Monday, December 29, 2014

It's bad enough just getting old.

Geese crossing.
Stress. Tension. Anxiety. Poor sleep patterns, uneasy relationship with alcohol and children. Outside creeping in. This is a vacation, spending time in Athens, in peace and quiet, with dogs and fireplaces and big comfortable chairs and lots of time spent in movie theaters. And yet, I also have to spend this time with my mind, and he is always a difficult house guest.

Temperature: 34°
Distance: 2.85 miles

Brisk run. No people. Lots of geese.

Right Action Playlist
Dangerous - Big Data
Youth Without Youth - Metric
The Mother We Share * - CHVRCHES
Diane Young * - Vampire Weekend
Still Life * - The Horrors
Money Maker - The Black Keys
Take It Or Leave It - The Strokes

Sunday, December 28, 2014

We could run away to paradise.

The extended family have returned to their corners, and we remain, indulging in the hearth and patience of Chris & Con. Three movies already, in as many days. Hikes in the woods, Guinness on tap at the Skull, and evening's playing foosball, pool, and Machi Koro.

And we have three more days. The girl does her nails, the boy takes a long bath, the wife rests, and I will stretch my pampered bones.

Temperature: 38°
Distance: 4.25 miles

What are the plans for 2015? With the lowest run count since I was taking antidepressants, what place does running continue to take in my daily routine? I have a colleague whose interest rises as mine wanes, he wants to run a Half Marathon in the next year, I have been thinking of feeding off of his excitement for the endeavor to spur my own.

Also, I bought a most excellent blazer at Athens Underground. So that's cool.

Europa & The Pirate Twins Playlist
I Love You Goodbye - Thomas Dolby
Are We Ourselves?- The Fixx
Legal Tender - The B-52's
To Live and Die In L.A. - Wang Chung
Desperate But Not Serious - Adam Ant
The Mayor of Simpleton - XTC
That's Good - Devo
Cool Places * - Sparks ft. Jane Wiedlin
Talk Talk - Talk Talk
Destination Unknown - Missing Persons

Cool, damp, misty day by the Hocking River. I felt good, spirited. Untroubled and well-rested. There were only a few others on the path, sets of runners, a walker, and lots and lots of geese.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

We're here tonight and that's enough.

Christmas at the Wolf Homestead. The house is full of family from the neighborhood, Chicago, Columbus, Nantucket, and of course, Cleveland. The Christmas Eve meal was vast and absurd, turkey and ham, thrice-baked potatoes, and a number of pies which I believe were to be saved for tonight, but oh well, you know?

I took it easy on the drinking, one cocktail, thank you, not two. And limited wine at dinner. Here, as at my parents' house, the humidity or heat makes my head unhappy. My beloved spouse brought me water several times in the middle of the night, which was very much appreciated.It did not help that there were children who were finding it difficult to sleep, what with Santa arriving and all, and our tight full bed was crammed with three.

The morning was a delightful celebration of thoughtful gift-giving. I am always surprised by the creativity and grandiosity. My father-in-law gave us a handmade "hat-track"designed specifically for our new garage -- and that is exactly where it will go.

A couple hours spent leisurely in the Skull, I don't think I paid for a single drink. Speaking of which, the out-laws have made special "Saloon"-free Smiling Skull hoodies for the kids, so they can wear them to school without violating dress code!

The weather is cooler, but remains mild. The nights have been raining outright, but this day is too calm and bright not to take advantage.

So grateful. So thankful. So peaceful. These are times to be remembered.

Temperature: 41°
Distance: 2.85 miles

Oh ho, Father Christmas was deceptive. The skies were bright and the air was calm as I headed out, but in a short time the clouds rolled in an it got very breezy. I decided to break the run short. Besides, after all the consumption of the past twenty-four hours, and lack of sleep, I want to be sure I do not have to crash too early. Going to see Into the Woods this afternoon!

Holiday Run
Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
FaLaLaLaLove Ya - Nikki Lane
Snowman - XTC
San Valley Ski Run - Esquivel
Last Christmas (Pudding Mix) - Wham!
Wonderful Christmastime - Straight No Chaser ft. Paul McCartney

Listen to how Akrons' own The Waitresses came up with "Christmas Wrapping".
WCPN 90.3 FM Ideastream

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My holiday's complete!

Stay young. Dine with young people.

