Saturday, March 30, 2013

Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles.

My little wife must think it queer,
To rise at dawn without a reason clear.

I asked for the alarm to be set at six. Lately my family has been kind enough to let me sleep in Saturdays until I wake on my own, which is very nice, and every time I have had a sinus headache. As of this composition (around 6:24 am) I do not, and will not. The sleeping in gives me a headache. Instead I am scanning the Internet as I may if I had gotten up two or three hours later. Soon I will refresh my coffee, wash dishes, maybe listen to Terry Gross on a podcast.

Yesterday she (my wife, not Terry Gross) asked me to clean out the sink before we left for my folks' for the day. I scrambled to find my iPod and headphones, which confused her -- the sink wasn't full, it just needed to be cleared. But I can't wash dishes, can't do anything without sensory input. Staying still and performing the same function repeatedly makes my brain work and then I become irritated.

-- LATER --

Temperature: 46° → 50°
Climate: sunny, clear, paradise
Distance: 5.6 miles

Got the Earth Day 5K in Forest Hills Park coming up on April 24. Fourth annual, and I believe I have managed to run the previous three.

Beautiful, glorious, perfect, awesome, short-sleeve running weather. Almost got hit by no less than three drivers who don't actually stop at stop signs, looking left, trying to get onto Mayfield as soon as they can. I say "almost" because I was watching them, and always stopped, myself.

So remember, motorists. Share the sidewalk.

1969 Playlist
All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
Purple Haze (Live at Woodstock) - Jimi Hendrix
Hey Bulldog - The Beatles
Time Is Tight - Booker T. and the MGs
Everybody's Talkin' - Harry Nilsson
The Ballad of John and Yoko - The Beatles
Feelin' Alright (181 bpm) - Joe Cocker
It's Your Thing (178 bpm) - The Jackosn 5
Sour Milk Sea - Jackie Lomax
The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine (181 bpm)  - Simon and Garfunkel
It's Your Thing (185 bpm) - The Isley Brothers
One After 909 (Rooftop Concert) (178 bpm) - The Beatles
A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara's Into Submission) (183 bpm) - Simon & Garfunkel
Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) - Donovan
Goodbye (181 bpm) - Mary Hopkin

Die cast "Yellow Submarine" toy. Yeah. We had one of those.

Friday, March 29, 2013

We have so much to feel good about.

 Good Omens.

Several mornings (too many mornings) I have had sinus pain. Change of season, too little and interrupted sleep. Painful pressure in my face. Large glass of water, four ibuprofen, and one pseudoephedrine. It walks me into my days.

Last night, upon retiring, I remarked how bad my sleep was the night before and the wife pops out of bed stating, "I'm getting you a sleeping pill." By this she meant an allergy medication,
diphenhydramine. Better living through OTC illness medication.

I must say, I slept better last night than I have in at least a week. This is my idea of a "good" Friday. 

1. Morning rehearsal for medical improv.
2. Take a run.
3. Spend the afternoon and early evening with my family at my parents' house.

Temperature: 41°
Climate: Sunglasses! Thank you.
Distance: 3.25 miles

How are you feelin' today, Harvey? Better, thank you. Better. I would like to imagine that I could feel this calm and settled during the middle of the week ... though the truth is I often feel anxious and out of sorts on the weekend, so I don't suppose it makes much difference what day it is today.

As the man pointed out yesterday, it should be beautiful spring (I almost wrote "spring-like" ... it IS spring, dammit) weather through the entire weekend. So running would be ideal, if not for my hamstring, which I feel, depending on the day, from my heel through my ankle, my heel through my calf, or like today, from my heel through my thigh.

This pain abates considerably after about five hundred yards, and maybe I will be able to ignore it all day. Tomorrow, however, I will get out of bed limping again. However, I feel (physically) much better than I did early this month when I was running little or not at all, and my diet has improved considerably, without really thinking about it.

It helps that I keep little or no cash on hand when I am at work, which prevents my suddenly dashing to the lobby for a candy bar or a soda pop. And then there are the menus my wife and children plan, which are by and large really, incredible awesome. Ginger-lentil soup? Yes, please, and thank you.

