Monday, December 29, 2008

Break's over, back on your head.

Three runs in three straight days. Breezy and cool, perfect. Tomorrow we go home.

For fourteen years I have been welcomed, accepted into this house. I never feel judged here, it is in this place that I learn how not to judge. In times of greatest shame I have returned here, to feel forgiven. In times of greatest mourning I have come here for comfort. This place calms my anxieties, soothes my troubled mind, strengthens my resolve, helps me to change what I can, accept what I cannot ... the proverb is somewhat musty.

When we return there will be Christmas things to put away, baseboards to paint, lines to internalize, schedules to revise, taxes to be paid, thank you notes to write, rooms to be cleared, hand-me-downs to be sorted, comics to be sold, shows to be promoted, children to be taught.

Until then, a beer, a shower, a movie, in the soothing comfort of home.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 44 degrees

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Betta Change (161 BPM)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

When I'm good and ready, dreidel I'm gon' play.



Been working my iPod moves, Ali.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 46 degrees.

Best of 2008 Playlist
Dreidel - Erran Baron Cohen ft. Jules Brookes
L.E.S. Artistes - Santogold
Detroit - Black Gold
American Boy (Soulseekerz Club Remix) - Estelle
We Are One (KULT) -Tribalishious
Disturbia - Rihanna
Who Knew - P!nk
Cooldown: Down to Earth - Peter Gabriel

Man, iTunes gave away a lot of great stuff this year.

Guess what book I got for Christmas this year?

That Darn Cat!

Memo to myself ... start and finish at the rec center, not the other way around. The wind is always blowing north and east with the river.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 66 degrees. It's gorgeous!

Fabulous day on South Green ... breezy and bright and warm. It's usually January when we get one (just one) of these freaky 70-ish degree days before slamming back into the deep freeze. But here we are. Anything can happen in Athens.

Second Christmas, lots of Bailey's spilled into morning coffee and lucky, lucky children getting a second helping of too many great presents. We are fortunate, indeed.

Best of 2008 Playlist
Lights & Music - Cut Copy
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats
Mansard Roof - Vampire Weekend
Don't Stop The Music - Rihanna
Black & Gold - Sam Sparro
Mercy - Duffy
2007, The Year Punk Rock Broke My Heart - Los Campesinos!
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
1,000,000 - Nine Inch Nails
Uninvited - Freemasons
Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free - Zombie-Zombie
Cooldown: Blind - Hercules and Love Affair

Cat worries that she is not good enough an artist, but I feel so intensely grateful to have her as part of this project. She is a better artist than I am, don't let her fool you, and has a greater range of styles and influences. That's why she's doing this.

And what is she doing, exactly? She is the Hand of Pengo® acting as the cartoonist and illustrator I never was, the main character of this play.

So ... if this is an autobiographic solo performance, why are you not an actor? Because this is a play, silly, and my work is self-referential and navel-gazing as it is without making a number of pithy theater references. I did enough of that in Vampyres, God knows.

I needed someone who could represent my work as a high school newspaper cartoonist, and one in college, writing for a weekly alternative paper, a graphic novelist, a designer of greeting cards. I can't do all of that. And even if I could, some of what I share in this piece is difficult enough without anyone judging my drawing abilities.

I received a copy of Art Spiegelman's Breakdowns for Christmas. I love his work, but I found this one to be less than the others. It is half memoir and half reprints of work from the early 70s. I can't tell if it's a memoir padded out with old stuff or he wanted to share his less-known work and needed to ad an extended introduction to justify peddling reprints. He is without a doubt a master draftsman, but emotionally he goes over a lot of the same ground covered in many previous books, especially MAUS.

However, reading it reminded me of where I came from, and how I justified creating &TYD. The canon of autobiographic-graphic novels is becoming quite extensive, and those which shine are making it a lot more difficult for those who do not. The work of Harvey Pekar has been a great influence on me since I first began reading American Splendor in the late 80s.

Last year Leah gave my wife a copy of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and me Peter Kuper's Stop Forgetting to Remember. The former is about the author's relationship with her closeted father and his possible suicide. The latter about the author's own anxieties about his penis, being a cartoonist, impending fatherhood and (I'm not kidding) September 11th.

I will let you guess which one I admired more. Let me give you a hint - the one is an outstanding piece of writing, illustration and pathos that I read in passive fascination until the final page, when I suddenly found myself weeping uncontrollably. The other I hope and pray to God is not how my own work comes off to friends or strangers.

And so; it is because I am presenting a play that I chose to make the main character a cartoonist. If I am really as good a graphic artist as Cat has suggested, then I will someday create a graphic novel about being an actor.

And here's your Saturday evening wake-up call:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Leah, art demons, and fretting

David dropped an email on me today, suggesting that someone might want to read about my creative process. Not after they read this, most likely.

My creative process consists of fretting. I fret about my inability, about the lack of time I have (because I spend so much time fretting, doubtless) about all the people I know who can do the job better than me, about how everything I write/act/draw/whatever is crap, and about how I should be doing all the other, more responsible things in my life instead of whatever creative thing I am doing.

I met Leah today and did a few sketches of her, and took a few photographs. She has amazing eyes, huge and dark and beautiful. Expressive and secretive---Pushkin's Russian eyes. Fun to draw, like drawing a character from "Elfquest" or something.

It's hard to get her mouth right, though. I messed around on paper but it is really elusive. Thick on the top and kind of Greek-looking. But that's what the photographs are for. It's weird-- I used to hate drawing from photographs but now I kind of prefer it. I can be nitpicky and get things on paper better than if I'm working with a live human. I think it's because I assume they are bored out of their skulls, having to sit so still for longer than a few minutes. Actually, what I prefer is looking at the live person, sketching, and then having a photograph to pick at later. This way you get the alive feeling of a model but the accuracy of the photograph.

I look at David's sketch and wonder why it is that he isn't drawing this himself, because he is clearly better at drawing than I ever will be. He's busy, I tell myself. He gets more stuff done before breakfast than I do all week, though. I imagine that everyone does.

I am attempting to channel the art demons. This is what my family jokingly calls the way my mom, uncle, and myself can pour ourselves into an art project for days at a time and not sleep or do much of anything else. Believe it or not, for me it is the most effective way of getting creative stuff done. Eventually I will wear down my own resistance at creation and things will start happening--lines will be learned, stories will appear, cartoons will happen. My dad and grandmother used to do this, too, so I imagine it's an inherited trait from both sides of the family, for me. Manic art creation? I guess. Or waiting for my doubt to get too sleepy to stay up any longer. I seldom have the opportunity to do this anymore now that I have a semi-regular job and I've been looking forward to it, and dreading it, for a couple of weeks now.

My mom used to start her artistic process with a glass of wine. I just whine.

Pat has wisely (and handily) left town until Sunday to visit with our Viking chick artist friend in Toronto and then see some sort of sporting event in Buffalo. The art demons have not yet appeared, despite me attempting to conjure them with coffee and blank paper. I have sketched a few things which look crappy and amateurish to me. I have taken out all of my notes and doodles and David's script and his cartoons and art and the library's copy of 300(damn, I have to renew) and spead them all out on the dining room table. I have put tantalizing fresh pencils and markers and even a Pentel colorbrush and assorted types of paper and bristol there, as well.

I have stared at this altar. The cats have walked over it. And that's it, right now.

The problem is that what is going through my brain is not art demons, but a rather Pekar-ish fret of all the things on my to-do list which have to get done, and soon. I've got to fill out my FAFSA forms (I'm going back to school in the Spring...again!). I've got to draw this couple and their dog and get it in the mail with an invoice. I have to send scripts out to my actors for the reading I'm directing in March, and try to get them all to send me a conflict sheet and contact information. I have to finish a piece of jewelry. I've got to do my CAR forms (these insipid assessment forms that have to do with making sure I'm doing my job as a teacher, instead of, I dunno, showing filmstrips every day or whatever it is bad teachers do). I have to make my syllabi for Spring. I have to write/call that professor again to beg for permission to get into her class without taking the prerequisite. I've got to go online and order all of my books.

I've got to print out new copies of my transcript request forms and fax them in to KSU and TESC because Pat left the forms I gave him to fax at work and he won't get back there until Tuesday. I've got to finish learning my lines for Twelfth Night. I've got to get back to Matt about his February show. I've got to get a costume guide together for the pirates. I have to find a pocketwatch, a pair of opera glasses and a sniper rifle, or items which look like all of the above, for props. I really should paint the foyer.

Other house stuff. Other school stuff. Other art stuff. Other theatre stuff.

Oh! And I have to drop a note to Josh--when is he gonna film my hands?

But what is currently keeping my art demons from the task at hand is they are all wanting to work on Conspiracy Theory. Stupid art demons.

Conspiracy Theory is a play I'm working on which is getting a reading over at Oddy Fest in January. I'm very unsatisfied with it, as I am with everything I have ever done, and I can't stop picking at it. The actors came over and had the first read-through here a couple of days ago, and this is what is consuming the creative bits of my brain which have not yet been steamrolled by OMG YOU SUCK feelings. If I work on it for an hour, maybe I can get it off my mind.

