Monday, September 01, 2014

If I tell you what I'm doing today will you shut up and get out of my way?


In this house, Labor Day is about housework. No planes, no picnics, just cleaning up and planning for the future. Feeling adrift ... so many endings, too many beginnings. So we run.

Temperature: 77°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Hot, sweaty, bright (no sunglasses), wearying but good.

Middle School Playlist (1979-81)
I'm a Cult Hero - Cult Hero
Clampdown - The Clash
Got The Time - Joe Jackson
Love This Life - The Blue Nile
Forever In Blue Jeans - Neil Diamond
Life Begins at the Hop - XTC
That's Entertainment - The Jam
Rock Lobster - The B-52's

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Burning in the outside lane.


This fall is one of great moment and change. I am not just talking about the painting I am doing this week in the downstairs bathroom (we've had one functioning bathroom for well over a year, maybe two, that's how we roll in this house) but the advances our kids are making in school.

The boy has moved from one elementary school to another, as his sister did before him, to take advantage of programming. And she is now in middle school.

Middle school was possibly the worst period in my life. There have been terrible events, which can be managed in one way or another or not at all, some brought on by my own poor judgement and others entirely by fate.

But the extent to which I went from being a confident, creative soul in fifth grade to feeling entirely defeated in sixth grade was unnecessary. Say what you want about adolescence, and about the cruelty of children, it didn't have to be that way.

Perhaps there are things I will be entirely unable to protect my daughter (and son) from, but she has already marched into this new, expansive phase of her life with bravery and far less fear than I possessed at that time. She walks to school with a pack of friends (she walks to her neighborhood school, who does that anymore???) and is confident in her talents and aware of her weaknesses.

Her school, part of the most unfairly maligned school district in America, has many outlets for artistic creativity, whereas the middle school I attended, part of a district consistently rated in the "top ten" public school districts in Cuyahoga County (one can only assume they factor in high marks for racism, Antisemitism, homophobia and a general hatred for the poor) did not.

I had nothing to do in middle school. No outlet for my writing, for drawing, for acting, for anything. I was treading water, getting in trouble, weathering abuse, biding my time. It was awful. But the music was awesome.

Middle School Playlist (1979-81)
Turn It On Again - Genesis
Sat In Your Lap - Kate Bush
Dream Police - Cheap Trick
Deathwish - The Police
Only a Lad - Oingo Boingo
Landlord - The Police
Through Being Cool - Devo
Cool For Cats - Squeeze

Not emotionally nor physically prepared for running this afternoon. I felt a bit queasy, had spent an emotional afternoon having brunch with some friends (old and new) and yesterday I pulled a muscle in my right calf and it had been troubling me ever since.

I am to be on my own with the kids tonight, with one hour to either nap or run. What to do? I geared up, and this time brought a water bottle with me. It's so humid, I get so thirsty.

After a quarter mile, I felt sick to my stomach, exhausted and despondent. I drank some water and continued. Three miles later, I hadn't stopped running. Good for me.

Temperature: 79°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Last night my wife and I saw Boyhood, which is nothing short of amazing. I was seriously disoriented by the end, it is a dizzying, remarkable ride.

My wife pointed out that the final line of the film, a beautiful if simple observation, spoken by the main character who we have literally (I can say literally) watched age from 6 to 18 years old in the span of two and a half hours, could be sued to describe director Richard Linklater's entire aesthetic.

"It’s constant," he says, "the moments, it’s just — it’s like it’s always right now, you know?"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Like, for this cat, the only reality ... is death, man.


I fear we have reached a technological zenith, and that we are, all of us, on the decline. Some first believed the iPhone looked ridiculous, because it was contrary to our belief system that something (videlicet, a phone) could be made better by being made larger. That is not how portable technology works, things are supposed to get smaller.

What we, which is to say me, entirely missed was that the iPhone was not a "phone" per se, but the entire Internet available in your hand. Put that way, it makes perfect sense. All of reality was now portable, and speaking to people over the "phone" would soon be obsolete, regardless.

However, and this is where things get weird. I still have an iPod from 2006. It is the size of a pack of gum. It holds 500-ish songs. It is not wifi-enabled, of course, it's old, it does not map my route. It plays MP3s, that is all it does, and it does that very well, especially for the purpose of entertainment while running.

When I was a young adult, I tried running with a cassette player in my hand. The thrill of listening to music while running quickly became a daily irritation with send the device back and forth, from one tired and hand to the other. Also, the mix tape. It's always the same tape, isn't it? Perhaps we were more discriminating in our music choices, only the best songs were on that tape. But seriously.

I am still extremely satisfied with my iPod nano, and hope it continues to last. Headphones come and go, the hardware remains.