It also helps that right now in my car stereo is disc three of Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals.

2009 Playlist
Good Life - OneRepublic
Do What U Like - Bad Boy Bill
When Love Takes Over - David Guetta Feat. Kelly Rowland
Waking Up In Vegas [Calvin Harris Remix] - Katy Perry
TiK ToK - Ke$ha
This Must Be The Place - Miles Fisher
Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal ft. Calvin Harris & Chrome

Last chance to see.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Punch out, wash up, come back, and wrap it up.

Thank you for this, Brian.

I hate driving alone. I need to get a Red Book back into my car. Three times in the past six months I have gotten myself horribly lost -- once in the City, and twice on the long, haunted expanses of rural Ohio -- with no opportunities to stop and ask for directions, something I am entirely capable of doing in spite of my gender.

Lost and late ... I think if I am not late I never consider myself lost. If I do not have a deadline, then I am simply where I am, and need to be elsewhere. When I am late, I am in the wrong place. And when I am alone, there is no one to help me, no one for whom to put on a bright face or to make light with. Alone is alone. And I fear being alone.

Oh yeah, that's a good idea isn't it? Yeah - let's all bring Neil down. That'll relieve the boredom. 

This afternoon Josh made me laugh out loud at my desk. That act by itself was the best thing that happened to me today.

Temperature: 41°
Climate: ideal.
Distance: 4 miles

Pure disco blasting in my ears, I wait for the light at Mayfield and Taylor, a stout, mustachioed Russian-American immigrant next to me in burly coat and knit cap. He smiles and asks me something and I have to remove my headphones.

Mustachioed Russian-American Immigrant: You having fun?
Goateed Sixth-Generation English-American: I am!

I said it. It has to be true.

Running every day is wearying, and I have not had a decent night's sleep since last weekend, if then. We have a four-day weekend, but it's not uneventful. There are rehearsals for side-projects, opening night performances, trips to see grandparents and great-grandparents. May be enough for fill my head and wear me out.

But let's see if I can run every single day. It is fun.

1979 Playlist
Down In The Park (150 bpm) - Gary Numan & Tubeway Army
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Catholic Girls - Frank Zappa
24 Hour Party People - The Happy Mondays
Tusk - Fleetwood Mac
Cleveland Rocks - Ian Hunter
Goodbye Stranger - Supertramp
Hot Stuff - Donna Summer
It's Alright For You (171 bpm)  - The Police

I remembered Josh's joke twice while running, and almost had to stop from laughing out loud both times. It's a good joke.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

There's egg on your face and mud on your shoes.

Ha ha, no. This is not actually what is upsetting me today.

Amazing. I almost vomited while driving tonight. coming home from work. Worked myself into a mental tizzy, and felt sick to my stomach and I think if I had continued to think, it would have all come up. I almost grabbed the plastic bag on the seat next to me.

I can deal with stress, I can cope with emergencies. Sadness just is, grief comes and goes. The inbetween, the mounting dread, the fear of what's next. What will happen? That is where my anxiety truly lies.

My wife instructed me to take a run as soon as I got home this evening. She recommended it. She knows what is good for me.

Temperature: 43°
Climate: Very, very nice.
Distance: 3.25 miles

Between yesterday's run and today's, it snowed a lot. And now it's in the 40s. Neat. Shorts!

Shorts make a difference, and as long as it is not precipitating (snow or rain - it stings) then running in 40 degree weather is entirely pleasant. Long-sleeves of some kind, please (the fleece is too hot, no thank you, not again) but definitely shorts. Less resistance, more speed, good times. I surprised myself how fast I was running tonight. Keep that up, I may not want to stop.

And now ... about reading. Anxiety, nervousness, a desperate need to check my email or facebook every five minutes, has made concentrating on a book extremely difficult. Since fall I have started some half-dozen books, mostly non-fiction, and finished none of them.

