Thursday, August 28, 2008


My back is KILLING me.  Ugh.


One more observation from Hillary’s speech:  did you notice the near silence after she said “and a proud American”?  I found that to be curious.


Only saw some of Joe Biden’s speech last night and The One’s remarks.  Still no substance.  Lots of “change”, but not much of “to what” and “how”.  I’m very hesitant to give the keys of the country to Nancy Pelosi.  If John McCain needs a favor from Congress as President, then he can call in his contacts, twist some arms, and cash in some political capital.  If The One needs something, he’ll ask Joe Biden if it’s all right to call Nancy and ask for permission.  I don’t think that’s a good way to run a country—George W. has proven that.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A few quick thoughts

Training is progressing nicely, though it has stalled in recent days with rain, and school, and general not wanting to run.  I’ve been DREADING the running portion because, as you can see from the address of this blog, I hate running.  Seriously, I hate it.

But I’ll get out tonight, probably, and certainly tomorrow, and run. 



I watched the DNC last night.  Hillary’s speech was rather good and shed more light on the mystery of how the dems are going to screw this one up.


Nonetheless, a few quick thoughts: 

Words hold meaning, but body language often times speaks much, much louder than words.

Based on that knowledge, Michelle Obama clearly doesn’t like Hillary Clinton much at all.



Hillary said during her speech that “we’re not big on quitting!” when she was discussing fighting on as a party or some such.

Am I the ONLY person in the country that reflexively tacks on to that statement “Except in Iraq” every time I hear them say it?

The other best part was when she, rather adroitly, reminded her voters that it wasn’t about her, it was about the ideals she was trying to put forward.  That was clever, and very important.

Other than that there was very little substance, but it was still a very good rally-type speech.


I’m also reminded of something that has haunted me from the 2004 election.  Some guy was introducing Al Gore to speak on behalf of John Kerry.  His son had died in combat in Afghanistan, I believe.  He made a comment that was something along the lines of “if he had been elected President, we wouldn’t have even been there in the first place!”

Yea, and that’s a little bit of the problem.

The whole point of involving ourselves in Afghanistan was in response to a heinous attack on our infrastructure here.  Had Al Gore been elected, maybe we wouldn’t have been in Afghanistan.  Which would mean there would have been no response.  Which would have meant…  well, there’s a whole world of possibilities that runs from that point forward. 

Truth be told, we may never know.  We may have already had the henchmen killed and buried under rubble by now.  After all, shooting fish is much easier to do if you keep them in the barrel to start with and don’t dump it out before you open fire.  A very good argument can be made that it is better for Al Queda to reconstitute its operative apparatus so that it WILL have a central bureaucracy.  You can bomb a headquarters, you can’t bomb a secret cave.

But that’s what could have been…  we’re now considering what could be.


And the question I keep asking myself is “change to what?” and “change how?” and most importantly, “change from what?”  Because if there is a fundamental disagreement in what we are changing FROM, there can be no agreement on how change will come about no matter whether we agree on what we’re changing to or not.  And if what we are changing FROM is simply the current incumbent, anyone will fit the bill.  But if the future matters, if who’s going to be driving matters, then the choice matters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympics epilogue

Ok, it’s DNC time, so only one last post about the greatest sports spectacle on the face of the earth (read that with the booming Moses voice, if you like).


The games were great.  I love the Olympics.  I love the spectacle.  I love the stories (even if coverage of those stories is weak, at best).


But something still haunts me from the Olympics…  it came in the opening ceremony, and it’s a single word.




It’s not because I don’t like harmony.  Multiple parts working together in concert is an amazing thing to see.  With harmony generally comes peace, even if the peacefulness is rooted in friendly competition.


But that word…  harmony…  as it was presented and BY WHOM it was presented still haunts me.


Where there is no freedom, there is no harmony.


Where peace is imposed, there is no harmony.


If you have peace at the end of a gun barrel, or under the lash of a whip, there is no harmony.


Peace and harmony can look like many things, but peace and harmony is not necessarily the absence of strife.  (Segue to election coverage now…)

We’re going through an election right now, which is a truly unique type of civil war.  We schedule it, every 4 years, and come out and rip the other side a new one, but within the division and strife (usually) all parties are pulling for the same American ideal.  We haven’t had a full scale shooting war in 150 years over political differences.  Sure, you can consider gang violence and various militia groups as “dissidents” or “insurrectionists” or even the more honest (though, with more noble connotation) “rebels”, but none of those sparked a prairie fire.  We have freedom, and within that freedom we are able to voice dissent, and within that dissent is true harmony—many strings, many notes, one theme.

(Back to the Olympics…)

In China, the only “harmony” I saw was a symbol on the stadium floor.  An empty currency with no backing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Convention fever!!

I’ve just gotten over my Olympic fever, when lo and behold I’ve come down with Convention Fever!!