I'm going to try that, and if that doesn't work, I'm going to get on the internet and look for other Derf reference material. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to set up a splatter zone in the basement and screw around with Frank Miller. That sounds much kinkier than it actually is.

Did I eat today? I can't remember, so that's probably a good sign.

Okay, whining over. Work now.

Now, I said!

Migraine Holiday

The migarines came fast and furious for a few years, cresting in 2006 ... and then subsiding. In the past year, as med prices went up and funds dwindled, I began taking OTC drugs to alleviate the swelling in my sinuses. And that was a result of what I believe was the most successful part of my diagnosis - where my migraines start, and how to notice them starting.

It has a lot to do with allergies, for me. And so if I can take anti-allergy meds, and pain reluevers, it can subside without using the expensive, full-bore stuff.

Holidays have been ruined by migraines, especially Christmas, when I seem to get terrible, no-fun headaches. One began tonight and made me unhappy during dinner - we are celebrating "Second Christmas" in Athens with the out-laws. I went to the drug store for crystal meth starter and took two naproxen. I have that "mgraine hangover" - weak, but pain-free.

I am convinced it's the dogs. Three dogs in this house during the holidays (one of my wife's aunts brings the extra one) and maybe that has something to do with my annual Christmas horror show. After all, I did have a headache yesterday.

This is what I have to work on before the next rehearsal:

-Man is the Measure: find voice for Mr. A
-Watch ipod commercials
-Tai Chi
-unbelievable phone call
-Mr. Self-destruct: physicality of Sheba
-Fitter happier
-Marathon: old fashioned story-telling aka, Shakespearean
-At a distance: talking to the hospital; present vs. past tense.
-I need you so much closer
-The end of it all

Original word count: 12,535
November 18 word count: 12,490
Today's word count: 12,278

Show, don't tell.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A chorus of angels

Running Lakewood, from my folks house to Cove and back. I have not run this Lake Avenue since 2006, and then it was in the oppostie direction. To honor this occasion, I have been working on that part of the show ... and editing.

Editing is good. I have not had the chance to calculate how many words I have removed since Ali and I have begun our stand-up work. It's not major, but it's helpful. Working the show on my feet points up where I am simultaneously saying what I am doing. And so I stop saying it and just do it. There's a lot of that.

Also, I flatly state something and then give it a metaphor. The houses of west Cleveland are huge. Mountainous. How about mountainous without the huge? They weren't even mountainous until I started comparing the "terrain" to the Arctic. See the show, you'll get it.

Happy holidays, everyone. I hope to run most days I am in Athens this week.

Distance: 5 miles
Temperature: 23 degrees ... with snowflakes!
Weight: It's Christmas!

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - In The Zone (140 BPM)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One month.

I am in so much trouble.

A run would be nice.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Click on to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dream

There was some kind of special event or fund raiser going on at a local theater (not the one I work work, oddly enough.) The ground floor of the theater was very open, with large doors letting in sunlight and warm air ... and cars. People were parking in this lower level, even though it was appointed like a salon with art on the walls and carpet or rugs on the ground.

I was standing with a member of the staff, I think I was participating in the event. The guy I was with was lamenting about how the artistic director's marriage was having difficulties and that this person had taken to sleeping on a table in the theater. I was smoking a cigarette. I mean, really smoking it.

Suddenly I realized what I was doing - I hadn't had a cigarette in almost eight years! I began to despair the way I do when I realize I have fallen off the wagon with tobacco.

...and then I remembered I only smoke in my dreams! And with a big smile I said out loud, "I must be dreaming!" The person I was with just gave me an amused little smile and I took a big, long drag from the butt of the cigarette before crushing it to the floor.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Promo! Promo! Promo!

AND THEN YOU DIE

Now on the CPT website. You can order tickets!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Stress!

Frustrated! Grrr! Run! Yay!

It's a haiku.

Jesus, I had to take my glasses off shortly after I had begun, the metal was causing me great distress. Strange, I have run in colder weather, but I've never had to do that before.

Distance: 3 miles
Temperature: 27 degrees
Weight: 154 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Where We Come From - 151 BPM

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lines

Last rehearsal until after Christmas. We're all stupid busy. I am glad of the amount of text which has penetrated my skull, we worked through a good part of the show with lines, blocking, costumes and even got to improve some acting.

This show takes a lot out of me in the voice department. It is a physical show, much more so than the last solo project - which was a lot of standing and sitting. Ali called rehearsal early because I was choking on my own dry throat.

Memorization! I can!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Woo!

Brisk! Fast! Got a migraine doctor's appointment - gotta run!

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 30 degrees
Weight: 156 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Trailblazer (160 BPM)

UPDATE: It is a great feeling to show up for a doctor's appointment an hour after a short run. My blood pressure was fabulous!

A little disturbing, however, to then be asked if I have had an irregular heartbeat. "Uh, no," I said, "why, do I have one now?" The answer was yes, yes I do. Then I was asked if I had been drinking coffee and yes, I had double the dose of caffeine this morning as I polished off the wife's mugs as well as mine. AND they were full-strength servings, as we ran out of decaf it cut it with last week.

Anything to worry about? No, she said. Not if I have been drinking coffee this morning.

Whew. I think.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big Box flyer


We received the proof for the BIG BOX flyer today. This is our listing.

As Crumpet says, "This is really going to happen."

BTW - you have four days left on this auction.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Knee wrap-up

Final (cross fingers) visit to Dr. V. yesterday. He says it all looks good, no swelling. I should be able to do anything.

As we are trying to be as frugal as possible these days, I asked if there were any way to minimize the damage inflicted by running on pavement instead of a treadmill or indoor track. The only honest advice he could provide was, don't run on pavement.

He also said I have a runner's body and there is no reason I couldn't go the rest of my life without suffering another injury like this one, so that's good. If I can limit it to one every 40 years, that would be super.

Today my left knee hurts.

UPDATE:

Distance: 5 miles
Temperature: 48 degrees
Weight: 155 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Rainy Day Run (145 BPM)

Wow, that's one of my favorites. If you haven't noticed, I have started listening to old PODRUNNER mixes, more or less in order, from the beginning - 2006. They were a great help on long runs, I used them to get down MLK and back several times. I had a few I went back to occasionally, and this was one of them.

Because it's raining! An early December thaw, spring-like weather. Supposed to snow tomorrow - or at least get freezing and make all this lovely water treacherous. And so, because I can't help myself, I went five miles.

Who knows, I may not be able to do that again until March. Or that one, freaky 70 degree day that usually pops up the first week of January.

If you'll notice, I don't usually run in December much. Last year I forced myself to run five times. In 2006 - after the marathon - not at all. As a result I missed the SPECTACULAR lights display, just around the corner, across from Sarah's mom's house. Have to take the kids to see that.

155 lbs. Jesus. Haven't seen that since the boy was born.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oops, missed Pon'far.

Memorizing to shows at once, painting kitchen cabinets and creating a holiday cartoon appear to have cancelled each other out. I am incapable of accomplishing anything.

On that note ... here's your truly disturbing Saturday afternoon wake-up call:



UPDATE: Good God! I just wore the Chuck's I will be using for the show to rehearsal and back Did I really used to wear those thing things all the time? My feet are FREEZING!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tiny swift steps

The thing about the holidays ... no matter what your discipline, there's just so much free stuff around it's hard to keep your hands off it. Cookies, pitzels - cake, freaking cake in the office?

This past week has been hard. I first developed a sore throat last Monday, and this cold has such a firm grip it kept me sniffling all weekend, and now coughing all week. This morning I woke with a raging sore throat.

Distance: 3 miles
Temperature: 43 degrees
Weight: 157.5 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Joggernaut (170 BPM)

UPDATE: OMG!!! NOW there are cookies IN MY HOUSE!!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Standing right on campus

South Green Three Mile

In our fourteen years together, my wife and I have never wandered around South Green. She never lived there - I did for my first two years - but she did have a boyfriend and knew others who did. It was a bizarre journey, from Uptown past the ridiculous new student union and down through East Green.

The first sign of derangement was the frat house, two doors down from the Presidents' home, abandoned with windows busted out. Heading down from the Oasis (now closed) we saw Shively, undergoing some kind of major reconstruction, fenced off and empty.

South is coeverd in graffiti, with signs indicating that students will not return for a while. Lots of windows in O'Bleness, my old dorm, marked "window broke" on slips of paper sticky taped to the frames.

It gave the impression that, ever since I left the place in 1988, that they just shut the doors and locked everything up behind me.

Distance: 3 miles
Temperature: 36 degrees

College Music Playlist
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Dreaming I Am - Bob Mould
The Power - Snap!
Alex Chilton * - The Replacements
The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades * - Timbuk 3
Good Times * - INXS
Waiting For The Great Leap Forward - Billy Bragg
Peace Train - 10,000 Maniacs
World In My Eyes - Depeche Mode

51 days 'til the great leap forward.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Smarta** Blogtitles Are For A**holes

Fun Runs Are For Fat Kids

... and blogs about running that mock fat people should be updated more than once every six months! Because people might think you've gotten fat!

