Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Feeling like a jerk.

And a doughnut, I had one doughnut.
Lost a filling on Sunday. My tooth is sensitive to cold. Not happy. I remember when piece of my tooth fell out, it was almost twenty years ago. It made me feel very old. I was 29.

Monday I had it replaced, and that went relatively well. I just feel like I am physically falling apart.

1982 Playlist
Workin' For a Livin' - Huey Lewis and the News
More Than This - Roxy Music
Let's Go To Bed (Extended Mix) - The Cure
Body Language - Queen

The daily exercise continues, weather and circumstance have kept me from running. The plan is to use the gym, but I don't like to go on my won. It's part of the new family routine, we just need to begin it. Temps should rise in the next day or two, but I cannot wait any longer.

Distance: 2.1 miles
Route: Neighborhood Run
Temperature: 8°
Climate: cold
Pavement: slippery with snow
Mood: unsure

Bitter cold at first and then it eased off, as I warmed up. Surprised to go two miles. That was a very good choice.

Stretches: yes

Baseline: 178 lbs.
Today: 179 lbs. (+0.5)
Goal: 170 lbs.

This is the thing. I have stopped eating processed sugar, entirely. However, I have a habit while I am preparing dinner of snacking big, hearty snacks. I used to have a handful of almonds to see me through, but yesterday it was a large amount of almonds, with dried cranberries. Then cheese and crackers.

Lunch was big, too, because I didn't pack my lunch, I bought it, and that's always a portion too big and high in calories. I have to pack my own lunch, I have to control my diet in the evening.

But there is no fucking way the president is 236 pounds. Donald J. Trump is not merely fifty-seven pounds heavier than I am, that's complete nonsense.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Once in a lifetime.

This guy.
Major dump last night, and I mean snow. The girl and I went out on a theater date, dinner and a show, and that was pretty all right. Today I am trying to dedicate myself to housework, but I am also supposed to run. She and I talked about possibly going out together, but I do not believe she will be into this, but I will ask. It takes a little crazy to even want to.

This evening the plan is to head to the art museum to catch the Jazz Age exhibit. That's the thing about living here, you put off attending these big shows until its too late. Last night they closed early, so tonight should be a madhouse.

I prefer to blog here about things I have done, not that I intend to do, because what's the point in mentioning something twice, or worse, admitting you didn't do what you had announced. But by Monday, these things will be so long past.

2002 Playlist
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Black - The Shroud

Oh, cool. Another song for the summer show.

Distance: .85 miles
Route: Onetime around the block.
Temperature: 16°
Climate: cold
Pavement: deep drifts
Mood: okay

Surprised by the amount of snow that that blown up onto the sidewalks on the other side of the block. Had to pick up my feet a lot, heavy breathing made me stop for a minute halfway through. It was arduous, and cold on top of that. Two laps were not for me.

Stretches: yes

Also, did some ab work. Just trying to keep it all inside.

Baseline: 178 lbs.
Today: 178.5 lbs. (+1.5)
Goal: 170 lbs.

No one needs more than two tacos at Barrio.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Just can't stop.

Caramels in the conference room, my son with a large box of Mike & Ike's ... this is my daily obstacle course. I just say no. It is truly a slippery slope and so easy to become demoralized.

However, I have been eating a lot of pasta lately, and that also includes a lot of sugar. Two years ago I forced whole wheat pasta on the family but gave that up after things felt under control. I think I need a return to the good stuff.

Meanwhile, I keep exercising on off days, at least ten minutes. It doesn't feel like a lot, but it's also not nothing.

1977 Playlist
Marquee Moon - Television
Nothing Achieving - The Police
Never Going Back Again - Fleetwood Mac
Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees
Barracuda - Heart
Disco Inferno - The Trammps
Sound and Vision - David Bowie
The Name of the Game - ABBA

Yes. Nineteen Seventy-Seven in a nutshell.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Route: Forest Hill Loop
Temperature: 54°
Climate: breezy
Pavement: wet
Mood: all right

The big push. A day with spring-like weather. It never got this warm the entire time we were in Orlando last week. Tomorrow it will snow, the next day it will freeze. It is a day for running free. I hope I do not hurt myself

Stretches: yes

Return to the woods. It was delightful to be running in the open air, through the trees. I felt it in my left thigh, all the way down. But that is the price we pay. I choose to focus on the trees.

