2000 election for example.  SOME PEOPLE have contended (and you know who you are… well, I know who you are because I’m the one who sent the Flowers By Iris van to your neighbor) that the whole 2000 election was a conspiracy rigged up by the [insert organization] in order to further the goals of the [insert organization] by way of George W. Bush’s policy goals.


Uh huh.  I’m not making this up.  They also wear tin-foil hats.


Some of them see the events of 9/11 and subsequent wars as part and parcel of that whole conspiracy.


Uh huh.  I’m still not making it up.  And they still wear tin-foil hats.  At least the ones I can’t track anymore do.


Let’s examine the first part all by itself.  By reverse engineering the events, we can establish the scope of the conspiracy.  You need 5 Supreme Court Justices, which means you need Presidents AND Senates going all the way back to the late 70s.  That means you have to have Carter, Regan, Regan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Clinton again in on the whole deal in order to make sure that the “right” justices are placed in power.  We know that these guys all had issues with some of their first choice nominees—remember “bork”—so that means that the second (and sometimes third) choice for the position had to be in on it, too. 


Oh yea, and you have to make sure the justices don’t die along the way.


Plus you have to have people in power who are ambitious enough to pull off a nationwide conspiracy involving over 200 people—who don’t necessarily like each other and might be interested in screwing their adversaries’ careers, mind you—over the course of 2 or 3 decades AND humble enough to not tell anyone about it.  Plus you have to have their assistants, aids, staff, housekeepers, associated official buttwipers, international diplomats, and international leaders who are either too ignorant to catch on over the course of the plot or too humble to say anything and not at all ambitious enough to capitalize on being THE GUY who brought down the whatever conspiracy.  And we all know that people rise to prominence in their particular field of work because they’re either ignorant or humble and not at all ambitious.  That is, after all, how the President’s chef cook got the job—because he’s ignorant and/or humble and/or not the least bit ambitious.  And that’s not to mention the various bodyguards and official human shields who are ALWAYS within earshot of those in power and, again, don’t rise to that level of trust and responsibility by being ignorant or not the least bit ambitious.


Sure, sounds plausible, right?  That’s my point.  Grand conspiracies, if people really think about them, collapse under their own weight because it only takes 1 person to bring the whole damn thing down.  And usually that one person isn’t even someone from within.  Take Watergate as an example.


That whole operation was small to begin with, but it was brought down because someone found some tape on a door that was supposed to be locked shut.  Tape brought down the whole Watergate conspiracy.  Regular old masking tape.


But that’s usually what conspiracies look like—small operations in big venues, not big operations in big venues.  One person in a crowd of hundreds can “vanish” pretty easily.  Hundreds in a group of thousands will be noticed.  Did you ever wonder why spy operations were 1 guy with 1 handler?  Because if starting people then they talk, and when people talk other people hear stuff.  When people hear stuff… well, all hell breaks loose.


Consider the UNABomer, too.  He was 1 guy, slowly and methodically blowing shit up.  If he had JUST KEPT HIS STUPID EGOTISTICAL MOUTH SHUT he’d still be in his little shit hole cabin making bombs and blowing shit up.  Chances are that one would even blow him up by accident because that’s what bombs do—blow shit up.  But there you had 1 man operating in a big venue, slipping in and out without being noticed.  Those snipers near DC, are another example.  2 guys, slipping in and out of an area, nobody knowing who they are or what they look like, until they get busted for sleeping on the side of the road.  Stupid, dumb slip ups.


Another hallmark of a successful conspiracy is that it’s about something that doesn’t matter.  Fido went to a farm where he can run free forever?  Yes, honey, that’s what happened to your dog.  Parents get away with that because it’s between him and her, and the kid never needs to know because ultimately it doesn’t matter and eventually the kid will learn that Farmer Mack’s farm doesn’t exist and Fido is dead, dead, dead.  The original intent was to “conspire” together in a lie so that the kids feelings weren’t hurt—something that in the long run is no big deal.  It’s certainly not like killing a president or rigging an election or faking a moon landing or inventing a war.  Nobody is going to rat anybody out, and even if you did nobody would care.  Can you imagine the headline:  Parents lie to child!  Yea.  Like that’s never happened.  Who hasn’t lied to their child?