Now that's funny.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Caution: Golf Balls In Flight

South Green Three Mile

Happy Thaksgiving. I started coming down with a cold Monday afternoon, and it's been pretty nasty. Just stuffed up and weak. And yet ... I came to run. Besides, I got lots of turkey to work off.

Distance: 3 miles
Temperature: 43 degrees

College Music Playlist
Never Gonna Give You Up - Rock Astley
Def. Con. One - Pop Will Eat Itself
Weird Science - Oingo Boingo
Dreamworld - Midnight Oil
Doin Da Butt - Gap Band
Here's Where The Story Ends - The Sundays
Never Enough - The Cure

God, that felt good. I have just been a congested, unhappy mess for days. Bright sky, cool breeze and no students.

And here's your Post-Turkey-Day wake up call:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bay Days

This is the "after" photo, standing in a field in Cahoon Park. You can see the former BMS in the background, a great prison-like building I was attending at the time.

I must have found that number irritating, people wear them much lower on their abdomen where they don't disrupt your movement. Looks like cardstock, boy have we changed in twenty-eight years.

Those shoes are simply awesome.

The Stay In Bay Days Five Mile Run used to begin right there at Bay Days, in Cahoon Park. It's always on July 4th, I believe at 8.30. Ten or so years ago I thought I would run it again, for the sheer amusement of it, and learned that they were now starting at the high school, presumably for organization and facilities, etc. A lot of people show up for it.

However, I miss the old route. It would go through the Metroparks, and in and around all the unusual, older neighborhoods of Bay. There were more trees, a few hills, winding terrain, I remember it being enjoyable, even if I kept my head down and had to stop and walk every half mile or so.

Now it's flat, flat, flat and lots of long, straight roads. It's kind of boring.

Distance: 3 miles
Temperature: 30 degrees & sunny!
Weight: 156 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Emotion in Motion (155 BPM)

That was so totally not below freezing, it's the Great Pre-Thanksgiving Thaw of Aught-Eight out there.

155 BPM seems to be Daddy's sweet spot right about now.

Three miles. Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And David Ran...

Last night, David and I started putting the show on its feet. Well...David did, actually. I sat in a chair, waving my metaphorical director's baton, with a splitting sinus headache and frizzy hair while he literally ran laps around my living room.

The piece was already very funny, but we found humor in it last night that we hadn't expected. I am very impressed with the fact that he already has it at least "snapshot" committed to memory. Very nice, when you have a show that has this much physicality. Sketched in about 1/3 of the show from a blocking standpoint...and discovered that costume changes are just about as big a cast member in this show as David is. Well, maybe not AS big. But, ya know?

Oh, and David is ecstatic because he gets to run laps literally AROUND the audience while he shouts his lines at the top of his lungs. Did I mention while running. Laps. Around the audience? Well, that's a runner for you!

Excellent rehearsal. David rocks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Runnin' Circles

Wow! Am I sore! Tonight Ali and I staged a good third of the show. Seriously? A third? Thirteen pages, do the math. And boy, it is a physical show. On thing I was hoping to find a reason to do - I will be running laps around the entire audience.

No, I don't have all the lines down, though going over it so many times was a real kick in the pants. Speaking of which, I need to get them in my brain so we can concentrate on all the costume changes ... which are more complicated than even I imagined.

Off the Soundtrack: Future Sightings by I Am The World Trade Center
On the Soundtrack: Jerk It Out by Caesars

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dumbass

Last night was great! Picked up mushrooms and tofu on my way home, and then took a great run. Halfway through my route I stopped at the kids' school - the wife was picking them up right then, what a surprise for everyone!

They drive home, I follow after on foot, and pick up a little and be with the kids while she makes a really delicious smelling stir-fry. Around 7 pm I get a call from Ali - am I going to show up for our 6.30 table session?

Jesus.

So I bolted out of there and made it to her place by 7.30, amazing. Amazingly thick. Between my being late and her slowly succumbing to a miserable headcold, we got some good work done. Tomorrow night; on my feet.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So what

That's below freezing, yo. May I remind you it's not yet Thanksgiving?

Nice, brisk, evening run. Damn, those old mixes are fun.

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 30 degrees
Weight: 157 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Build (135 BPM)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Writing, not running.

Here's my dilemma ... I just got back to running a few times a week, but now it's snowy and dangerous outside. And cold, of course. I would like to sign up for a gym membership, but we're a little pinched right now and trying to cut out unnecessaries. So a treadmill is out ... and so are all of those weight machines which I seem to have no trouble using when I have a physical trainer to tell me what to do, how much, and for how long.

Keeping up with the regimen is challenging. It's not impossible. But, you know. I worry. Hopefully there will be time later today to hit the less scary parts of the neighborhood, the shoveled parts, I don't know.

It took a few months (in four segments, two weeks apart - and missing the last one) but the PU has finished hearing the &TYD.

That's my wife's appelation, by the way. Cute, right?

And word is good. I was most thrown and then moved when DM said there are places when the piece "devolves" ... (and I cringed as she lost her thought for a moment, considering if that were the right word before continuing) ... "into poetry."

Oh. Well. That's good.

FS likes the piece about the Jock in Geometry. Funny, I may be having lunch later this week with the guy I talk about in that piece. We've seen each other twince since graduation, both times at reunions. We've probably never watched each other eat in our lives.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Inventory

Did I mention I am selling my comic book collection to finance this show? Seriously, how wildly symbolic. The show is about a cartoonist who can't shake his own adolescence, and here I am divesting myself of years of comics.

Not that I own a lot of comics, it was a regular habit for about five years, and they've just sat there in my attic since then. Hell, I had to schlep them around for a while before I could finally dump them in one place for fifteen years.

Are they even valuable? Some are. You'd be surprised what people still pay on eBay for shit, even in this economy. Not everything, mind you, interest in VHS tapes are seriously on the skids (though not entirely) and I did pick up some winners in my time. First Wolverine appearance. First appearance of the black Spider-Man/Venom suit. Things like that.

Alpha Flight? No, thank you. Sorry, Terry.

But seriously, you have got to see the shoes I got for nothing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Why?"

Word count before today's rehearsal: 12,535
Word count after today's rehearsal: 12,490

A net loss of 45 words. Well. We'll see about that.

"Why," was one of today's big questions as we went over the text for the first time in weeks, Ali asked why, Kelly asked why. When someone asks why I would prefer to say, "I don't know," and cut it, but that wasn't always the case.

Distance. Detachment. And poop. Quite a show.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daddy Runs FAST!!!

... especially when it begins pelting rain as you are rounding third to home. Damn. I am a wet man.

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 48 degrees & rainy
Weight: 160 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Groundpounder (180 BPM)

Rehearsal begins tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Promo awfulness

I had a promotional nightmare last night! For real! Even that's a new one.

I picked up a promotional flyer for this season's BIG BOX series and found several errors in my listing.

My show was listed as BIG BON and included no description of what the show was actually about. All the other shows did.

In particular my attention was drawn to the first show of the series, a solo performance about the joys of running by a guy I went to college with. He wasn't even an actor. The title was something like, HOW I LEARNED TO REALLY ENJOY TO RUN, or something hideous like that.

Eeccggh. Bad marketing dream. I need to take a shower.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free and clear

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 52 degrees
Weight: 158.5 lbs.

Listening to: PODRUNNER Classic - Mo Betta Run (150 BPM)

Wart-free and proud. After almost seven years, I believe those f*kers have finally been scraped, burned, dissolved, gouged, purged from the soles of my feet. God, that was awful. Always loved me feet, big feet guy. And I have spent the past seven years ashamed to take off my socks.

This will work, if I can keep up with it - a nice, easy, two mile run, followed by a half-hour of stretches and free weight work. Not every other day, every third day. I think that will do just fine for the time being. On other mornings I will continue the regimen I have been since I began physical therapy.

I guess this will work until the weather gets lousy. This happened in 2005 - missed an entire summer's worth of running due to an injury.

Hooked up the old Podrunner mixes. Lyrics have been wearing me down.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I got to git out

Distance: 2 miles
Temperature: 38˚
Weight: 164

Back on the streets. I wish to sign up at the rec center, but haven't yet. Pavement got me into this mess, but it's free and abundant. The wind was sharp, the light rain bracing. Uncomfortable at first - and I got winded, surprisingly winded. I walked for a little bit, that was all right.

The knee feels all right. No worse than the rest of me. I run again.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good news, good news.

Physical therapy is at an end. Melissa discharged me today with a guide for future at-home and in-gym workouts. I can run two miles, twice a week for two weeks. Then three miles, twice a week. Then three miles, three times a week.

I'll hold there for a while.

And now a word from Rose Tyler ...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes I Can

My God, physical therapy was grueling this morning.

Last Monday I had to bug out shortly after I had started to cover for another of our actor-teachers, and scheduled this mid-week substitution. Melissa had some never exercises planned which really taxed my thighs, I was shaking.

Of course, it did not help that I had four hours of sleep last night. Or all that Southern Comfort.

