Category Archives: Current Events

Kind of Like a Greek God


You might remember that about 4 years ago, I was running daily. I even ran a 10K. My Facebook post from that day (August 26, 2012): “I ran the South Lakes 10K today! My time? An incredible 1:35:12. I even got a police escort to the finish line, because they’ve never seen ANYONE finish a 10k as slow as I did. At least they didn’t make me pick up the orange cones along the route…”

Last place. Last one to cross the finish line before the cops closed the course. But damned if I didn’t finish the race. I felt like wing-footed Hermes, for just one day.

Then, stuff started happening. My library job at US Geological Survey had ended a few months before. I was unemployed for 9 months. My depression kicked in, and I just didn’t have the energy or the fight to run. I took a job in the restaurant industry. My schedule was all over the place. Some days I was up at 4 AM, and some, I didn’t have to work until 3PM.  It was tough to maintain a schedule.

I began to experience plantar fasciitis.  For those of you who haven’t experienced it before, well, it’s heel pain, brought on from too much “on-your-feet-all-day”. It was so extreme, I even had to take a day or two of work.

After a couple months of forcing myself not to run, I finally felt sufficiently recovered to start (slowly) running again.

I slipped on the ice and fell on my butt. Twisted my ankle. So I gave myself a week to recover. I slipped on the ice and did it *again*.

It seemed like The Gods of Run were against me so I gave up. I focused exclusively on my work. I gained weight.

Now, it’s three years later. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life, and you know what?

SCREW the Gods of Run.

Apart from exercising my brain, which this blog tends to help sufficiently, I am also trying my best to make my body a bit more healthy. About a 7 days after I got the CPAP machine (That was early in April), I felt like I had enough energy to start walking again.

So I’ve been walking 6 weeks.  At first I wasn’t going very far, I doubt I was even walking a mile.  But I was outside, it was springtime, and I was walking.  Those were the most important bits.

I’ve forged a course around Lake Thoreau now (ok–it’s called the Red Trail and it was already there–but it was new to me. It’s a paved walking trail. Every once in awhile I see someone on a bicycle, but it’s not all that common. Usually just folks older than I am, or agressive runners. Once I saw an entire South Lakes High School PE class doing the same circle as me. It’s approximately 2 miles around the lake, from my front door, so 3 tours around the lake is a 10k.

I’m not quite at my old level yet. I’m taking it easy. If I’m hurting, or if I have to walk in the dark to get around the lake, I take a day off. If it’s raining or the weather is bad, I delay my walk. I alternate between leisurely days, and “fast” days, when I push my pace and try to sweat a little.  I hope that, before summer, I’ll be able to push my pace from a fast waddle to a slow lope.

My route takes me past the golf course, over a little bridge, right to the back entrance of the South Lakes High School, across the dam, past a shopping center, but the odd thing is it feels like I’m in the woods most of the way. It’s not uncommon to see a half dozen cardinals (the birds–not the church officials).

People are nicer on the trail. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the same as the Regency Era’s landed gentry taking a tour about their grounds. I always pass folks on the trail, and they smile and wave. Sometimes they exchange a cheerful greeting. Once an old lady with a cane and a bad dye job offered me information about exercise clothes that have built in pockets for smartphones.

But not built-in smarts for people with hands in their pockets.

Yesterday I took another nosedive. I dunno why. Weak ankles. Let’s blame weak ankles and Communism.

There was a large white Reston Association work truck in the middle of the trail. I’ve seen it before. The two guys, one clean shaven, and one with a beard, lean against the truck and guard their lawn tools and their big orange cooler full of Gatorade. Since the stupid truck was on the stupid path, I had to walk in the dirt. I tripped over a root, or an ankle-high fence, or a lawn gnome or something. Before I realized it, I was face-forward in the dirt. I’d twisted both my ankles and scratched up the palm of my right hand. I was approximately halfway through my walk, so I just continued the way I went.

Even though it was pretty obvious from my shout of “DAMMIT,” and the sound of 300 pounds of meat falling in the soil near the lake, the guys did not shirk their duty. No Gatorade was stolen. They didn’t even look my direction. People can be neato.

I was fine, although I’m still taking Tylenol to dull the ankle pain.

But this time, the Gods of Run aren’t going to spoil my time. I need to get healthy. With my writing I’ll get a sound mind, and with my exercise a sound body. Kind of like a Greek God, if that God were Dionysus. Or maybe I’ll be the Patron Saint of Falling Over A Lot. Only time will tell.

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Wresting the Environment from the Activists


Once upon a time, I had a boss who loved to mention his “personal friend, governor John Ashcroft.” He did it all the time. One time, during a meeting, where our boss once again, referred to his “personal friend governor John Ashcroft” a friend of mine leaned over and muttered behind his hand, “What was that name again?” I snorted out loud.