Back when I was in High School there was this thing called a “citizen’s bee”, which was like a spelling bee, but with civics questions and historical junk.


I made it through the school competition by being the only person to sign up (first place out of 1, yay!), and went on to the district competition where I won either first or second place, can’t remember.  What I do remember is the state competition was the same weekend as prom, and it was, in fact, my senior year.

So, I had to fly to Austin on Saturday morning, compete in this thing with a bunch of egg-heads who probably weren’t going to prom anyway, then scoot back to Houston to go to prom (which is, in and of itself, a whole ‘nuther story that I’ll be happy to share over some beers and tequila some time).

Anyway, the competition was broken into 2 parts, written and verbal.  The written part was a brief essay and a few multiple choice questions.  The verbal part was 3 questions posed by judges that you had to give a brief answer to.

My questions  (remember, it’s 1992 at the time):

Who is the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee?  (Joe Biden)

Joe Biden is a member of the Foreign Relations committee and chair of the Judiciary committee, why is he not chair of both? (Senate rules forbid holding the chair of 2 committees simultaneously)

What is the name of the theme song for Bill Clinton’s campaign? (Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, but I totally had no clue on this answer).


I thought the third question was a bit of a cheap shot.  Not really civics, more current events.  But what the hey, I still rocked.


That completely pointless diversion aside, I don’t think Biden is too bad of a choice.  He’s certainly not a boat anchor a-la Dan Quayle in 1992, and he brings a lot to the ticket that Obama doesn’t have.  Unfortunately, he also brings a lot to the ticket that Obama doesn’t have, like long running Senate experience (he was elected to office when Obama was 5), insider cred (again, 35 years in the Senate), and a long train of disparaging remarks about Obama’s readiness and ability to do the job.

This will certainly be an interesting time for all.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The poor baby whale

Ok, so there’s this lost whale off the coast of Australia.


Australian officials have decided that because it’s in such poor shape, they’re going to euthanize it.


Um…  pardon me for asking this seemingly stupid question…  but…  uh… why?  Won’t it just naturally die, anyway?  Doesn’t that happen, like, every day?

A couple of thoughts

No workout yesterday.

If the weather holds, I may be able to swim today.

It looks very unlikely that I will make the Run the Woodlands this weekend…  which sucks because I was actually looking forward to it (imagine that!).


And now…  a few thoughts.


1.  MSNBC is reporting that Jennifer Love Hewitt wished she spent more of her time between the ages of 16 and 28 naked.  We do too, Jen.  We do too.  But you can start making up some of that time now, we won’t mind at all!!  In fact, come on over for dinner any time.  My wife will understand, you are, after all, on my celebrity adultery list (The list of celebrities that it would be completely unlikely, though ok if, we were to hook up with.  She has one, too, but I constantly assure her that her guys are all gay.).

2.  There are rumors surfacing about a long sought security deal with Iraq that will have US forces withdrawing from the cities by June 2009.  Does this mean that if Obama becomes President he’ll ignore that pact and keep US troops in the cities for an additional 10 months so that he can keep his completely inane promise of 16 months, no matter what?  Or is 16 months not really a pledge to withdrawal troops in 16 months, but to withdraw them as conditions allow…  like John McCain’s plan?

3.  How come I STILL haven’t heard anything about that civil forum last weekend?  Maybe it was on the Sunday news and I just missed the 1 day it was covered.  When John McCain mixed up Shiite and Sunni during his (uncovered) trip to the Middle East that was big news for, like, a month.  It still gets brought up occasionally to suggest the man is feeble minded and doesn’t know the difference between one group of radicals and another.  But when Obama lies about his bipartisan involvement with John McCain on a campaign finance reform measure, that’s just a non-event.

[One of the questions at the Civil Forum was if the candidate had ever worked against either his own or his party’s best interest to do something right for the country, and Obama mentioned his work with John McCain on a lobbying reform bill.  The story is here.  The long and short of it is that the whole deal collapsed amid allegations that McCain was working with only the GOP interests in mind and Obama was acting as a typical newcomer using rhetorical gloss to cover up self interest and partisan posturing.  This was 1 week into Obama’s tenure as Senator and about 1 year before he started running for President…  The resulting legislation was the Feingold-Obama Lobbying Reform Act sponsored by the same Russ Feingold who hammered out an actual bi-partisan campaign finance reform bill with John McCain who, apparently, was able to either work without the GOP interests in mind or Feingold was masterful enough in his legislative ability to maneuver past that issue, as well as Obama’s rhetorical gloss.]


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Swimming, civil forum

Went swimming last night, felt good.

I’m going to focus more on running over the next week, and put it all together during that last week.


I saw the civil forum at SaddleCreek church the other day, but want to watch it again before commenting because there were several distractions while I was watching.