Last night I was half-enjoying (buzz, buzz) a biography of Winsor McCay, when I became overwhelmed with thoughts and images from Larry Tye's history of Superman. After fifteen minutes I realized I was a grown-up and can do whatever the hell I like and switched to the Superman book. Twenty minutes later I was back with Winsor McCay ... and putting that down for bed fifteen minutes after that I realized I had successfully read longer and without interruption than I had since the holidays.

1989 Playlist
Across This Antheap - XTC
Down In It - Nine Inch Nails
Electric Chair - Prince
Sowing The Seeds of Love (170 bpm) - Tears For Fears
King For A Day - XTC
Veronica - Elvis Costello
No Myth - Michael Penn

Into the darkness, and out again. What a great year for records.

Huh. I really did it. I skipped over a Michelle Shocked track because she has become a narrow-minded bigot and I don't think I can stand to listen to her anymore. That makes me sad.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Run, run, run ... but you just can't hide.

Okay, now. NOW. I want to run every day. The malaise has gone, I simply have an urge to move. I want reason to run all the way from here to the lake, and yes -- back again. Perhaps the weather will collaborate. And even if it does not, I will go out into it because I have Spring Fever and I am tired of waiting. My body is tired of waiting.

That, and I am shaking with uncertainty. Got a rejection letter today. I hate that.

1995 Playlist
Statue of Liberty - Joe Jackson
I Saw The Light - The The
The Brooklynites - Soul Coughing
Possum Kingdom - The Toadies
Ball of Confusion - Duran Duran
Annie (172 bpm) - Elastica
The Heart's Filthy Lesson (Alt. Mix) (179 bpm) - David Bowie
Spider-Man - The Ramones
Good - Better Than Ezra

Man. Nineteen Ninety-Five, Year of the Cover. 

Temperature: 39°
Climate: crisp and delicious
Distance: 3.25 miles

In shorts. What? That's right.

So. Justice Scalia requires some kind of evidence that being raised by gay parents is not somehow "harmful" to children. Justice Alito apparently believes same-sex couples started raising children in the year 2000, when marriage equality was decalred in the Netherlands, but fuck him. In addition, one could ask what kind of harm two straight parents caused by raising Justice Scalia, Alito, or, I don't know, HITLER?

But I digress. Evidence of harm. My question is whether same-sex parents will be judged all the same, or whether we need to begin judging the harmfulness inflicted by neglectful straight parents, alcoholic straight parents, abusive straight parents, straight parents who are also pedophiles, and how these harmful personality traits can be related directly to their heterosexuality. I trust those studies will also be forthcoming soon.

Do we know whether same-sex parents are harmful to their children? I don't know, you fat, old bigot, have you ever spent time with any?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Traffic jam of the brain.

Emotional trauma can re-emerge in many ways. Reliving memories of terrible events can trigger deeply felt and forgotten horrors which can confuse you, make you doubt your own ability to perceive reality, leave you entirely adrift.

What if you told a story so many times, to yourself and to others, that every second has become etched into your mind, indelible, that this version of what happened becomes the record? And then, what if you hear this story again, told from someone else's point of view, it all happens in the same way, but all the specifics are different?

And then you remember it never actually happened to you at all. What she is reporting is the truth, because it happened to her and not to you. You just made yourself believe that it was you. Because that is your job. Because you are an actor.

I am not talking about me. I am talking about you.

Following Biff's big self-revelation in Act II of Death of a Salesman (I WAS A SHIPPING CLERK!) often I ask students whether it is possible to tell a lie so often, that the lie becomes truth and you believe that it actually happen. You fool yourself. Most of the time they don't know what it is I am talking about.

Temperature: 32°
Climate: crisp & dry
Distance: 3.25 miles

That awkward moment, thirty seconds after you have whipped off your running gloves, that you realize you are no longer wearing your wedding ring.

1985 Playlist
? (Modern Industry) - Fishbone
Let's Go All The Way - Sly Fox
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side - The Smiths
She's On It - Beastie Boys
Faron - Prefab Sprout
Sleeping Bag - ZZ Top
Subculture - New Order
Sussudio - Phil Collins

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Will you ever win.