David's Classic Southern Comfort Recipe
2 shots Southern Comfort
Ice cubes

Melissa says one more session in the clinic, then she gives me an at-home regimen to follow. Maybe I will resume running next week. Maybe a black man will win the presidency.

Here's your post-Election Night wake-up call:

Monday, November 03, 2008

My long NYC post

Speaking of being in the City for the marathon...La! The people! The cameras! The people!

Josh, my brother-in-law Ben and I walked through Central Park on Saturday to get some snaps of the different landmarks that Dave talks about in the script. (FYI: if you've never been to Central Park in the fall....do it.) We walked most of the run that he did in 2005 - inadvertently. We got lost. Most of the maps don't show all the little pathways and NOTHING is labeled. Very nice when you're meandering, but not when you have a mission.

We entered the park at Columbus Circle and happened on the kids' marathon. I have no idea how much they had to run, but they were workin' it. Josh got some pictures of the set up which he thinks will be cool for the show. The pictures of the landmarks are going to turn out well, Dave. And I don't care that the Bethesda Angel is in everything; it's gorgeous. Plus, if we hadn't been going to see it, then we would have missed a really sweet busking act. Two men, no ramps/trampolines/leg-ups, and some kick-a** flips. We came at the end, but was able to see the finale where the one man threw himself over 4 adults bent over. Very, very impressive.

Sunday, the day of the marathon, Josh and I needed to go to the American Natural History museum so I could do research for a different show. As we were leaving, Central Park West was filling up with the masses and masses of people there to watch the end. I think by that time the winners had already crossed, but the thousands of runners behind them had only just started to make it. On the museum steps, as well as the subway ride to lunch, I saw several runners wrapped in the warming wraps. There were a few being cradled by a loved one, some jogging the run off, many limping, and quite a lot of exhaustion. Watching them I almost felt I was intruding on a very private moment, even though it was in the middle of the city.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Groundwork

Josh surprised me with a call yesterday afternoon - from Central Park! I forgot/wasn't aware that he and Kelly would be in NYC this weekend.

"Did you know the marathon is this weekend?" he asks. Yes, yes I did. I had it on my calendar.

The great news is that he took this opportunity to take his own pictures of certain landmarks which will be incorporated into the slides for ATYD. Awesome!

Here's your Sunday morning wake-up call:

The B'hoys

As I do my daily stretching routine here in the privacy of my office, my thoughts are with those forty thousand people camped out in Fort Wadsworth right now, waiting for the cannon blast that will set them free, racing around the five boroughs.

If you are not familiar with the podcast The Bowery Boys, it is a weekly lesson in New York City history, and this week's episode is about the NYC Marathon. Check out their page for photos, and find their podcast on iTunes and listen, it's really interesting.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hips (still) don't lie

Monday I worked the treadmill for the second time. I felt winded. And I was painfully (that's not the right word) aware of my knees. The pressure on my knees. The impact on my knees. Not just my left knee, my right knee. Running is a terrible thing to do to your body.

And that old, familiar ache in my right hip. On my second, short jog. Hey, old man, step aside!

My wife told me something I had not heard before (because I do not know what I am doing) about the importance of weight training as part of a good regimen. Strong muscles help cushion the blows in running. When you do not have strong calves, thighs, quads, then the only thing to cushion the jarring effect of running is the cartilage and bone. And I have felt the results.

PT has given me much stronger legs, and I hope to continue keeping them in shape as long as I choose to run. When I run. When I run.

Lately I have been hovering around 160. And the holidays are coming up. Can I say no? Can I decline that which is offered?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Daddy runs.

On the treadmill, eight minutes, five miles an hour.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boring but beautiful.

It's migraine weather. And my prescription is out of date. I am trying to hold off serious pain by taking otc meds, they worked last year. The Imitrex has gotten so expensive, I calculate how many hours a day I need to work in order to justify taking one.

No stretches this morning, I needed to sleep. I took two Benadryl last night, which hit me over the head good and tight. I hope to make up for that later today. At PT yesterday Melissa had me on the jumping machine. Weird!

Sunday the entire creative staff got together for a reading at Ali's. That's when I clocked an hour fifteen. I wish a playwriting fairy would light on my shoulder and tell me exactly which part I should dump to bring this beast down to size.

At PU last night, two very helpful observations were made ... if this play is about what runs through a guy's head while he's running the race (not my original intent, but that's how SG described it, and so he says, so it is) then the history of Marathon is not that.

And MO said it is "beautiful but boring," which he obviously meant as a critique of EC's reading abilities, but that's okay, EC is still a nice guy.

It's a warning. The names are difficult to follow, the story is well-known (except to those in the room for whom it wasn't) and it doesn't sound like me. A challenge.

The second regards THE ICON, and that I should just say what it is. So what if the Angel at Bethesda has been mentioned or pictured in everything from Godspell to Angels In America? Don't make it diffuse.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I give up.

The show's going to be 1 hour 15 minutes. There's no way of getting around that.

Friday marked four weeks since I began physical therapy. I may be on the treadmill - walking - tomorrow morning. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OMG!

Not a good morning. The boy was up many times last night with nightmares ... he often tells us he is having nightmares when he is wide awake, I wonder if this is a ploy or if he is truly having bad thoughts. Knew we shouldn't have watched that Thomas the Tank Engine Halloween special, that was kinda spooky.

Anyway, he was up - a lot - in the middle of the night (really, I'm not kidding about that Thomas DVD) and then there's the fact that I just crash after day after day or rising at 5.30 to do strenuous (for me) exercises for an hour and a half.

Today I slept in (which is to say, past 5.30) thinking I could catch maybe a half-hour of stretches before heading off to work, and make up the rest later.

Squats are to be performed until the thigh and calf are at a ninety degree angle. This requires weight placed directly over the heels, not the middle of the foot. Two weeks ago we added a free weight that I hold straight out from my chest as I squat. After one round of squats, steps and pointwork, I began the next round of squats ...

And dropped my ass almost to the floor. No pain. I could squat that far. I couldn't squat that far before the incident.

I felt a little overwhelmed .. and then the crying started. I howled for about half a minute. I have been keeping so much anxiety and sorrow about this injury inside for so long I just popped. It was amazing. Wow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Push the Button

The other day I wore a pair of slacks I haven't worn since 2004. Gained a pound yesterday, but the out-laws are in town. Eat and drink we must.

The past several days my knee has begun to hurt in the way it used to ... they say this is normal, Dr. V. even asked if I still had the heavy-duty pain medication. For real? I am being encouraged to pop a Vicodin when the pain gets troublesome? How about morphine?

I am sticking to naproxen and the occasional (rare) ice-pack. I should probably do the icepack more often. Like right now.

Here's your morning wake-up call:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Anatomy of a Blow-off

Took the kids to see Into the Woods last night - the first half. They know it by heart, the first half. Don't know when we will let them experience the second half yet, maybe when they are eightteen.

So it was a late night getting the children to bed. And we needed to watch Project Runway (doesn't everyone?) Recently I have been eschewing alcohol after dinner. Gone are the days of the nightcap - so 2007. I have been enjoying tea with my TV. But I knew someone was going down and that it wouldn't be Kenley, and dammit I was right. I almost cried.

Tugboat. Blow me.

Anyway, I said screw it, let's have a Manhattan and let the kids - and the parents sleep in. It was jus that kind of night. I set the clock for 6 but then changed it to 7, can you believe that?

I had a strong, vivid dream, about smoking a cigarette. I have not had a cigarette since June 2001. I haven't touched one, maybe as a prop, never touched one to my lips. Usually when I have smoking dreams I stop in the middle and think, "Oh my God! What am I doing???" Last night, in my mind, I did it on purpose. With intent. I needed a smoke. And I smoked it hard, to the squeaky-clean filter.

I did not rest easy that last 30 minutes. I skipped my morning house-PT. And I can feel it. I am hoping there is a small amount of time during the late afternoon to catch up, but I don't know when. One day off. I will more than make up for it at the clinic tomorrow. And hopefully never play around like this again, not for a long time.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Let the poop scenes breathe."

Playwrights' Unit again tonight. Praise for the rhythm, and observations about where the rhythm isn't working right. The words are running.

The chronology can be confusing ... I have been working to pare down details, to focus on action and emotion and not exposition. One scene in particular has too many players on the pitch (the verse "the wife's lover's children and my lover's wife" suddenly springs to mind) and I think I can take care of that, too, easily.

And the poop scenes are too close together.

Cutting, cutting, cutting ... bring it in under 60 minutes. Now, it's a race.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Torn and shorn


My left, medial meniscus - the inside, between my legs. Healthy.



My pre-operative, lateral (outside) meniscus. As Dr. V. called it, a "hangnail."



The torn part of the meniscus, now cut away. Fascinating!

I will run again!

I needed some good news. And I got it.

Last week my hard drive crashed, and I am looking at a major investment to recover a year or more worth of data. Thankfully the most important writing was backed up, printed, squirreled away somewhere. This play is safe. My iTunes library ..?

