Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don't ever fade away.

Good Lord, I am a tub of goo. My scalp aches, my blood is weary, I am stuffed with salt and fat and sugar and msg and caffeine and alcohol and I do not want to go running, no I don't.

Distance: 3.3 miles
Temperature: 63º
Weight: 174 lbs.
Weather: more humider.

Tremendous feeling. Felt better the minute I began moving. Must always stretch after a run. Must drink more water. Must stop putting everything in my mouth.

That's Good Genius Mix
Radio Free Europe (154 bpm) - R.E.M.
Head Over Heels (157 bpm) - The Go-Go's
Man In A Suitcase (Live) (159 bpm) - The Police
Sugar On My Tongue - Talking Heads
The Fanatic - Felony
Digital (169 bpm) - Joy Division
Contact - The Police
Let's Go - The Cars
Blind - Talking Heads

Apparently R.E.M. broke up. I also learned recently that Elvis is dead. Okay, enough with the jokes. They did make a good album.

But seriously, like most dudes my age I appreciated that they made the mid-80s considerably sugar-free.

Pop Song '89
Karl Dee & Hogg

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do you remember?

Brent's parents called us The Troublemakers. He was the jokester, his twin the one I remember I could be serious with. I remember their room, Wacky Packages on every surface. Star Wars sheets. Rock And Roll Over. The Westlake Municipal Dump was our playground, where we played Vietnam, and found Playboy magazines. We made cigarettes from their older brother's rolling papers and dried Sassafras leaves from the tree in our yard, and smoked them in the attic over my garage. We ripped off K-Mart, over and over and again, stuffing our jackets with Micronauts and heading out unmolested into the parking lot through the Nursery.

I watched The Interception in their living room.

Hot Rod Lincoln. Cheech and Chong. Pee-Wee Herman. Big Chuck and Little John. Disco Duck. Space Invaders. Pop Muzik. Uncle Vic. Battle of the Planets and Star Blazers. They had cable first, and we watched every movie my parents would be horrified to know I was seeing. I made the most hideous mixed drink ever from their mom's liquor cabinet - like maybe, Vermouth & TAB.

We climbed through the sewers. We investigated all the new houses that were being built near our elementary school. We listened to that bit in Love Rollercoaster a hundred times and debated whether that was really the sound of a girl getting raped. We walked the pipe. We read the graffiti. We bought "near" beer. We stole candy from everywhere. We kept mice. We talked about the girls.

They had a way with girls that I did not. Once he helped me out after a disappointing (for me) game of Spin the Bottle by politely suggesting to his girlfriend that she give me my first tongue kiss, you know, as a favor. And she did. I still think that was entirely awesome.

We met in second grade, the Bicentennial. By 1980 it was as though we had known each other all our lives. Middle School was the most terrible place on earth for me, but I feel my association with them kept it from being the living hell it was for my older brother. By eighth grade, however, the differences were just too great. Their new friends hated me, the "trouble" we were getting into was losing its appeal to me, or it was just getting too deep. I was afraid, and they all knew it. Our friendship never officially ended in any kind of "break up." We just started "seeing other people."

In early 1996 we reconnected briefly ... I cannot even remember who got in touch with whom, or why, but I went over to their house with The Scroll, a fat roll of paper towel we snuck out of the bowling alley and started using as a journal, sharing it at each of our houses. But I was the one who wanted to be a writer, so it ended up with me. The twins told me they didn't really have any artifacts from their childhood, and they wanted to look at it again. This was when we were in our late-20s. I told them I would be happy if they kept it, and they were pleased at that.

His brother Burt told me later how surprised he was at the ending, when I was writing about all of the disappointment and confusion I was feeling, with our friendship ending. I no doubt sounded like a self-righteous little shit, but he understood that, and that it was coming from a thirteen year-old, and that it made him feel better to know that it was important to me. That they were important to me.

Last night my parents told me they saw Brent's obituary in the paper. I don't know yet what I am going to do about that. And I have been mood-swinging about it for twenty-four hours now. When I met him I was only slightly younger than my daughter is now. She seems so much older than I think of myself being, meeting him. God, we did a lot of illegal shit. Dangerous shit. And we had so much fun, before video games, before VHS and DVD, before MTV or much more than four TV stations. Suburbia was our playground, and we survived that.

I didn't play with my brothers when I was a kid. Henrik was always a school ahead of me, Denny (who turned 50 today) was practically an adult. Brent, his brother, our friends, defined my childhood. They were my childhood. We were boys. We were troublemakers. And that was awesome.