Physical Status: The girl suffered some kind of strain in her ankle, in virtually the same place as I have. She did this playing soccer earlier in the year. She'd been suffering through it, but eventually we took her to the doctor who advised sitting out soccer and gym, recess, anything physical. And now she has been given a course of light physical therapy, stretching and balance exercises. I am taking them with her.

A friend is trying the Medina Half Marathon on May 25. That might be something to do. I just don't know. There are also a few complete marathons I am considering for the fall. The London Marathon is in late April. Hmn. The London Marathon. Running for 26.2 miles through London, in Spring. That sounds ... enjoyable. Something to muse about.

Temperature: 30°
Climate: nice.
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 170 lbs. ((sigh.))

Mental Status: Inbetween times drive me a little crazy. That is putting it mildly. Closing the tour, completing the workshop production, waiting on submission applications and other possibilities, thinking of things that may or may not be far into the future, these times can make me downright despondent. Not hopeful, hopeless.

Today is a day when we may take care of housecleaning. Or not. The wife, too, has hopes and dreams and fears which have aggregated at this moment in time. How that makes this time different from any other, I am not sure. It is all the same. Nothing is the same.

1975 Playlist
Love To Love You Baby - Donna Summer
Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac
I'm Not In Love - 10cc
Opening: I Hope I Get It (165 bpm) - A Chorus Line
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players
Operator - The Manhattan Transfer

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Standing, stretching every nerve.

The world spins.

Physical Status: Last summer, my knees began to hurt. Can't pinpoint when, it may have been the bed in North Carolina. Regardless, it lasted a long time. I went from training from the beginning of the year, to a marathon, then a steep drop-off during the summer and for the rest of the year, really.

Meanwhile, my right ankle continues to feel strained, especially when (due to?) using the clown shoes. Maybe I am using them wrong. Maybe they are not a panacea. Maybe they are fucking dangerous. And yet, they are more enjoyable to run in.

When I am not running (like recently) and not even doing any kind of exercise at all (like recently) my back aches in the early morning hours. I would just as soon get up, but like the children, I am also not getting enough sleep.

It has been quite a couple of weeks. From the tour to the Big Box show ... I have enjoyed spending more time with the kids these past several nights. But still, there is a lot of business, life business, emotional business, business business.

I think I'd like to run a half or full marathon in the fall. Train during the summer for a fall race. Having a race is a powerful motivator. Not having a race ... I mean, shit. It's snowing, all right? Screw that.

Temperature: 30°
Climate: these occasional snowflakes
Distance: 3.25 miles

Mental Status: Not bad. Downright positive, with occasional tremors. Lately, the girl has blurted out, "I'm a happy girl!" apropos of nothing. Sometimes in the middle of violin rehearsal. I would like to think this is because playing makes her happy. But it's suddenness in the midst of an otherwise dour stretch of frowning puts me in mind of my own manic-depression.

March 19, 2001 was a bad day, but so was March 19, 2002. Living a year with the fact that my first child was stillborn was one of big ups and mostly downs, which culminated on that Tuesday when I was sitting, despondent, with my partner who was having her own challenges at that time, wondering whether or not any of the grad schools she had applied to would accept her (they did, that story has a happy ending) and particular irritation with me because it was Balcony Day at Solon High School and I kept blowing my lines.

I knew my wife was at work, unhappy. I was unhappy. We had made plans for the next day, a Wednesday (hey, today is a Wednesday -- the calendar on the wall over there is a recycled 2002 calendar) but no idea what to expect. Would it make any difference, two people, going to the zoo, visiting a communal grave, making dinner together, like always, only very, very different?

Many March 19s passed with a certain feeling of dread, which was countermanded by the glory of March 20, the first day of Spring. A commemoration, but also a celebration. March 19, 2003 was the day our nation went to war for nothing. The next day were three, there was a baby girl with us, not yet two months old. Already, no longer alone.

Today Calvin is twelve. He moves into adolescence. That is not nearly as unsettling as the fact that girl is ten. We have all taken the day off, and who knows where it will take us. The zoo, Riverside Cemetery, home for spaghetti and artichokes.