And, you know, recreating email address databases, getting the rehabbed mac up to speed ... Time! Money! Time!

Had PT today, followed by a check-up with the good doctor. He says I may be running again in eight weeks! Check that - I may run again!

That makes it a good day.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

At my last PT, handweights were included. At the same time, my meragia has intensified to the point that performing squats creates a sharp pain in my right thigh ... sometime. I am free to guess when it may strike. But it's not something you can come out of swiftly, so, you know. That sucks.

I have dropped below 165. This is a good thing, hate to be vain (can't help being vain, ackshodry) but I will be changing my clothes a lot onstage. I don't need to look buff. I just don't want to look bad.

CPT held an orientation meeting for Big Box yesterday morning. We signed contracts, went over details of the program. ATYD will be coupled with another one-act solo perf., Claus for a Moment by Jeffery Glover.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Had my first read-through with Ali yesterday, came in around 1:10. That isn't bad - considering I have so much I know I need to cut.

The physical therapy is becoming a concern, I think. Maybe. I can't tell. I mean, I didn't think I would be 100% immediately - or that I would be 100% ever. It is amazing how far I can bend my knee at all. It keeps improving. And yet ...

On Monday, Melissa asked me to do a move I just couldn't do - which was disheartening. I couldn't put my foot onto the bench behind me (3 feet off the ground) it was too much of a stretch for my knee.

Will I ever kneel again? Even a little bit? I haven't been able to put that kind of pressure on my knee since before I was injured. Will I run, let alone ever do any long distance running? No idea. Can I even do this show? Remains to be seen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spinning and spinning

At PT on Friday I was riding a stationary bike. Yesterday I had a migraine and still pushed through my home routine at 6 am, with a lot of sweat and heavy breathing.

Last night was opening at the new Hanna. Today I slept in, god dammit.

I have had the opportunity to go over the first ten pages and incorporate changes suggested through last Monday's read. Everything needs to be more brief, showing not telling, etc. Act it out. it's a play. There are several passages about literature in the play (and one about a certain animated cartoon movie) and I am struggling to tell them in interesting and non-copyright infringement-oriented ways.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

hit me baby one more time

Went in yesterday for PT, and we started using machines. I was in there for an hour last Friday, almost two yesterday. Melissa added to my reps and now my home workout has gone from 60 to 90 minutes, I need to get up at 5.30 just to get it all in.

But you know, they're a good 90 minutes. I listen to Capital Radio and enjoy an hour and a half of pop music and active solitude. It's almost like running.

Well, no, but it has elements in common with running. Which is not the same thing.

Meanwhile, something about this ordeal has resulted in a full-on re-emergence of my meralgia. I think it was the way I need to lie while my left knee was still actively in pain. But that awful, screaming feeling in my right thigh returns whenever I lie down, unless I crush it by resting on my right side, which is difficult to do all night. So I was up several times last night.

Hope I can stay awake for PR tonight. Veronica is such a bitch.

Monday, September 22, 2008

P.U.

First night with the CPH Playwright's Unit. We will meet biweekly through the spring, bringing ten pages to the table more or less every other Monday, with a few special readings stuck in there for good measure. That's good work!

Due to a recent shift, there have been three new additions to the eight member unit (nine, if you include Seth, which you most definitely should) and we were pressed to be the first to offer. I skittishly offered to go first of the first.

The first ten pages of ATYD, the beginning, which is the part I am most concerned about. I had offered up the middle ten (roughly) at the Dark Room a couple months ago, because I felt more confident about those. This is set-up. It's hard to start.

E.C. read the lines (E.S. the stage directions) and he did all right, he's not me, you know. M.O. said it was a bit heavy, he wanted more cheek, and I got that. Only I think I will be bringing the cheek, if you know what I mean.

I love hearing the bits I didn't even get when I was writing them. I didn't even intend them, but I'll take them. D.M. thought I used the term refugee camp twice when describing Fort Wadsworth. Not true, but I somehow had made her think that, so I think I was getting the image across. Things like that.

The Forster bit is too long, I knew that. I don't think character will help.

S.G. says it works so far, the idea that these thoughts are going through the mind of a marathon runner as he runs. That's good. Ali, how do we make sure it looks like that?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Solitude

Phys Therp has kicked my ass. Fact is, I walk without a limp and was able to play my part in the big ceremony last night without anyone being able to tell I'd even had knee surgery 11 days earlier.

However, bending my knee is still limited. I can hardly comprehend ever being "normal" - it feels like there is a piece of foam rubber tucked under my knee cap. But I have been a good boy and done the hour's worth of exercises the past two days. I see the pro again on Tuesday.

I have two hours to myself (which I am squandering on blogs) in which to work on the script. Unfortunately, I went to the Phoenix on Coventry first, which is peaceful - and packed on Sunday afternoons. I am now at the Phoenix on Lee which is chatty with loud music and has servers WHO NEVER SHUT UP.

Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest. But seriously. They never shut up.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Incorporation

This morning the boy got up early, shortly after I did, and I put him to work. We needed to sweep up my office after I took up the ancient rug to create a clean flat space to do my daily therapy workout.

Not only was he extremely eager and helpful in the sweeping department, we had a nice conversation and he stuck with me while I did almost half of my workout before asking to please do something else. His life is composed of those activities I need to do that I can get him to do with me before I give up and put him front of the set because I am not done yet.

Mr. S. is going to be a little stiff-legged at the big gala tonight, but cut him a break he's 444 years-old.

Meanwhile, I need to revisit the script to this solo performance I am supposedly presenting in January. The first gathering of the new playwrights' unit is on Monday and I hope to provide ten pages that aren't warmed over.

I'm sorry, where am I?

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nights which say "Knee"

Really, the cold ones with a lot of humidity.

I broke my knee two years ago in October (on the way to see Sarah Morton in David's Hamlet) when I got hit by a drunk driver. Since then my knee makes awful sounds going up stairs and hurts when it is cold and/or humid. Hopefully David's does better.

I read all of Breaking Point, Turtleneck, and College in one sitting. Nice to actually do that, even if I stayed up too late. I was surprised by how BP ended, since I skipped around in David's cartoons before.

I had my animation transferred to dvd, but for some reason the sound doesn't work on my own tv, so I don't know if it will work on anyone else's. It works fine on the tv of the person who transferred it. I am not technologically smart or invested enough to try and figure this out or fix it.
So, David, if you have an old vcr -- remember those? -- we could still watch it, if you wanted to. Let me know.

We can rebuild him

First date of physical therapy. Not the most difficult thing I have ever done. But I am so queasy about undoing the work my surgeon did, any little pull makes me a little sick.

These aren't the pains, which come from the bruised areas, but the part just below the patella where it feels like something is duct-taped together in there, and I am stretching it apart.

It took an hour, and I was surprisingly weak by the end (why the surprise?) but I feel really good now, and much more confident that I am mending properly. Something about professional supervision does that to me. I guess I would make an excellent camp guard, my college roommate always said so.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thoughts before sleep

"Vicodin makes me a better director because it curbs my ADD tendencies I don't fidget, scratch or ... pick. But I am focused and attentive and I have ideas and I say things and I don't care what anyone thinks about them."

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's all good

A visit to the doctor today was greatly reassuring - Dr. V. is a very reassuring man. Apparently everything is healing nicely, the swelling is not unusual, he wrapped my knee again and the pressure itself makes the pain much weaker. I mentioned to horrific amount of blood that had drained away and he said that was good. "The problem," he said, "is when it stays in."

Next step; sports therapy! I will be taking hour-long, early morning sessions beginning this Friday.

I have a dream. I have a dream. I have a dream ...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's good to see my knee.



Over the past several days the bandages had become increasingly intolerable ... as the swelling in my leg decreased, I noticed that there was some kind of hard, cast-like material surrounding my knee and down one side of my calf. And sleeping - as I laid off the Vicodin - was troubled and difficult.

Last night, in anticipation of having a proper wash today, I removed the bandages. It was not a cast-like substance, but a large amount of blood which had soaked the cotton underbandage and hardened into, well, a kind of a cast.

(Cue creeped-out shudder.)

I am still using crutches for long excursions. I see the doctor tomorrow for a check-up, and I am dearly hoping the news is good, or boring, or something like that. No surprises, please.

I think the weirdest thing about the photo above is not the incisions, or the swelling ... but the shaving.

Friday, September 12, 2008

She draws stuff

Had an extended meeting with Cat this evening. This is the plan ... I dislike plays about theater people, not all of them, just in general. Like movies about Hollywood or spreadsheets about accountants, just a bit too cute and insidery.

Okay that's not it. Regardless, I did not want I HATE THIS to be about my job, but about my situation. I make a passing reference to my being a writer. Otherwise, a vocation is never mentioned.

However, ATYD spans twenty-six (point two) years and it became increasingly difficult to avoid discussing what I do. Life intersects with health, with relationships and with work. So instead of being a theater artist, the main character, who is me, is not a theater artist. Pengo is an illustrator.

Now, I am an illustrator, or at least a competent cartoonist. But I want to include artwork in the production which represent the work of someone who could actually succeed as an artist - professionally. So I asked Cat.