It is curious, though, that there has been no mention of it whatsoever this week in the news (I guess Obama didn’t make that great of a showing?) and there has been remarkably little talk from the chattering classes except for complaints that it was “rigged” or McCain was tipped off to the questions or not in the “cone of silence” or several other accusations of cheating.

Plus John McCain is now ahead in certain polls.

I find that very, very curious.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More Olympics stuff

Misty May-Treanor and Kerrie Walsh are awesome.  Flat out awesome.

Those girls can ball.


I watched the Belgium match last night (I’m still 2 or 3 days behind on Olympic coverage) and they defended 5 set points before whipping off 2 straight to close the set and then just flat out dismantled the Belgians in the second set.

Way cool.  They’ve won over 100 games in a row.  Way cool.  I’m beginning to think that the only way to beat these girls is to bring a gun to the court.

And even that may not stop them from completely annihilating the opposition.

I don’t think I’ve seen those girls play a third set yet, and just about every match they play is a complete and total dismantling. 

They beat these people so bad they have to change their names.

They beat them so bad their opponents’ children look like them.

They beat them so bad …  well, they just might win a gold medal.

Um... wha?!? is reporting that Jennifer Lopez can’t understand why the media is falling all over itself for Michael Phelps (or, as she puts it, “that swimmer guy”) and not covering her training for the Malibu triathlon only 6 months after giving birth.


In the unlikely event that she reads this post, I’m going to volunteer to drop some knowledge on her…


It’s because Michael Phelps is a big deal, and she’s just some singer with a fat ass.

Him, inspiring.  Her, perspiring.

Winning 8 gold medals with 5 individual world records, and 2 or 3 team records is a BIG DEAL.  Having a fat ass and being a mediocre singer is NOT A BIG DEAL.  Being awesome will get you on the cover of SI, Wheaties, and probably every sports mag in the country.  Having a fat ass, giving birth, and completing a triathlon will not.


Win the triathlon, then we might give a crap.


Simply put, unless you win, nobody cares.


It’s the same reason they’re not following me around with a wagon train of cameras and reporters, and I’m likely to finish in the top 2 of my triathlon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little something about synchronized diving

Let me be the first to say that Olympians are awesome.

They’re at the peak of their physical and mental preparedness and are conditioned in such a way as to make one believe that they are freaks of nature.  Though, truth be told, they are some of the most perfect products of nature man has ever seen, and we get to put them on display once every 4 years (2 years if you count the Winter Olympics, as well).


I love the Olympics.


That all said, I think trampolining and synchronized diving is a complete joke.


Yes, it’s hard.  I recognize that.  Precision ANYTHING is complicated and requires training.


But seriously…  I really CAN do trampolining, with just a little bit of training.  My 4 year old niece can do that.  Hell, my dog can do that.


Well, maybe not my dog.  He’s a little dumb, but cute.


Diving, on the other hand, is a real thing.  When someone gets up there and executes a triple spin flip double backhanded jackknife with no splash, that’s truly Olympian.  There’s the natural aversion to drowning to death and vertigo that prevents mere mortals from even climbing up that high on a platform.  There’s the execution required to prevent the ever-so-graceful belly or back flop.  It’s a thing of wonder (unlike jumping on a backyard toy).  That’s what Olympic sports are about.  Overcoming natural aversion to something and training your body to do something unusual in an extraordinary way.


But there is nothing particularly Olympian about 2 people doing it at the same time.  “Wow, it’s amazing how they’re so in synch!” 


Let me hip you to some physics real quick.


An object falls at the rate of 9.8 meters per second per second without regard to its mass (wind resistance, on the other hand, is different).  This Italian dude figured that out about 600 some odd years ago.  That fact hasn’t changed in the least over that time.  2 balls, different masses, dropped at the same time, hit the earth at the same time.


Therefore, if 2 people jump off a platform at the same time, they’ll hit the water at the same time.  It’s that simple.  (Also, from the much harder to believe files, a bullet fired on a flat trajectory will hit the ground at the same time as a bullet dropped vertically from the same height as the barrel of the gun firing the bullet, given that they are fired and dropped at the same time.  “No way!” you say?  “Yes way!”  Physics doesn’t take a holiday just because it’s a bullet.)


Needless to say, of course they’re in synch, and it’s idiotic that they’re wasting our time televising that moronic display of gravity acting equally on 2 objects.  Bah.


I was busy watching the women’s marathon over the weekend when the Saddleback town hall happened.  I hear it was quite entertaining.


I guess I’ll have to go find the video somewhere and watch it stem to stern.

In the time it takes me to write this Usain Bolt ran 100m



Dude is fast.


I mean, real, real fast.

Like, ZOOM! fast.


And Michael Phelps is flat out awesome, too.

The Olympics have been great, and I’ve still got over 20 hours to catch up.


I SO love the Olympics.


Anyway, training update:  the weather conspired against me over the weekend.  I got nothing done.