But what about terrorist cells you say?  They’re more than 1 person and it was just a few groups of 5 who brought down a few planes (unless you believe the 9/11 kooks).  Well, consider that the groups didn’t work together, per se.  They all knew the day and the plane, but didn’t know about each other.  Also consider the time frame was about a year, maybe less for some, maybe more for others.  But the time frame was relatively short.  We’re not talking decades here.  What we’re learning more and more as this “war on terror” continues is that while time is our enemy (we have to be perfect always, they have to be perfect once), time is the enemy of the combatants, as well.  They have to rush to get things put together and on the ground, otherwise we’ll eventually find a money trail, or communication trail, or someone will screw up and get a traffic ticket (leave tape on a door), or some other innocuous slip up.  Remember the guy who got busted trying to blow up the Space Needle and LAX?  He got busted at the border for something entirely different that blowing shit up.  And it’s getting harder and harder for the “bad guys” to slap things together and get them rolling quickly without us sniffing them out first.


That’s how it happens.  Conspiracies are EXTREMELY hard to pull off.  EXPECIALLY big conspiracies, and EXTRA EXPECIALLY big secret important conspiracies.  Someone talks.  Someone slips up.  Someone messes the whole thing up.  Or someone stumbles across the operation and brings it all down.


The trick is to be paying close enough attention to see when someone leaves tape on the door.  And before we knew “terror cells” existed, we didn’t even know to look for tape on the door.

Ok, so I'm out of touch

Yea, I know.  I’m out of touch with reality.  I’m ok with that.

I’ve come to this conclusion over the little tempest being whipped up over Joe Horn protecting his neighborhood.

Yes.  He shot two men.

In the back.

While they were running away.


Maybe that was some sort of firearms ordinance violation and he should be punished for discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood or something like that.


I’m having real trouble demonizing this guy, though, for several good reasons.


First off, we all know burglary is a pretty low priority for city cops.  There are murders to investigate, missing people, traffic tickets to write, then eventually burglaries somewhere down the list.  Consider the ramifications of a burglary:  nobody dies, insured property is stolen, and there’s no revenue for the city.  Murders are a public safety issue.  Traffic tickets are public revenue.  Property crime is just a nuisance.  The only people hurt are insurance companies, less the deductible for the homeowner.  Besides, if the homeowner had an alarm and better protected his property the burglary wouldn’t have happened, right?  Or maybe if more of us had neighbors like Joe Horn.  Hang a big sign that says “beware of neighbor wielding shotgun” should be a hot seller right now, eh?


Anyway, since burglaries are so low on the list—unless it’s a serial burglary that nets enough loot to make headlines—the cops aren’t going to give it much of a priority.  “Check the pawn shops to see if your stuff turns up” and “no, we don’t have any fresh leads” and “we’re doing all we can to catch the guy, we just don’t have much to go on” are the responses you get from the PD.  Sound like I’ve heard this stuff before?  You’d be right.  And besides, the guy is going to get out in 4 weeks anyway and be back to his old job—robbing houses.


Second off, because it’s a low priority response time isn’t going to be particularly swift, even for cops.  If the usual response time is somewhere near 20 minutes, you can count on a burglary to be somewhere closer to 30—usually.  According to the recording plain clothes cops were on the scene by the time the shooting had stopped in Mr. Horn’s neighborhood which puts the response time somewhere near 10 minutes.  Maybe the fact that Mr. Horn had a shotgun and was willing to use it had an effect on that time?  Maybe?  You think?  Yea, I think.


Finally, thieves generally return to fertile ground for their crimes.  I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that this wasn’t the first burglary in that neighborhood.  I’m willing to bet the criminals who broke into those houses before haven’t been caught and the property hasn’t been recovered.  I’m willing to bet the response time was north of 20 minutes.  I’m willing to bet that at least a few of those burglaries were perpetrated by the recently departed.  And I’m also willing to bet that there won’t be another one for quite some time, too.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the case had Mr. Horn not taken care of business.


I bet “protected by Joe Horn” signs go up all down that street now, too.  I know I’m getting one.


I’m not willing to suggest that we should just go shooting people.  But I AM willing to suggest that if the cops do their jobs, and community activists focus their efforts on the human fecal matter that perpetrates these crimes, then maybe residents like Joe Horn won’t be so apt to take the law into their own hands.


Could he have handled it better?  Sure.  A better ending would have been for him to subdue the criminals and have them laying on the grass at the pointy end of a shotgun rather than laying dead in the grass as a result of the pointy end of a shotgun.


Maybe a better resolution would have been for police to have responded better when the first break in happened several weeks ago.


But maybe an EVEN better resolution would have been for those two turds to have not been breaking into the house in the first place. 


Yes he shot two men.

In the back.

While they were running away.

But they’re not victims.  They’re criminals.