She's already done the illustrations for the book of IHT, and I have been a fan of her work since high school. I am rilly, rilly glad she agreed to be part of this. We went over old work of mine, and hers, and went over those places in the play which will be helped by cartoons or illustrations.

Oh my, the Vicodin just kicked in. Wow, that was fast. I have been hobbling around on crutches since Tuesday, probably doing more than I should. I get to take the wrap off on SUnday and have my follow-up Monday morning. I am in the irritable and edgy phase. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't expect wit from me, I just draw stuff.

Yeah. Or I will be drawing stuff, anyway.

I'm digging on the idea. This Friday David's going to meet up with me and explain what sort of stuff I'm going to draw. Then I can maybe post something with more depth.
Don't expect too much, though. Most likely it will be stuff like: "Crap in a hat! I can't get this furshlugginer hand to look right!" or perhaps "It's three am and my Pentel ColorBrush just ran out of ink. Curses!" or even "I LOVE drawing sneakers! There's just something about them that is fun to draw."

So, yeah. Words of brilliance should be looked for elsewhere.

Thanks for the invite to post, though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Post-Op

The operation went without a hitch. They were precisely correct about what the problem was - I had a minor meniscus tear, like "a hang nail." They clipped it and sewed me back up. After a 9:30 operation I was back on the street with a pair of crutches by noon.

I am not happy about not being able to shower until Sunday, I have to keep my leg wrapped until then. And though I have been trying not to tax myself, I misjudged today and had a long hobble from the bus stop to my home. At least, as Ali points out, I am getting an upper body workout.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pre-Op


"Left knee arthroscopy and partial lateral menisectomy and meniscus repair."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Be gentle

Hello?....Is this thing on? Oh man, I hope I'm not supposed to be clever or witty or anything. Um, so Dave has invited me to post a blog in conjunction with his show called "And So You Die". Yes, and I'll be, well stage managing it. Which is nice, because I stage managed "I Hate This" and it was a wonderful, wonderful job to do. I'm happy Dave has asked me to walk (or run?) with him on this one as well, since after all the directing is done, I'm still there with him.

I never thought of it that way before this moment. That felt nice.

Graphics

Met with Josh today. He will be designing ... well, he'll be designing a lot. I imagined using slides again, and there will be an awful lot of slides. And he's taking care of the music and sound effects.

For the piece on my Cross-Cleveland run, he plans on strapping his camera to his bike and following my route. If I am in shape for it, I hope I can join him.

Exercise

Met with Ali yesterday to discuss muscle training. She recommended a great series of low-impact exercises that will tone my body while I am "waiting" to resume some kind of active training - like bicycle riding or spinning or whatever they call it.

I am doing a lot of work with the base of a mic stand. Interesting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bejing

Watchin' it. My kids know a lot more about what we're seeing than I did when I was five.

Final

Only yesterday did I cancel my registration for the NY08. And that was not easy. I mean, there is no possible way to actually run it, I wasn't in denial about that, but actually pushing the button, well, it didn't feel good.

Next year I can reapply before May 1 and I will be entered automatically into NY09.

Thursday night was the first time in a couple months that I had the time and peace of mind to take another look at the script, and I made several changes. Minor changes. I need major changes. But certain elements came into focus during the original writing process which changed what came before - motivations for running, the status of certain relationships as presented in the show.

ATYD is my second solo performance, the first was I HATE THIS about my experiences with stillbirth. That one was much more accurate, with this one I am taking liberties with my life. It's autobiographical, but I lie a lot. I am meeting with director Ali G. on Sunday.

Not that Ali G., a different Ali G.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Race for Time

I have arthroscopic knee surgery scheduled for Tuesday, September 9 at 9.30 am. Technically, Dr. V. will be shoving a camera into my knee to find out what the real trouble is - because he can't tell. It is too minor to be major, but to major to be left alone. Even now, I still feel great discomfort when just accidentally kneeling or something.

If it is simple enough, he may make the repair right then and there. And I will be on crutches for six weeks, but otherwise, lead a normal life. I may even run again.

My one-man show about my life in running, AND THEN YOU DIE, opens at CPT on Friday, January 23, 2009. So now it's a race.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mind Your Own Business

I want everyone - especially strangers - to stop asking me why I have a knee brace. Every time I am asked I feel compelled to explain, because to be curt is to be rude, and yet most don't really want to know all of the mysterious details of what it is I do and do not know about what is wrong with my knee.

And it's none of their f*cking business.

"Is that a toupe?"

"Where did you get that gash on your arm?"

"Why are you wearing that knee brace?"


If I were a woman I'd answer; "My boyfriend pushed me down the stairs." That would shut them up pretty fast.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Off Track

I had my follow-up on the MRI today. I may have a frayed meniscus, as opposed to a torn meniscus, an injury sustained due to normal wear and tear, and not some traumatic injury. This makes sense. It could also be a tendon which runs through the meniscus which is inflamed. They cannot tell from the MRI. So it is not a major injury ... but it also means we do not know what to do.

I continue to take high doses of naproxen, twice daily. I passed on a cortisone shot, because the idea of it terrified me, and the doctor seemed to suggest it was six of one whether I did that or continue taking the OTC stuff. Regardless, he wants me to wait a month and see if the swelling goes down. I can swim or bike, but running is definitely a bad idea.

If things do not improve, they will look into my knee with a camera.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

36 Playlists for 36 Years

Four miles. And I'm done.

2008 Playlist
American Boy (Soulseekerz Club Remix) - Estelle
Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
Three-Way - The Magnetic Fields
Blind - Hercules and Love Affair
Pumpkin Soup - Kate Nash
Mercy - Duffy
Lights & Music - Cut Copy
Uninvited (Club Mix) - Freemasons
7 Ghosts I - Nine Inch Nails
Let's Dance To Joy Division - The Wombats

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Frightfully hectic

My mom once used the phrase "Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am," in casual conversation without knowing what it really meant.

I mean, she knew it meant to do something with alacrity, she just didn't know what that something was.

By the way, this video is totally awesome.

1973 Playlist -or - Running On Mars
Life On Mars? - David Bowie
Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers
Blockbuster - Sweet
Do It Again - Steely Dan
Street Life - Roxy Music
Rock and Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter
Suffragette City - David Bowie
Meet Me On The Corner - Lindisfarne
Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang
Popcorn - Hot Butter
Burning Love - Elvis Presley

That's it. That's as far back as I'm going. Gimme some of that sweet, sweet techno.

Run stats:
Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 20
Temperature: 86º
Weather: hot. windy.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself

What the old-timers used to call "going for a jog."

1974 Run Jog
Back In N.Y.C. - Genesis
Loose Booty - Sly & The Family Stone
Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
Doctor Who Theme - BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Lady Marmalade - LaBelle
Waterloo - ABBA
Oye Como Va - Santana
Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
Cooldown: Chameleon - Maynard Ferguson
Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rock Derringer
Autobahn - Kraftwerk

Run stats:
Distance: 3 miles
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 30
Sit-ups: 80
Temperature: 70º
Weather: warm. highly pleasant.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Week 18 ... or Bust

The Doctor can see no tear. There is definite inlammation (yes, thank you, I knew that) but if there is any subcutaneous damage, they cannot find it with the MRI.

So my options begin mildly and get progressively invasive.

1. Maximize my intake of anti-inflammatory agents. 2 Aleves, twice a day. This may be all it takes to bring down the swelling and the body will absorb the fluid. Check back in ten days.

2. If there is no improvement in ten days, they may inject cortizone to achieve the same result.

3. If that also does not alleviate the problem, they may put a camera in there to find out what is wrong.

NY08 training begins tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Visit to the Doktor: Part Two

Had my MRI. They are so classy out in Richmond Hts. - they even had a list of albums you could choose to listen to. Well, not albums, just artists (let's not get too confusing) so when I chose Miles Davis I could have laid even money the album would be Kind of Blue. Which it was.

I dozed on and off, listing to Mile and what at turns sounded like either a music-free techno beat or a cat-grinder. I've had an MRI before, a few years ago. That time it was on my head, checking for a reasonable source for migraines (there is no reasonable source for migraines) and I have to say, I like an MRI better with my feet in it than my head.

They gave me a disc and said they would send the info over to Dr. V. and meanwhile I called Dr. V. and the folks there said the technology was different and so they couldn't just transmit it - I HAVE A DISC AND I WILL BRING IT OVER - I interrupted and they said great, see you soon.

So I drove the disc over, and five minutes later (I have been reading Billy Bragg's The Progressive Patriot by the way, it's very good) the Doctor said that while I definitely have swelling, he cannot tell if I have any tearing.

So I have to call on Monday.

Sigh. Anyway. I do feel fortunate I got the same amount of business done in one day that I may have accomplished in one month. So I got that going for me. I did hope to do housework, get some editing done, possibly have dinner ready by now, those were my other plans for today. But oh well.

I did stop at Coldstone Creamery after my last stop because that's what ice cream is really for. To cheer you up.