Not to fret, though, I’m going to focus on swimming and running on this 4th week of August.  It should be a good week for both.


For what it’s worth, I’m dreading the running part of this triathlon thing.  Oh my how I hate running…

Friday, August 15, 2008

Here's a thought

The availability of electricity is one of the building blocks of modern society.  Much like the availability of clean, fresh water was the building block of earlier society.

Local and regional governments acted to ensure that water was clean, fresh, abundant, and cheap, and that no one company made undue profit from its distribution or production.

In short, city, county, or state monopolies owned and controlled the water distribution.  Today, that water is tapped and bottled for those of us who don’t mind paying through the eyes for bottled water, but clean, fresh, and cheap water is piped into each and every house where utilities exist (some communities still operate off of well water).

Since it’s a natural resource, production was controlled by God, so nobody could profit off of that.


Well…  what about energy production?  I know, there used to be monopolies that controlled the production, transmission, and distribution of electrons to power our stuff.  But we’ve done away with that and now there’s hemming and hawing about companies manipulating the market to increase profits on what is essentially a vital building block of modern society.


What if a company manipulated the supply of water to increase profits?  Don’t like to pay 4 or 5 times as much for water in the summer?  Well, put out a rain catch and make your own.

That’s basically what power companies are telling us to do today.  Don’t like the price of energy?  Well, use less and produce your own.  Good luck.


There has got to be some way to separate the profit incentive from the production demand for electrical generation.  Cities ensure abundant water or they, quite literally, dry up and die.  In this day and age, without electricity a city will effectively dry up and die.  What gets manufactured without electricity?  What gets assembled without electricity?  Who lives in a community without electricity?  Assuming we move to plug-in electric cars, where will that power come from?  Furthermore, what incentive does a power company have to invest extra money today in a clean energy production plant, when dirty energy is cheaper and more abundant?  More precisely, why build a nuclear power plant in every state when you can build four times that many coal plants for the same price or less?  Plus, having more power plants that produce less per plant (at a cheaper cost per unit) allows a company more flexibility in managing peaks and troughs.

So, what’s a capitalist to do?

Simply taxing oil and/or gas and/or emissions simply won’t do the trick.  That just makes the current means more expensive and new technologies, by default, cheaper.  But taxes can be dodged, loopholes can be exploited, and the best  intentions of mice and men blah blah or the path to hell is paved with good intentions blah blah.

No, there has to be some other solution.  There has to be some other incentive other than mere “profit” (though that is enticing) to push a company or individual to pay twice as much for energy that isn’t generated by burning a dead dinosaur.


Except, there’s no reason for a company to exist other than to make profit.


And nationalizing energy production is a non-starter…  or is it?


Reliant Energy may make enough money in the deregulated markets of Texas and California to put their name on a stadium complex, but I’ve never once seen a stadium with “Municipal Water Works” stamped on the roof line, though everyone drinks clean, fresh water.

I’m not so sure I’m convinced that pure electrical deregulation is such a good idea.


So freaking weak

I’m so freakin weak.

Had chance to choose tea today.

Didn’t.  Chose coffee.


(Yea, that’s a haiku.  I’m so damn talented that sometimes it’s hard to be me.)

Georgia on my mind

Yea, I know.  It was just a matter of time before I broke out the cliché title for a post about the world’s newest FUBAR region.


First, though, a training update.

I’m all recovered from whatever smacked me down Wednesday night.  Tonight my wonderful nephew is coming to visit, so I may only get a ride or run in, but there’s an outside chance for a swim and a run—probably not a ride.

Last night featured sit-ups and push-ups.  50 of each.  I probably could have done more sit-ups, but the arms were rubbery little noodles at the end.

I got another good night’s sleep (thank you modern medicine) and am feeling stronger than ever going into this weekend, fully 2 (or 3) weeks ahead of the big day.


Speaking of the big day, there’s a good chance the pool will be closed on September 6.  I may be moving the inaugural Because I Can Tri to August 30.  That’s the end of the first week of school and a good time to release stress.  I might make that move whether the pool is open or not.



Finally, Georgia.  Georgia, Georgia, Georgia…  That’s an ugly situation.

It’s hard to muster up sympathy for Georgia.  They did, after all, start this fight.  They didn’t consult with allies, or the UN, or neighbors…  they just rolled in under the umbrella of the opening ceremonies, while the leaders of the nations that run the world were on vacation, and thought nobody would notice.

It’s sort of like your girlfriend going up to the largest, meanest sonuvabitch in the bar, slapping him across the face, and expecting you to fight him.  Sorry, honey, this is your fight.

All the same, Georgia is this chick we’ve kind of been sleeping with, and we are a little obligated to make sure this gnarly bastard doesn’t ugly her up too much.  Grab her by the wrist and drag her back to me where I’m drinking and say “is this bitch yours?”  “Yea, is she causing trouble again?”  “Yea.  Don’t let it happen again.”  “No sweat.  Why don’t I buy you a beer?”