Baseline: 178 lbs.
Today: 177 lbs. (-1.0)
Goal: 170 lbs.

Like most adults, all I ask is to be able to fit into my pants.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

I won't run for my life.

Burn before reading.
If I could actually wake at 5:00 AM I could accomplish tremendous things. Difficult trip to the dentist yesterday, kind of messed up the rest of my evening ... but, no. I successfully made dinner for myself and the kids, had a lovely time driving my daughter to and from her violin lesson, and even got to read to my son (Fahrenheit 451.)

And yet, slept too warm, woke with a headache that was part that and part the other. But writing still happened. We move forward. And yesterday? No sugar. None. Not even with Malley's candy left out on the conference table at work and the girls rediscovered Halloween candy bag just sitting there half-full on the dining room table.

Who takes a year to finish their Halloween candy?

1997 Playlist
Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
This Weight -Van Morrison
Your Woman - White Town
Mon Amour Tokyo - Pizzicato Five

Headphones that wrap around your ears are stupid. I wanted a new pair, and the boy had a new pair her decided he couldn't use. They sound good, and the line doesn't ride up, but these one-size-fits-all frames that are supposed to go around your ear doesn't fit anyone.

Distance: 1.7 miles
Route: Two times around the block.
Temperature: 30°
Climate: cold
Pavement: crusty with ice and crispy snow
Mood: maintaining

Stretches: yes

Baseline: 178 lbs.
Today: 178 lbs. (-0-)
Goal: 170 lbs.

So the good news is I haven't gained any weight since Sunday.

I'm talking about this weight.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

We could run.

Yes, I have exercised every day this year, so far. And it does make a difference. Running has been out of the question, however. First of all, we were out of town for at the beginning of the week, an impromptu excursion to Orlando which was not without its perils, and taking a jog was out of the question.

At home it has been freezing, in the single digits. As the weather "warms" up the next few days, I may even sneak in a three mile run by Thursday, when it is supposed to be rainy and in the fifties.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we begin. 54 Playlists for 54 Years (1965-2018.)

2017 Playlist
Cold - Maroon 5 ft. Future
Shape of Your Body - Ed Sheeran
We Could Run - Beth Ditto
Day I Die - The National
tonite - LCD Soundsystem

Sugar is the villain. Since returning home I have decided to try not to ingest processed sugar. It comes in many forms, yes, the bread, the sauce, the anything.

But, for example, my daughter offered me a cookie. No, thank you. I do not want a cookie. Last night my son offered his milkshake. It was from Swenson's, a new site close to home, our first time trying this franchise. I said no, and then yes. What are their milkshakes like? They are milkshake-like. He offered another sip later, I said no.

Today, however, I popped half a roll of Smarties that were just lying around into my mouth without thinking why. Just did it. That is how that happens. Didn't enjoy it. Just took it. And I thought, why did I do that? This is how that happens.

Distance: 1.7 miles
Route: Two laps around the block.
Temperature: 21°
Climate: cold
Pavement: crusty with snow
Mood: determined?

I weight four pounds more than I did at the start of last year. Ideally I would live at 165 and never change. Vanity wants 160, and so does my wardrobe.

Baseline: 178 lbs.
Goal: 170 lbs.

All right. Did that. Must stretch after, every single time. Plan to run again Tuesday. The year began today.

Sunday, December 31, 2017


I had completed fifty-two runs by April 5. I managed to run only another forty times the rest of the entire year. This has not been a good year for me physically. I wanted to lose weight, but I gained it. I am out of shape, weak and not very happy about it. I have for all intents and purposes stopped running entirely.

I brought gear to England and back without using it. I did not run over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Wasn't up to it, wasn't in the mood. How do I win this back?

It's not just vanity. My diet is horrible, and I do not wish to live the rest of my life in a health emergency. And I hurt to move.

These are steps in intend to take in the new year to improve my situation.