Continue reading Wresting the Environment from the Activists

Microwaved Coffee, and Thoughts about Dying


It’s a cloudy morning. It’s supposed to rain today, maybe. We might get a thunderstorm. Nothing is all that definite except for me, and my cup of cold coffee. I’d microwave the stuff but have you ever drunk microwaved coffee? There’s something eerily still about the beverage once you bring the cup out. Like the molecules were vibrated into submission or something. Like a swamp creature might pop out of the liquid. Also, it’s a quite unsavory thing to do to a decent cup of coffee. Tastes like death. I’ll drink it cold, thanks.

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Un-politicizing our Compassion


Todd Palin, the First Gentleman of Alaska, was injured pretty badly in a snowmobile accident. Did anyone hear this? It happened maybe two days ago. His wife, Sarah Palin, posted this on Facebook a few hours after it happened:

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The Inspector


Yesterday I arrived at work 30 minutes early. Since I’m not allowed to drive and nobody should be allowed to ride the bus, I’m beholden to Judi’s lunch schedule. Fortunately for her, I’m quite good at riding in a car, so I didn’t mess up her day too badly.

Dear diary: I arrived at work 12:30PM. By 12:35PM, the Health Inspector had arrived.

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Whatever Happened to the Olympics?


I remember when I was young, and the Olympic Games meant something. In 1976 the games were held in Toronto. My granny took me to Burger King, where I got a free poster to commemorate the occasion. I didn’t watch much in the way of sports then, being only 8 years old, but I knew it was something special. I got a Bruce Jenner poster, the winner of the Gold Medal in the Decathlon that year. Nadia Comaneci was gold medal-winning spitfire that year. I didn’t get one of her posters; she wasn’t American.

We only got one TV channel in those years (2 if we didn’t mind lots of snow and accompanying headaches)and the station that aired the Olympics (ABC, I believe) was one of these. As a family we were weekly viewers Wide World of Sports.  “Spanning the globe… to bring you a constant variety of sports,”  it began. And every week , we’d see that ski jumper tumble off the ramp. Agony of defeat.

In 1980, The US boycotted the Summer Olympics because, in irony of all ironies, the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. The winter Olympics, though, were a thing of beauty in Lake Placid, NY, where I remember the Miracle On Ice, when the US, in defiance of the Soviet Bloc countries, won the Hockey championships.

1984 we viewed the Sarajevo Olympics, where we were treated to Scott Hamilton, who had won a string of gold medals for years. His figure skating routine had me laughing aloud. I particularly remember the closing ceremonies, and the camaraderie amongst the athletes. This made me want to become an exchange student all the more. It is hard to fathom that in only 7 years, Yugoslavia would no longer exist, and the Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats would see their nation wracked with war.

The 1984 Summer games were in Los Angeles  The highlights were (1) I was caught masturbating by my mom, who entered my room without knocking to tell me that opening ceremonies were beginning (2) the Soviets boycotted the Olympics to boycott our boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. Boy, were our faces red!  There was also (3) the men’s gymnastics team, including Peter Vidmar, Bart Connor, Tim Dagget and Mitch Gaylord, winning the Gold Medal. I recall wondering if they’d have won if the Soviets had bothered showing up. That summer (4) Zola Budd also crashed into fellow runner Mary Decker. Was it deliberate? Probably not, but we thought so at the time, probably because he Soviets weren’t there to give us the fight we were all itching for.

After that, I don’t know what happened. The Olympics were held in Soeul, Lillehammer, Salt Lake City, Albertville… were they in London already? Atlanta? Oh, yeah. There were bombings. It all blurs together in a slushy sea of “I no longer give a damn.” I’m a horrible person.

The two amazing moments in 25 years of Olympic hubbub since then (the IOC allowing professional basketball players being the final nail on my Olympic coffin) were Greg Louganis, who slammed his head against the diving platform and went on to win a gold medal for his perfect form. Also, Kerri Strug’s amazing vault on a sprained ankle that led the US Women’s team to an all-around gymnastics victory.

And now, the winter Olympics Sochi, which surprising to most Americans, isn’t in Japan but a city on the Black Sea in Russia. The only reason I’m even aware of this games is the Russian stance on LGBT individuals.

Did I change or did the Olympics? I still love a good underdog story. I enjoy all the sports in the Olympics with the possible exception of badminton, because those guys spike the birdie hard (when they’re trying at all), and speed skating (they look like dorks). Through all this time, controversy and politics has tarnished the sporting events, and probably will for years. I haven’t got the patriotic animosity toward a red sickle-and-hammer world power anymore. Maybe I simply no longer care, because I live in a world where my television receives more than two channels. I don’t know. The thrill is no longer there for me.  I will show solidarity with my LGBT friends another way, I think. This new fight, sorry to say, is just stupid. So, I guess I’ll just celebrate this year’s Olympics exactly as I have done every year since 1980—by drinking coffee and relaxing on the couch—only this year, I’m not even going to bother watching.

Snowhere to Be Seen


“Grumpy cat?”

“Grumpy cat.”

“School’s closed–you don’t have to get up.”

That was 5:30 this morning. The Lady’s work is also cancelled, due to snow.

Yeah, snow. You know, that stuff we haven’t seen yet today.

Continue reading Snowhere to Be Seen