See?  That’s how it wraps up.  She’s got some bruises on her wrists, but she deserved it.  I’m out cash for a beer, and everyone is happy.

But NOOOO…  Russia goes and grabs her by the wrists, and THEN proceeds to smack her around a little.

That’s just not cool.

What would have been appropriate would be Russia rolling into the separatist regions and sending a message to the US asking, essentially, “This bitch belong to you?”  We’d, of course, say “yea, sort of.  They causing trouble again?”  Russia would respond with “Yea, and we’re keeping these regions.  Got it?”  We’d say “sounds fair” and then smack the government of Georgia around via diplomatic back channels for being so freaking stupid.

But no…  Russia has gone too far.

I’m not President, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express one time, and this is how I’d resolve this situation.


Me, to Russia:  there’s a cease fire agreement on your desk right now.

Russia, to me:  Yea.  So?

Me:  Well, you have 24 hours to sign it and roll your troops out of Georgia and back to the separatist regions.

Russia:  and if we don’t?

Me:  You don’t have to.  But in 24 hours we’re going to have our planes flying over Georgian airspace.  If your pilots so much as sneeze in a hostile manner, we’re turning them to dust.

Russia:  That’s not such a good idea.

Me:  We’ll have my planes and your planes figure that out.  My hunch is that my planes shooting at your planes is a much worse idea for your planes than it is for my planes.  24 hours after my planes start flying, we’ll start bombing Russian positions on the ground within Georgian territory.  It’s been a pleasure working with you.


See?  Done and done.  Russia doesn’t want war with the US.  And the US is the only nation in the world that can realistically stand up to blind Russian aggression…  and win.  Besides, maybe this is the war the Pentagon has been itching for over the last 50 years.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I have a route mapped from the YMCA (home turf for swimming) for the “Because I Can” triathlon (Because I Can Tri?).

Basically (everyone get out your maps), after swimming in the pool and getting the bike off the car, it’s west to TC Jester and onto the White Oak Bikeway.  On the Bikeway, it’s south to Ella Boulevard, then back north to 43rd street.  At 43rd, whip it back south to the pool at TC Jester for the final leg.

The dirt path at the park is a 2 mile loop (2.25 according to some, but who’s counting, really?).


Consider this the open invitation to all interested in joining me.  If it’s open, I’m certain I can secure entry into the pool at the Y for any and all takers (all 2 of you).

Entry fee is zero dollars, and support is what you bring with you.  My adoring legion of fan will be watching the bikes at the transition point.


Now the only wildcard is whether or not the pool will be open that weekend.  I know the City of Houston pool at TC Jester will be closed as of Labor Day.


Hmm…  ponder…


An Iron Man triathlon consists of 140.6 total miles of competition:  2.4 swimming, 112 biking, 26.2 running.

The folks who organize the Iron Man competitions have a 70.3 series which is, you guessed it, a half-iron man competition:  1.2 m swimming, 56 m biking, 13.1 m running.


That means a 1/4IM is only .6m swimming, 28m biking, and 6.5m running [6.55 actually) or 35.15 total competition miles.


On September 6, I will be completing just over 8 competition miles.

En route to the big day, I will rack up between 30 to 40 equivalent running miles.


I still don’t think I’ll hit that 366 mark, though.

The Stef is full

Well, I’ve mostly recovered from being bummed out (and gotten my first good night’s sleep since forever).


So, what to do?


The calendar looks like this:  sort of rectangular.


Just kidding.

This weekend is the parent’s anniversary and a baseball game.  Next weekend is the 4th Saturday of the month, and a very good day to get in a 5k training run (so I hear).  I can still swim during my off nights, and can still get in a run or bike afterwards.  The week of the 25th is still going to be cramped with school, but I will be in close proximity to an Olympic sized pool after classes, so that will still be awfully nice.

So, what to do?


I ran my first half marathon on a Tuesday, late in the morning, starting in my front yard and intending to go only 10 miles.  I ran the extra 3 miles not knowing that I actually was running a half marathon, only that I was going over the bridge that had been looming in my imagination as this impenetrable obstacle that I’d have to traverse not once, but twice were I ever to decide to cross that line (go to googlemaps and check out the rail road tracks just north of I-10 at TC Jester for perspective.  Folks from not in Houston, trust me, it’s big.)  The time came to turn around for 10 miles, but I chose to go straight for another 1.5 to make the full half marathon.

Needless to say I didn’t need a throng of adoring fans and a rock star reception at the finish line to decide to do it.  I just got up on Tuesday morning, in the middle of a much needed stay-cation, and decided to run 10 miles, that turned into a half marathon. 


Because I could.  No medals.  No accolades.  No watering stations or rest points.  Just me, a pair of shoes, a strip of pavement, an impenetrable obstacle, and a stubborn will to overcome.