However, as more and more individuals acquire smart phones, I have noticed a disturbing trend among runners, one which involves  holding the phone in your hand and playing music out loud from through its shitty speaker.

Holding the phone in your hand while running, listening through God's worst monaural speaker, and more horrifying of all, you're being loud in public with your terrible music.

Temperature: 86°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Middle School Playlist (79-81)
Golden Brown - The Stranglers
Kid - The Pretenders
Bye Bye Love (from "ll That Jazz") - Ben Vereen, Roy Scheider & Company
Rockestra Theme - Paul McCartney & Wings
Message In A Bottle - The Police
We Got The Beat - The Go-Go's
Boys Don't Cry - The Cure

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When you woke up today.


Suddenly, school year. Evenings are spent in the service of others, cooking, cleaning, generally being with. We, all of us, after just three days, wake up so tired. We strive to bed down earlier, and so I must work to rise early, too. To run.

As with marathon training, I need to put out my kit the night before. It makes waking up so much easier, to know I need not search for my outsit. It's there, I put it on, and am moving down the street before I know I am awake.

Temperature: 64°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Morning. So cool. So tired. So hard.

Sub-culture Playlist
She's Lost Control - Joy Division
Nothing - Depeche Mode
Play For Today * - The Cure
Peek-a-boo - Siouxsie & the Banshee
Shellshock - New Order
Subculture - New Order
So Hard - Pet Shop Boys

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We're running our last race.

Potter Village Block Party 2014

We move into fall. At the block party last night the DJ played September, a song about nostalgia, from the nostalgia decade, one which carries additional nostalgia not simply because it reminds me of my own adolescence, but because it was featured in an ice show on the big boat in 2009, when the kids were small and the future so uncertain.

That was also the first year for the block party, and our whole lives have altered so much since then, except in the ways in which it hasn't. We are still here, and strong, and dedicated. It was a great party. This is a great neighborhood.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Climate: gorgeous, but humid

The Globe Playlist
The Globe (12" Mix) - BAD II
Rise * - Public Image Limited
The Mayor of Simpleton - XTC
Right Here, Right Now (Gulf Edit) - Jesus Jones
Ana Ng - They Might Be Giants
I'll Be You - The Replacements
Destination Unknown - Missing Persons

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blow your mind.


Why take a run into an oncoming thunderstorm? Leg pain.  My thigh aches, and I really craved exercise. Just as dinner was ending, the trees started getting crazy and I put on a kit ASAP to try and beat the storm. At the very worst, I'd get wet, and when it's warm, that's fun, too.

Then rain it did, and thunder. And lightning. I read this piece some years ago about a guy who lost hearing in both ears when he was struck by lightning wearing headphones. Just exploded his eardrums.

So that wasn't fun to think about and I took off my headphones. So I thought about my earbuds conducting electricity through my neck, and that was also no fun. I was wet, and having no fun. So I turned around.

Temperature: 81°
Climate: Thunderstorm!
Distance: Maybe one mile.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

He must be happy in his work.

La Tea Dolly Little Free Library
1637 Lee Rd.
Whereas I had expected a compete malaise induced breakdown upon our return from vacation, I have experienced something altogether different. There are a billion things to do, on the professional, personal, artistic, familial and intimate tip. They will not all be accomplished. But if I can press forward at a steady pace, I will do more than that which is expected, or that has been accomplished, in days past.

Side note: This laptop is breaking down. The mousepad is sticky and the screen has a disconnection with the board which makes it flicker from time to time. New things become old things. We endure, repair, replace, and move on. Kind of like what I am experiencing with my own body.

There are massive emails out for which I await a reply, and calls for which I await return. There was a reading of Script Number Three this week, I am currently editing Script Number Four.

No, I have never written three play scripts in one year in my entire life. You can lament time wasted (and there has been so much time wasted) or you can shrug casually and press on. One track is considerably more productive.

Today, we sand and maybe later, paint. Cut the grass, pull the weeds, edit the script. It is a day of social media bedrest. We produce. And we run.

Temperature: 75°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 175 lbs.

The good news, I gained no weight over summer vacation. The bad news, will I ever weight less than 175 pounds again before I die? It is a question.

Last night I ...
  • Had two cocktails.
  • Stayed up past midnight
  • Slept until 9 AM
And yet I rose this morning feeling refreshed and free of head pain. Discuss.

Boy Run

Distance: .85 mile

Took the boy out for a trot around the block. He only had to stop a couple times with a stitch in his side. That was good fun.

Echo Beach Playlist
Echo Beach * - Martha and the Muffins
Town Called Malice- The Jam
Because the Night - The Patti Smith Group
Going Underground * - The Jam
Making Plans for Nigel - XTC
We Close Our Eyes - Go West
Atomic - Blondie
Two Tribes - Frankie Goes to Hollywood