A Visit to the Doktor: Part One

I injured my knee three weeks ago. The day finally arrived to see the orthopedist. It is a day I have been waiting for ... and dreading.

They are super efficient and helpful at Chagrin Highlands-UH. Really, they are all fabulous. I was whisked in to get my knees x-rayed before my paperwork was through, and I barely had time to finish it before the doctor was ready to see me.

Dr. V. was very helpful and sympathetic. The good news is that the x-rays show that I have "the knees of a 20 year-old." The spacing is identical in both knees, no signs of arthritis or other joint complications like that.

The bad news, of course, is that I probably have the knees of a 20 year-old with a meniscus tear. He recommended and MRI, which I agreed to have. I mentioned I was - supposed to be - beginning training for NY08. He grimaced, but only a little, suggesting it's possible. When I mentioned I can always defer to next year, he thought that was a sound idea.

We shall see.

So my 2.5 minutes with the doctor through, I was sent out to schedule an MRI. Earliest opening: July 3rd. Two days following I can follow up with Dr. V ... oh, but he'll be out that week. And the next. Could I see him July 25th?

A month to follow up on my MRI. I was, as you could imagine, a little depressed about that. Three weeks of vacation? Doesn't suck. So I was making plans, but I asked if there wasn't anywhere, any time I could MRI sooner, or be seen by another doctor.

We were negotiating this possibility - when one of the folks there found an opening TODAY at 1 PM t a different facility, am I available? YES, I AM.

AND Dr. V. wants me to call this afternoon to confer on what it says, he told me this himself. And I found out he's not going on vacation, he's having shoulder surgery. Oh. So, uh, sorry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dazed & Contused

Still fluid under the tissue. Which makes my knee stiff on occasion. No other pain. Running is not a problem. I take Aleve, I do my carefull stretches. I apply ice. I do not run very fast. I see the doctor on Friday.

This is my four mile route, one with which I will become very familiar beginning next week. Training begins a week from today.

1975 Playlist
Low Rider - War
Rock and Roll All Nite - Kiss
The Hustle - Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony
S.O.S. - ABBA
Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players
Mamma Mia - ABBA
Sufferin' 'til Sufferage - Essra Mohawk
Slow Ride - Foghat
Rip It Up/Ready Teddy - John Lennon
Young Americans - David Bowie
Tush - ZZ Top
Cooldown: Time Warp - Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Little Nell & Cast

Run stats:
Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 30
Sit-ups: 80
Temperature: 68º
Weather: warm. nice.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The calliope crashed to the ground

Did I ever mention Heart totally rocks?

So. Yes. Shame. Boat loads of shame. I have disobeyed doctors orders and gone for a run. Not running has been driving me absolutely batsh*t. It's like when I broke my heel three years ago. Just wanted to kill myself.

I have done what reading I can on the subject, and I got nothing. It's not inflamed, infected, there's fluid under the tissue which makes bending my knee more difficult than it should be. The wife did some searcging as well, and said it would be all right if I took it easy and went for a short one.

It was less than three miles. To me that's short. And I went slow - or I tried to. Had to stop at most stoplights. Walked down hills.

So. Will my knee swell up more than it already has? Will there be pain? I guess that was the test. What I can say is this - just the aerobic breathing has me feeling more cheered than I have been in days.

1976 Playlist
Car Wash - Rolls Royce
Lonely Boy - Andrew Gold
Blinded By The Light - Manfred Mann
Crazy On You - Heart
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Turn The Beat Around - Vicki Sue Robinson
Cooldown: Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
(I'm) Stranded - The Saints
Step Right Up - Tom Waits

Run stats:
Distance: 2.75 miles
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Stretches: oh, yes
Push-ups: 10
Sit-ups: 80
Temperature: 72º
Weather: warm with light rain

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Interlude: She brought me on my knees. Please, baby, please.

Almost two weeks ago I got what is not an unusual complain in my left knee. I have had this trouble since I was twenty. It comes it goes. This time it did not go.

I ran again a few days later, which was not painful. But a day went by and me knee appeared visibly swollen, if not in any additional pain. It did not hurt to touch the bit which bulged out when I bent my knee. I decided I should see my doctor, which I did on Friday.

She was confused by the lack of pain in the joint itself, the only irritation is in the back of my knee, not the front, and not very much. Just what you might call "stiff." She recommended me to an orthopedic specialist - and forbid me from running until I saw him.

It took me until today to get the appointment ... which is ten days from now, on the 27th. I am supposed to begin training for NY08 at the beginning of July. Does anyone know what this guy is going to do? Drain fluid from my knee? How effing painful is that going to be? Will I be able to run soon after? Is this a recurring condition? Am I finished?

Water on the Knee Info

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Interlude: It takes a very steady hand ...

Water on the Knee:
Colloquialism for fluid accumulation around the knee joint.
150 points

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Running down the avenue (pant pant pant)

Mr. Smartypants has had a swollen left knee since the run last Thursday, when I first received my acceptance to NY08.

I am going to call the New York City Marathon "NY08" from this out, to be precious and expeditious.

"Run run run, run run, run away."

1977 Playlist
Dust In The Wind - Kansas
12XU - Wire
Got To Give It Up - Marvin Gaye
Night Fever - Bee Gees
Oh Bondage (Up Yours) - X-Ray Specs
Your Generation - Generation X
Mr. Blue Sky * - Electric Light Orchestra
Welcome to the Working Week - Elvis Costello
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment - The Ramones
No More Heroes - The Stranglers
Cooldown: Orgasm Addict - The Buzzcocks

This was the soundtrack to my 9th birthday. Ye gods, what a pscizophrenic mix.
    (Last Year's 1977 Playlist)
    Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac
    Nothing Achieving - The Police
    Cretin Hop - The Ramones
    We're A Happy Family - The Ramones
    Turn To Stone - Electric Light Orchestra
    (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) - Stranglers
    Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees
    Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel
    God Save The Queen - Sex Pistols
    Warsaw - Joy Division
    Heroes - David Bowie
Run stats:
Distance: 3.6 miles
Weight: 168 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 30
Temperature: 71º
Weather: sunny and warm

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Splattered all over Manhattan

I'M GOING BACK TO NEW YORK!

... maybe.

Okay, here's the deal ... after completing the 2006 NYC Marathon, I swore I would never do that ever again. That was Sunday. On Monday I was trying to imagine how I could improve my time, how to train with less stress on my life personal and professional life, and how soon to return. This while padding delicately around the Central Park Zoo.

Toni agreed 2011 would be a good year - five years between New York runs, if I were madly compelled I could run one somewhere else in the meanwhile. I have done two Halfers since, training for those was not difficult, time would still be an issue for a full 26.2 but I thought it won't be as grueling as the first.

I knew two things; you can only get turned down three times in the NYC lottery (as my time is nowhere near qualifying) then you get in automatically on the fourth. I also knew if you do get accepted, you can cancel any time before the last week of October and keep a place in the marathon the following year.

So I applied this year. If I didn't get in, no problem, and if I did, I could roll it over until 2011.

I didn't catch the fine print ... I can cancel today and apply for the race next year by paying the non-refundable entry fee all over again.

Yeah. Well. Oops. Duh.

My wife was not as pissed as I thought she'd be, seeing as how we are trying as hard as anyone not to throw cash in the street. I had no intention of suggesting I pay the fee over and over for three more years. To my relief, she has at least entertained to idea that I actually do it this year. This is something I had not intended ... but really, why not?

I ran 4:15 last time. I will, again all rational belief, shoot for four hours. Four hours at 40 - yes, I am turning forty this summer. I will train well. I will cross the city of Cleveland again - this time with food. And as God is my witness, I will run the 2008 New York City Marathon without headphones.

Maybe. If I go.

1978 Playlist
Heart of Glass (The Disco Song) - Blondie
D.I.Y. - Peter Gabriel
Shattered - The Rolling Stones
Thank You For Being A Friend - Andrew Gold
All Along The Watchtower - XTC
Digital - Joy Division
Masoko Tanga - The Police
Safe European Home - The Clash
Cooldown: It's Looking Good - The Rutles
11:59 - Blondie
Goodbye Girl - SqueezeRun stats:
Distance: 3.6 miles
Weight: 168 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 20
Temperature: 69º
Weather: cool (??!!)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Meet me at the turnstile

Craptastic! I have eaten so much garbage since the end of the year party ... everything was going so well but now it's peanut butter filled pretzels every five minutes (thanks, Mike) and cans of leftover soda pop.

Tonight was not a great night for running, it's so freaking hot. But I have been in bed at midnight every night and no time during the day, I am sick of waiting four to seven days between runs.

But OH the sweat.

1979 Playlist
Born To Be Alive - Patrick Hernandez
She's Lost Control (The Peel Sessions) - Joy Division
Look Back In Anger - David Bowie
Voulez Vous - ABBA
Crazy Little Thing Called Love * - Queen
Dreaming * - Blondie
Cool For Cats - Squeeze
Pop Muzik - M
It's Alright For You * - The Police
London Calling - The Clash
    (Last Year's 1979 Playlist)
    Killing an Arab - The Cure
    I'm a Cult Hero - Cult Hero
    When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty - XTC
    Cleveland Rocks - I an Hunter
    Got the Time - Joe Jackson
    No Time This Time - The Police
    Touch and Go - The Cars
    Life During Wartime - Talking Heads
    24 Hour Party People - Happy Mondays
I actually had some good news today ... but it's not exactly good news. It's dumb news. I'll save it for when I feel less dumb.