So, on the morning of September 6 (I prefer to compete on Saturdays so that I can still worship on Sundays), I’ll get up, head to the Y with my crew in tow, swim my 200 yards, unload my bike and head out for a 6 mile ride.  At the end of those 6 miles (and hopefully 2 miles from home), I’ll re-rack my bike, get my running shoes from my crew wagon, and run to the finish line.

Not for the rock-star finish.

Not for certificates or medals or other accolades…


Because I can.

And others would…  but for the fact that they cannot.


Maybe I’ll make it an annual thing.


Oh yea, during my celebration, I’ll do my level best not to throw out my back!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Damnit, damnit, damnit, DAMNIT!!


The Stef is sold out.


I hadn’t even considered that possibility until K mentioned it.


I guess I should have signed up before I decided I was going to go and do this thing…




They do have a “Phantom Racer” option where you can give them money and send in a time, but I think I’m not going to do that.  It’s not quite the same as doing an actual triathlon.


Don’t know what I’ll do right now.  I’m a little (lot) bummed.


I guess it’s all for the best.  The frenetic activity of the last 2 weeks finally caught up to me today and I nearly collapsed while dropping off the little munchkin at school.  Dizziness, nausea, and general exhaustion kept me out of the pool today, and I’ve just taken an Ambien (happy pill) to make sure I actually get some sleep for a change.


Tomorrow, when I’m thinking more clearly, I’ll reconsider my options.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coffee out, tea in

Diet change number 2:  coffee for breakfast is out.  Tea for breakfast is in.


I put cocoa in my coffee because I loves me the chocolatey coffee taste.  Unfortunately, I think I loves it too much.

Unfortunately, the coffee here at the office without any added flavor tastes like hot, bitter nastiness and hate being poured down my throat.



Tea, on the other hand, I have no problem with.  So, coffee is out, tea is in.


Diet change number 1 has been a relatively broad elimination of red meat from the lunch diet.  I haven’t completely nixed it, but it’s largely gone from the lunch diet.  Red meat at lunch is just too heavy and generally packaged between a pair of buns with mayo and ketchup (occasionally cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, as well).

There’s this little place that I call the Cajun Chinese food place.  It’s a little hole next to a Chinese food place in the mall that serves essentially the same food, except it has a different name…  and the veggies are yummier.  I’ve taken to eating there more.  Plus I think I’m going to have to start swapping 1 lunch for a smoothie, just to make sure I’m getting the vitamins and junk I need.

I think I may like these next 28 days.


I think the dems will announce the VP pick shortly after the Olympics.

With the complete blackout on all things McCain from the media, I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP waited for the convention to make that call.


Meanwhile, it occurs to me that if the thing that makes the candidate acceptable to be elected President, is the person he has as a vice president, then that person has no business being President whatsoever.


We go to the polls to elect a President/Vice President ticket, sure.  But we’re not electing a Vice President.  We’re electing a President, who has selected a Vice President to work for him, “at the pleasure of the President of the United States of America”.  Just like the Secretary of State, or Defense, or Commerce.


If you look at the candidates and think to yourself “I could never vote for him, unless he selected THAT GUY to be VP”, then you shouldn’t be voting for him at all.  Read your constitution.  See what duties the President has, and what duties the VP has.  The only official duty of the VP is to be president of the Senate.  That’s it.  Done and done.  The executive gives the VP other stuff to do.  To the extent that the EXECUTIVE is capable, the VP then performs.  If you have a weak executive and a strong VP, well…  then you have to ask who’s running the joint (right George?). 

Besides, the Prez could ask the VP to resign on February 1 if he wanted to and just have a 12 month rotating VP for the duration of his term!  They could make it a reality show:  Who wants to be VP (or “Big Brother, White House”, HA!).  It’d be great.  A dozen losers try to win some stupid game show, they have a head of household competition (winner is actually VP for the week), and then they vote to kick someone off.  I would SO pay to watch that tripe.  Not like the tripe they have now that is totally meaningless and vapid.

Monday, August 11, 2008


That’s the short description of how I feel right now.


400 or 450 meters (yards, actually…  there’s a story behind that) in the pool, plus about 30 minutes on the bike which translates to close to between 6 and 8 miles (my odometer is busted, grr), plus the time spent in the pool Friday equates to 5 additional miles on the year and a very good feeling Brother Joe.


Turns out about 400m in the pool is 10 minutes.  So, that’s going to be 1 mile, not 200m.  I’m a little more efficient than I thought I was.  That means my goal for The Stef will be to finish in under 1 hour—30 minutes for the bike, 20 minutes running, and 10 minutes swimming.  Shouldn’t be any trouble at all.  I should actually finish close to 45 minutes, but I’m not going to push my luck.


Damn I feel good.

Damn good.




Ok, by my calendar I have effectively 4 weeks, including tonight, to train for The Stef.