  1. Acquire a new physical therapist. Not happy with the former, and besides, we are in need of a new general practitioner now that University Hospitals fired not just ours but the entire office over a labor dispute (not cool, UH.)
  2. 10-20 minutes of exercise each morning. This is something I can do quite easily. Like writing a small amount each day, a little exercise daily goes a long way to improving my overall fitness and energy.
  3. Running short distances three times a week. This could include three mile runs, but even two laps around the block will improve my breathing and blood flow. Running every day, however, as I did at the start of the year, is not advised.
  4. Planning healthy menus. My wife has over the past several months has chosen a vegetarian diet. Neither the children nor I have been pressured into also adapting this lifestyle, but it will affect how we plan our meals. My efforts at non-meat based diets (going back to college) have resulted in an excessive intake of carbs, and that should be avoided. It does take good planning ... like all smart decisions.
We begin ... next week. See you then, and happy new year.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Shake your bag of bones.

Uffington White Horse
A few years back Diffuser posted XTC Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness and, just as many casual Beatles fans are shocked when such lists don't put Sgt. Pepper at the top of their list, I was surprised when Skylarking wasn't at the top of theirs.

Say what you want about their quirky early work or those weirdos who actually own and listen to the Apple Venus records (they say they're good,) the Todd Rundgren-produced and much gossiped-about Skylarking -- the final version, with "Dear God" included -- is fat-free and complete, every track a classic and with none of those songs which inevitably pop up on every XTC record featuring lyrics of social commentary so humiliatingly jejune and cringe-worthy.

Diffuser ranked Skylarking number three. Number one was reserved for English Settlement.

My son has decided he is unimpressed by modern pop music, and so we tend to listen to the classic rock stations. He likes the production values of the seventies and eighties. But that still means I have to play him albums from that era which even now receive no airtime, and that includes, of course, XTC.

I was looking forward to listening to all of English Settlement on the drive from Athens yesterday, but I was caught flatfooted by the terribleness of some of the songs which deal clumsily with the torpor of modern living, and of gender and race. The male-shaming (and yet not actually pro-female) lyrics of "Down In The Cockpit" are embarrassingly naive, even if the beat is infectious and strong. The sentimentally joyful plea for tolerance in "Knuckle Down" is entirely overwhelmed by its joyfully privileged condescension. And "Leisure" is simply a horrible song to listen to, with or without the words.

This is coming from a guy who really loves XTC.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Route: Forest Hill Loop
Temperature: 34°
Climate: cool. nice.
Mood: okay.

What rocks English Settlement are those songs, naked in their cultural appropriation, employing "African rhythms" which were all the rage among white, male performers in the 1980s from Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon on down. The forced patois and imagery of "It's Nearly Africa" would be as dismissible as those of Toto's "Africa" if it weren't for the irresistibly funky beat and the driving arrangement. It does, indeed, make me want to finger-paint the sun on you.

Also, too, the words in "Melt the Guns" are no less relevant now than they were thirty-five years ago. They are unfortunately much much more so.

Finally, "Snowman" is one my very favorite holiday songs, even though it has nothing to do with Christmas except sleigh bells and the references to snow and cold. It includes one of my most favorite phrases about feel lost and embittered in love; "People will always be tempted to wipe their feet on anything with 'welcome' written on it."

This is where Partridge truly shines, when he is speaking from the heart about emotions that are closest to him. Broken hearts, loss of faith, the British class society. Making grand pronouncements about sex and race, he sounds awfully male and white.

No, seriously. I really love the music of XTC. But though the lyrics were, in my college years, a gateway for me into more progressive thinking, they are, many of them, facile thoughts better left to open the minds of a new generation of young, white men ... like my son.

This is a playlist of the best tracks, and best running tracks, from English Settlement.

English Settlement - XTC (1982)
Runaways (167 bpm)
Melt The Guns (182 bpm)
It's Nearly Africa
Fly On The Wall
Down In The Cockpit (158 bpm)
English Roundabout
Snowman (174 bpm)

See? That is some boss beats per minute.

Sprinting down the street, I bust my supporter. Hmn. Need a new supporter.

Didn't even take my kit to Athens. When was the last time I didn't run at Thanksgiving? Pain shot straight down through my leg at one point, but it eased off. Glad I ran. No regrets.