2005 Playlist
Solsbury Hill - Erasure
Random - Lady Sovereign
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
The Hand That Feeds - Nine Inch Nails
Golddigger - Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx
Me Plus Onei - Annie
Kyberneticka Babicka Pt. 2 - Stereolab
Technologic - Daft Punk

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Swallow till I burst.

This is dumb, I am stressed, trying to fit a run in in under 30 minutes, not enough time, unsupervised children with knives, there is snow in my face and a painful wind ... must make decisions, can't make decisions, decisions made for me which I must consider or decline, asking for input, don't need to ask for input, perfectly capable of saying no. Can't coordinate children, and get out the door, not even for twenty minutes. Parent-teacher conference, dinner, tea, homework, email, anger, confusion, resignation.

No, I do not want to run under these conditions. This makes me unhappy. This is dumb. I headed out, and quickly turned around.

Temperature: 30°
Distance: .25 miles

2000 Playlist
Idioteque - Radiohead

Hate the 2000 playlist, anyway. Fuck.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

All right, stop.

So old.

Now it's spring. The boy cannot adequately express the joy he feels when I take him on a run with me. He has reminded me numerous times of that great afternoon we ran two miles together, which was really the only time we had run together, until today. We began with a lap around the block before I left solo for a longer run.

The outreach tour has closed. My two-act workshop production of These Are The Times at Cleveland Public Theatre has concluded. Two of three (known) play scripts of mine to be produced this year are done. Changes are in the air, literally and figuratively. And I have your ordinary, Sunday afternoon sinus headache.

Temperature: 63°
Warm-up lap: .85 miles
Distance: 5.6 miles (Cain Park Loop)
Climate: bright, breezy, almost ideal
Weight: 169 lbs.

Spring 1991 my girlfriend took me to her sister's Senior Talent Show. A band played a high-voltage cover of Hard To Handle and the crowd went ape-shit. I remember at that time I looked around at the Athens High student body and thought, wow. I am old.

I was almost twenty-three.

1990 Playlist
World In My Eyes - Depeche Mode
Policy of Truth - Depeche Mode
So Hard - Pet Shop Boys
The Power - Snap!
Where Are You Baby - Betty Boo
Hard To Handle - The Black Crowes
Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice
Serious - Duran Duran
Sadeness - Enigma
Freedom 90 (183 bpm) - George Michael
Round and Round - Tevin Campbell

Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy

That's a sweet playlist, I kid you not.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

What is happening in his head?

Last night Jane asked me if I was running. I am thankful that I have the kind of friends who ask. This past week I had three evening performances, leaving me wrecked the next morning, and two afternoon performances, allowing no time to run. And that's it. I would also like to point out that I am not currently overeating, have not been struck by illness, have sustained not injuries either major nor minor, and my voice has not been harmed by either lack of rest or overexertion. I am, by and large, well.

It is good to notice that, when it is true. Lucky, lucky man.

Forecast is that it will remain below freezing until the day the tour ends, on Thursday. Ah, well. No early spring for the outreach tour this year. We heat things up well enough just doing the show.

Temperature: 27°
Climate: wet pavement, snowflakes
Distance: 3.25 miles

The in-between times are killing me. I cannot deal with myself on days like today. Yes, run, okay, when? Now or later? Then what do I do, before, or after? And what about the kids, what are they doing, should I be with them or leave them alone? I should read. Pick things up. Fold laundry. Sit and think. No idea.

So, anyway. Running.

1970 Playlist
Come And Get It - Badfinger
At The Hop (Live) - Sha-Na-Na
Spill The Wine - War ft. Eric Burdon
Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
My Sweet Lord - Billy Preston
T.C.B. or T.Y.A. - Bobby Patterson
Go To The Mirror - The Who
Come Together (163 bpm) - The Beatles
Where Do You Go (My Lovely) (175 bpm) - Peter Marstedt

Huh. Most of these songs were actually released in 1969. But not all of them. Wonder how that happened. Anyway, who cares? That's a good mix.