This is how I’m going to do it:


August 11, 18, 25;  swim, bike.  Swimming will either after I come home from work, then I’ll ride my bike home from there.  The exception is the 25th, because classes start that day.  I’ll have to swim after class (9:00pm, yuck), then get in a ride either on a stationary at the rec. center or the next afternoon at the house.

September 1 is labor day and my anniversary.  I’m not sure what the workout schedule will be for that day.  Well…  I’m pretty sure what ONE workout will be…  teeheehee…


August 13, 20, 27;  swim, bike again.  Swimming is my weak set, and biking is my strong set.  The more time I get in the water, the better I’ll be.  Plus, if I can learn to recover ON the bike, then I’ll be in good shape for the run, which I hate to do.


August 15, 22, 29;  bike, run.  A light bike with the missus after work to get the little munchkin out of the house, and my butt up off the couch, then a little harder run after the sun goes down, maybe.  I’m thinking 1 or 2 miles.


August 16, 30:  Run, swim.  A run early, possibly with the missus on a bike with the munchkin following behind.  Maybe 2 or 3 miles, just enough to get the blood flowing.  Then later that morning or afternoon a good, long swim.  The weekend of the 23rd conspicuously falls on the 4th weekend of the month.  Hhmm..


September 1 – 5 is tapering week.  I’m almost certainly going to swim on Labor Day, as I have that day off from work AND school.  Maybe I’ll do a mini-tri just to prove that I can make the switch.  I’m thinking I’m not going to attempt to prove anything that week.  If I’m not physically able to do it by the 2nd, I’m not going to physically be able to do it 5 days later.


Diet will also have to change.  This could be a good thing for me all around.


Swim-miles conversion factor:  I’m going to count every 4 laps in the pool at the Y (200m) as the equivalent of running 2 miles.  Yes, I know 200m does NOT equal 2 miles…  the metric conversion is something like 18 stones or some stupid crap like that.  But if an hour on the bike equal 6 miles running, then 200m in the pool can equal 2 miles as well.

The Stef

K, I’m in.

September 7, 2008, I’m completing my first triathlon.


2 caveats, though:  my shoulder is unusually gimpy today and my ankle is hurting for some odd reason.  I don’t know what either of those two things mean, but they’re real, honest to goodness concerns about my ability to do this thing.


All the same, my lovely wife (and chief advisor) doesn’t know it yet, but I’m in.  (We’re still “discussing” whether or not it’s a good idea.  I know right now it’s not a good idea.  It’s a very foolish thing that I’m trying to do.  I have several priorities that should take precedence.  All the same, I haven’t stopped thinking about it.)


So, while we’re “discussing” whether or not this foolish thing is a good idea, I’m going swimming tonight so that I can prove to her that I can not only do this thing, but I’ll survive it quite handily.  Good idea or not, she’s worried about my health and well being and physical ability to complete this thing and not get hurt.


All I want to do is see the look on her face as I’m crossing that finish line.  One thing I’ve learned over the years about my lovely wife, when I do foolish things like a marathon or MS150, she gets this little glimmer in her eye that says “that’s my man”.

Damn right, baby.  That’s your man.

I think that’s why I do these foolish things.  Not because chicks dig it, but because one particular chick digs it.

Scars heal, glory lasts forever, and my girl loves her man.  Damn right.



In other news, cutting the roots of a stump is HARD DAMN WORK!!  More on that later.

Triathlon training, School, and Osteens

First off the summer semester is about to draw to a close and it looks like I’ll be hauling in another A (or A-, depends on how the final test goes).  That’s a load off.  A BIG load.  The fall semester will feature Organizational Behavior and Management (MANA 6332) coupled with Marketing Administration (MARK 6361).  At least one looks like a heavy presentation type class, and I’m ok with that.  That’ll bring me to the halfway point of my range-riding and every day after that will mean there are more miles behind me than in front of me…  “I’ll be anticipatin’/my true love will be waitin’/waitin’ at the end of my ride...”  It’s all worth it.  Bringing in the herd is what it’s all about.


On September 7 is The Stef.  As I said before, I love life and love folks who love life.  Just like I said when I trained for and ran my marathon and rode all those MS150s, I feel a little guilty when I come home, run down, tired, and just collapse.  Why?  Because I know, deep down, that I CAN… I just won’t.  Meanwhile there are people who simply CAN’T and would love to have the choice to simply not want to, versus be unable to.  Then, there are the people who shouldn’t be able to, then decide to do so anyway…  then I feel REALLY guilty.

So, when I heard about The Stef, and Stephanie Johnson (the namesake and inspiration), I thought to myself “why the hell not?”  I’ve talked about a triathlon before and never got off my ass to do one.  The semester is drawing to a close and I’ve got a good couple of free weeks during which I can seriously focus myself and see if I can pull this thing off.  200 yard swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run.  No sweat.