Run stats:
Distance: 3.9 miles
Weight: 169 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Temperature: 88º
Weather: hot

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Love's Not For Me

Pengo's Priorities
    1. Family
    2. Work
    3. Household business
    4. Running
    5. Writing
    6. Sketching
Writing should come before running, but I actually run more often than I write. My artistic pursuits fall behind my work and family, and I have to run because I have to run. If I do not run, I will die.

This makes weekends very difficult. I want to, need to spend as much time with the kids as possible, to make up for my time at work during the week - like everyone else. I try and squeeze in housework and maintenance between and through time with children - like everyone else. And running is time I can easily justify for myself. If I do not run, I will die.

So how can I take time to write or (gasp) draw? Well. I do not know about any other weekend, but this has been a good one. In spite of, or because of, a lot of outside activities - end-of-season soccer games, trips to alpaca farms - I have either been the recipient of watching-the-boy-sleep time or stay-home-and-work-on-the-big-presentation time.

The first gave me time to sketch yesterday, alone, for well over an hour, and then write for another hour. And today, after a week off the road, I stayed home from the alpaca farm (yes) to finish the presentation, and then reward myself with a run in great, bright, sweaty late-spring weather.

Good times, good times.

1980 Playlist
I'm Alright - Kenny Loggins
Can You Feel It? - The Jacksons
Coming Up - Paul McCartney
Only A Lad - Oingo Boingo
Turning Japanese - The Vapors
Funkytown - Lipps Inc.
Kit Mambo - Graham Gouldman
She's Lost Control - Joy Division
He Can't Love You Like I Love You - Michael Stanley Band
Let My Love Open The Door - Pete Townshend
Canary In A Coalmine - The Police
Crosseyed and Painless - Talking Heads
Warmdown Lap:With You I Can Run Forever - Graham Gouldman
    (Last Year's 1980 Playlist)
    Antmusic - Adam and the Ants
    Ah! Leah! - Donnie Iris
    Call Me - Blondie
    Enola Gay - Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark
    Driven to Tears - The Police
    Transmission - Joy Division
    Pretty Boys - Joe Jackson
    Take This Town - XTC
    Play For Today - The Cure
Run stats:
Distance: 5.7 miles
Weight: 167 lbs.
Temperature: 62º
Weather: sunny & Warm

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The muscles flex and the fingers curl


This morning's hangover never truly abated - the pain went away but not the pressure. Cleveland humidity has returned and the entire run I felt like my head was a basketball.

It's been hard these past two runs, I don't know if it was the 13.1 or just how fricking busy I have been. That, and the cat wakes us up every morning properly at 5.30. And then going back to sleep - for me - is out of the question. Can't do it.

Today's playlist was a host of adolescent memories ... and I did even listen to half of that stuff when it actually was 1981.

1981 Playlist
Lovers' Walk - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Hard Act To Follow - SPlit Enz
My Own Way (Night Version) - Duran Duran
Freeze Frame - J. Geils Band
Games People Play - Alan Parsons Project
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic * - The Police
Guilty * - Classix Nouveaux
We Got The Beat - The Go-Go's
Strict Time - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Cooldown: Clubland - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
    (Last Year's 1981 Playlist)
    Tainted Love - Soft Cell
    Hungry For You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi) - The Police
    Primary - The Cure
    Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
    Radio Free Europe (Original Hib-Tone Single) - R.E.M.
    Talk To Ya Later - The Tubes
    Sausalito Summernight - Diesel
    Working for the Weekend - Loverboy
Yeah. We got it.

Run stats:
Distance: 3.6 miles
Weight: 170 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Push-ups: 20
Temperature: 67º
Weather: muggy

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cover me when I run

Recovery run. Wow, my pins are stiff.

Less-than flattering snap from last Sunday.

Jesus. I look like Henrik.

Run stats:
Distance: 3.6 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: sort of
Temperature: 55º
Weather: sunny & warm

Uh, sorry, Henrik, I didn't mean it like that.

1982 Playlist
Shock the Monkey - Peter Gabriel
Talk Talk - Talk Talk
Pressure - Billy Joel
Someday, Someway * - Marshall Crenshaw
Delirious - Prince
Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime) - The Flirts
A Million Miles Away * - The Plimsouls
New Year's Day (Live) - U2
Cooldown: One Hundred Years - The Cure
    (Last Year's 1982 Playlist)
    I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
    Mexican Radio - Wall of Voodoo
    It's Nearly Africa - XTC
    New Frontier - Donald Fagen
    Situation - Yazoo
    Angst In My Pants - Sparks
    Rock the Casbah - The Clash
    Hold Back the Rain - Duran Duran
    Mirror In the Bathroom - The Beat
    The Metro - Berlin
    Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl) - Haircut 100

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Love or hate it. It don't matter.

Official time: 01:47.41

I peeled 57 seconds off my personal best. Suck on that! AY-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI!

Parked in my regular lot, off 17th and Chester - I have a parking pass! Hiked to the Galleria. It was raining.

Two things I forgot - nipple band-aids and a bottle of water. The and-aids turned out to be a non-issue - but the water ... see, when I did NYC two years ago, I knew I would be standing around for four hours. I brought an oversized bottle of water, and carried it around like a dope while everyone was washing down as much free water and sports drink as they could, there were tables loaded with it.

In Akron, ditto, lots of free stuff at the start, water, drinks, bagels, bananas, lots and lots. Cleveland? Nothing. Absolutely nothing at the start of the race. Just rain, and lots of it. I was seriously second-guessing my dress decision, I really wished I had worn long sleeves.

The start was five minutes late, and to add insult to injury they were playing Cleveland Rocks over the loudspeaker as we crossed to start line ... as performed by the Presidents of the United States of America. I am trying to imagine the reaction if they were playing New York, New York at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge ... you know, the version recorded by Steve & Eydie.

I was a little bummed the route goes west first, because that's the least exciting part of the route. But then, that means the Full Marathoners get a big finish, which they deserve. But it's not really the "Cleveland Marathon" it's more like the "Shoreway" Marathon or the "Route 2" Marathon.

As we were headed down Lake Avenue, I had my only conversation of the morning.

"Is that the turnaround up there?" asked a professional-looking fellow.

"Yeah," someone else replied.

"Are we in Lakewood?" he asked, confused.

"No," I said, "the whole race is in Cleveland, we turn around at W. 117th which is the border with Lakewood."

"Wow," he said. "This is a very nice looking neighborhood." And then added, "I'm surprised."

I should have known that was coming, and yet I was surprised. I let out a bemused laugh. "Thanks," I said, "I guess."

"Where are you from?" asked the woman on his left.

"I'm from New York," he said, "We moved here a year ago."

"I think that's why they send us down this way," I said, "to show off the ridiculously large, lakefront houses."

Which I realized was one of the things that was dreary and dull about this race. You go down the Shoreway, with little to look at, a brief stint through white, affluent residential property, back into the town center, and then (for the Full Marathoners) miles and miles of Chester Avenue and again, little or nothing to see and no one around. As I drove past the Full Marathon runners on my way home, I was very glad I wasn't one of them. I live here and it would have put my teeth on edge.

The professional-looking guy (who nows lives in North Royalton, no surprise there) went on. "There's so much great stuff here, but no one knows it. The Metroparks are fantastic, and no one uses it. The Botanical garden is outstanding, but it's no one goes there."

"That's our new ad campaign," I said. "Cleveland - It's Not Crowded."

"And it's cheap," he said.

I went on. "Cleveland - Cheap ... and It's Not Crowded."

And then I noticed the woman on his left. "Hey!" I said, "Martha!" And Martha said hey and I added, "And you see, you always run into someone you know!"

Heading back into town, I hadn't realized we would be heading down Detroit, which was the best part of the morning. The rain had stopped, and as we passed CPT I ran out of line, placed a kiss on Calvin's brick, and kept going. That was right at nine miles. With four more to go it was dawning on me that I had an awful lot of energy left, and began speeding up, just a little.

By the time I was entering downtown I had thoughts of finishing the race ahead of my last time, which I did not expect to do because of my sparse training and the awful weather. My shoes were entirely soggy. But I was not chilly, nothing was aching, I had taken all of my GU, hit most of the water stops, I was not dehydrated, hungry, weak or anything. I was, as they say, going strong.

It felt great to finish - I was concerned I had poured on too much, too soon, but the results were satisfying. And I feel great no and it's just a few hours later.

I wish the Cleveland Marathon had a more interesting route, into the neighborhoods - you know, the other neighborhoods. Where people who don't look like all the runners live. It would be an eye-opening experience, and possibly encourage citizens of the city to be part of the celebration - which is to say, to create a celebration, a real celebration.