Distance: 3.3 miles
Temperature: 68º
Weight: 173.5 lbs.
Weather: nice. humid. at least it's dark.

September Genius Mix
September - Earth Wind & Fire
Let's Go Crazy - Prince & The Revolution
On & On (Live) - Erykah Badu
Got To Give It Up (Part 1) - Marvin Gaye
This Is How We Do It - Montell Jordan
Let's Hear It For The Boy - Deniece Williams

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do The Hypocrite!

Very moody lately, unsettled. Waiting for big things to begin … disappointed at big things whcih have not. Feel it as a rise in my chest. About to get angry. Or cry. So I do neither.

This morning we rise at 6:30, later than planned. She suggests a run. Ridiculous. There isn’t enough time. She suggests a short one. I do not like short ones. Because Why?

Because it isn’t enough? Is none enough? Doesn’t make sense. She is right. And so I run. And the rising in my chest … lowers. A little. Enough. For now.

Distance: 2 miles
Weight: 173.5 lbs.
Weather: Wet pavement, cold air, good morning.

That’s Good! Genius Mix
Space Age Love Song - A Flock of Seagulls
Dance This Mess Around (153 bpm) - The B-52’s
The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) - They Might Be Giants
Slippery People (Live) - Talking Heads
Don’t Change (164 bpm) - INXS

Saturday, September 17, 2011


September is the longest month. I have not run in two weeks, in which time we have started a new school year for the children, commenced rehearsals for the residency program, rehearsed and performed an original scene for a massive theater benefit, thrown a birthday celebration for the wife, attended curriculum night at the elementary school and today -- a wedding!

Today I watched a man with a goatee get loaded onto an ambulance. He was perhaps ten years older than I. He was sitting up. We hope for the best. I also ran past a funeral procession. Two weeks is too long between runs. Too many excuses. Must sleep more. Must move more. Must write more. Must read more.

More more more. How do you like it?

Distance: 3.3 miles
Weight: 173 lbs.
Weather: Cool and perfect.

That’s Good Genius Mix
That’s Good (152 bpm) - Devo
Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go’s
Girl Frim Ipanema Goes to Greenland - The B-52’s
Dazzle - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Alex Chilton (164 bpm) - The Replacements
Senses Working Overtime - XTC
Angst In My Pants (156 bpm) - Sparks
Fredom of Choice - Devo

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Running with Libertarians

For Labor Day weekend we journeyed to Athens; the kids started school this past week, on Tuesday the good work begins again for the residency program at Great Lakes. For now, grilling and relaxing and drinking a little too much. I did not need that second Margarita last night (having already enjoyed two beers prior to that happy occasion) and going to sleep in fairly muggy discomfort on an air mattress with the commencement of a headache, I knew I would be waking with a hangover.

And yet. I had four glasses of water and four Ibuprofen and lay on my back with a cold cloth on my forehead to bring down the swelling, and woke in the middle of the night feeling pretty all right.

We had invited some friends down from Cleveland to join us; they had come for Thanksgiving last year and may have been more excited about spending time at my in-laws places than we were. Our kids were friends in pre-school and we’ve stayed in good contact over the years now that the children have grown. Chris asked if I still run, if I was planning to run, and if he could join me. So, uh, yeah, all right, I guess.

Running is a ritual that involves getting down with my disco self and my badass playlists, but running with a partner, occasionally, can be a good thing. The pacing is better, it is generally more interesting, having conversation slows you down in a good way, and there’s always a good excise to walk.

His running kit was amazing. Cotton T-shirt, cut-off jeans with boxers (ouch) and a pair of ten year-old sneakers with no socks.

I got to know Chris latest of their unit of four, he travels a lot and basically doesn’t like to come downtown. Last fall they joined us for some Oscar Wilde at Great Lakes, and he struck me as not so much bored as distressed at the concept of seeing a play. Then there’s the politics thing. I don’t generally relate well to libertarians. They ask too many questions -- “But don’t you think ..?” “If that’s the case, then ..?” And they have a general distrust of government that switches me off as much as anyone who has a general mistrust of religion. You can’t just write off any species of communal organizational unit that most of humanity is inevitably drawn to.

What I have come to admire about Chris is his open-mindedness, his begrudging optimism, and his sense of humor. This morning’s run turned out to be really enjoyable. And lunch was hilarious, and he wasn’t even drinking.

Distance: 4.25 miles
Temperature: 68º