Yesterday I swam for the first time in eons.  I’m a strong swimmer, but it’s been awhile and I’m about 20lbs past my fighting weight.  I went 100yds non-stop, then had to stop.  Another 50 quick yards then had to take a longer breather.  The last 50 went relatively easy but there’s no way I could have gotten on my bike at that point.  If I can swim 200yds non-stop AND still be able to ride a bike and run over the weekend, I’ll do this thing.  Maybe I’ll make a day of it.  Otherwise it’s going to be tough to justify it to my lovely wife.  I figure I can “rest” while cycling, because that’s my natural first sport.  Running 2 miles isn’t going to be killer, as long as I don’t overdo it on the bike.

But everything rests on whether or not I can cruise 200yds non-stop in the pool (by non-stop I mean nothing more than a quick breather on the edge of the pool, The Stef’s swimming portion will be in a pool, not a pond.)

I’ll have my final determination on Sunday afternoon (sorry to keep you waiting, K.)


And now for Victoria Osteen (by popular demand, Jon).

I had a whole screed about Victoria acting like a fool in front of her children, husband, and “adoring public”.  I also had comments on Joel being unable to take control of the situation (I think I may have even used the term “control your woman”, which may be coarse in tone, but is not intended to be derogatory toward her at all).  I even considered what I would do in a situation like that if it were me and my wife going off the handle like that.  I even had $.02 for the stewardess who clearly is a money-grubbing fool.


But on second thought, I don’t really care enough about the Osteens to really have an opinion.  As far as I’m concered they’re just another pair of folks who have absolutely zero impact on my life.  I don’t care what they do, or how they act, or who tries to take 10% of their assets.


I can say that for me and my house, the whole thing would have been handled very, very differently.  Beyond that, I just don’t care and if I heard nothing more about those two, it would still be too much information.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty will be the Vice-Presidential pick for John McCain.


He makes the most sense.  He’s an “aw shucks” Midwesterner and governor of a key battleground state.


More importantly, he’s relatively unknown outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul, which means there will be renewed interest from Obama’s press corps…  er, I mean, the press, which will garner McCain some added press and attention while they pick over this guy’s governing ability.


Finally, and possibly even more important than the media attention angle, this guy seems like an everyman sort of guy who fishes on public lakes and hangs out with the fine folks of Minnesota and is glad to have his wife fish with him, but would rather her have sex with him (he said so in an actual radio interview).  He seems like the type of small town mayor type of guy who you see working in his yard as you’re coming through town, and you ask him for directions, he gives them, asks you where you’re from, then says “well thanks for visiting, I’m the mayor of this here town… stay for some coffee, will ya?”  Just a kind of unpretentious, Minnesota type of guy.


You know, the type of person who would never tell a 7 year old that America isn’t the country it could be, or the country it used to be, and he doesn’t want that kind of future for his children.


You know, that type of guy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hear this quote the other day

Ok, I heard this quote the other day and I can’t, for the life of me, remember where it came from:

(Something to the order of…)


“I will not allow the good to be held hostage to the perfect”.



An 80% solution is better than 0% solution if a 100% solution is practically, or politically, unattainable.


A very eloquently put statement.  I just wish I could remember where I heard it first.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Swimming test

I will hit the pool either tomorrow or Thursday to decide if I’m fit enough to complete the triathlon on the 7th of September.


I haven’t decided not to do the thing…  but I have decided to see if I can do the thing.

A conundrum

If drilling in our own backyard isn’t the answer to the current issue with high oil and gas prices, then why is pilfering the strategic oil reserves the solution?

This is the same trick that Al Gore tried (unsuccessfully) to play in 2000 when oil prices spiked and he talked BC into releasing oil from the strategic reserves (intended to provide oil during shortages in supply in times of crisis, not intervene in market pricing). 

We’re still paying for that election year ploy.

GWB at least ordered that we stop refilling the reserves a little while back.  That won’t hurt us strategically as much as actually taking steps backward would—eventually we’ll have to refill whatever we release onto the market.

But Obama (or, Dr. No Drilling as the elder senator refers to him) has decided that not only should we stop filling and drilling, but also release some of the reserves.  So, we’re going to draw down on the strategic oil reserves to bolster short term supply, AND do nothing to bolster long term supply to replace that oil.


Brilliant, really.


ADDENDUM:  I heard one second hand comment that the Junior Senator may be willing to allow offshore drilling…  haven’t tried to confirm that, but if it’s true you have to ask what’s caused the sudden change of heart.  Is it “me too” politics, and why the ongoing opposition in the face of rising sentiment to go ahead a drill on our own shores rather than outsourcing the drilling to others?  Sure, McCain voted to uphold the ban before coming out in support of drilling, but when McCain was saying to drill, and the President was lifting the executive order, Obama was still digging in his heels and saying “no”.  Sort of speaks to that “judgment” thing.