So the water things lasted about two days. You just have to think about it too much. Also, though I have not been stretching my back in the morning and after two weeks my lower back is still complaining. The pain has eased off, but yesterday I drove for three and a half hours straight to get to Athens (my family headed down without me Monday morning) and I got out of the car feeling like my injury was fresh, or mostly fresh.

It's Christmas Eve. Run we must.

Temperature:  55°
Distance: 4.25 miles

Glorious, cool day, damp pavement. The city has the detour signs set out next to the bike path, ready to block the way when the river floods. Last night it probably had.

Kael's Monster Mix (side two)
Let's Go To Bed (Extended Mix) - The Cure
Don't Let's Start - They Might Be Giants
Pulling Mussels (From the Shell) - Squeeze
Rock Steady - Sting
Beating of Hearts - XTC
I Got You - Split Enz
Nightclub Jitters - The Replacements
Lady Madonna - The Beatles
Voice Of Harold - R.E.M.
A Japanese Dream (remix) - The Cure

Kael's Monster Mix (side one)

For those completionists among us, Peter Gabriel's Walk Through the Fire belongs after Beating of Hearts, but for some reason did not make it onto the iPod. No matter, this abbreviated side lasted for almost the entire route.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Time to move forward.

This is a dream I had.
So drinking a gallon of water a day is a thing. We were talking about this at work the other day. I have tried a few fad diets in my time, not many. We ate rice a lot for a week maybe twenty years ago (my wife has to keep reminding me that not everything happened twenty years ago).

Apparently, if I drink a gallon a day, my skin will clear up, my general feeling of energy will rise, and I may even lose weight, no doubt through displacement.

The truth is, I certainly do not drink enough water. My pee is often like tar sands oil. So any kind of encouragement to hydrate is a good one, especially when our rehearsal space is on the tenth floor and often the water that makes it's way up those ancient pipes looks like, well, like it came from the black tar sands.

Yesterday I drank half a gallon before 10 AM, I was so inspired, which made the rest of the day kind of normal. The question is whether or not retaining so much water makes it 1) better to run, because hydration, yay or 2) harder to run, because I am bloated like a baby beluga.

One colleague remarked how giddy I appeared yesterday afternoon, but I think that was simply joy that I was making it through a day without the crippling migraine I had developed on Thursday. It was simply a joy to be able to think.

Temperature: 31°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Our year draws to a close. I am collaborating with the girl on the holiday cartoon - yes, I said it, this year there will be a cartoon. It's been five years. They are a lot of work, but they are worth it. They've both grown so much in 2014, they grow all the time, but it seems like we are a different family now. And that is good, too.

2014 Playlist
United State Of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do) - DJ Earworm
Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future - Mike Doughty
Everything is AWESOME!!! - Tegan & Sara ft. Lonely Island
Accident Report - Eric Lualdi
Figure It Out - Royal Blood
Dancehall Domine - The New Pornographers
Two Bodies - Flight Facilities ft. Emma Louise
Do You - Spoon

Half a gallon before 10 AM. Waiting for the change.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A hymn called 'Faith and Misery'.

Several months of concentration and preparation culminated a week ago Monday with a rather stressful video recording session and as a result, all the tension I had been holding back hit me rather hard in my lower back. Like, really low, I don't usually have back pain that low. It has been a painful week.

Heat, cold, tiger balm massage, and lots of ibuprofen. Still hurts, even today. Snows are coming. Got to run.

Temperature: 45°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Dialogue while running:
BENJAMIN Shakespeare would have supported this war! Band of brothers, the Feast of Crispian an all that!
CLEMENT Crispin Crispian? The Battle of Agincourt?
CLEMENT Agincourt was a war of convenience! We attacked them!
Holiday Run
Fairytale of NewYork - The Pogues Ft. Kirsty MacColl
The Little Drummer Boy - King of Clubs
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
The Closing of the Year - Wendy & Lisa
Come On Home * - Everything But the Girl
O Come All Ye Faithful - Pomplamoose
Holiday - Green Day
My Favorite Things * - John Coletrane

And so it's 5:30 ... and what have you done?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

I'm in a mood for you, for running away.

Not me.
And bad mistakes ‒ I've made a few. There was a number of colleagues at school who announced they were planning a winter break journey to the Bahamas. This was in 1988, and of those who signed up to this unofficial field trip, there were one or two close enough to call friends. Also, traveling used to give me great anxiety. So I passed.

The fact that I would make close friends on the trip hadn't occurred to me. I spent that winter break at home in Bay Village, cold, alone, contemplating my own demise and just generally regretting every decision had ever made to that point.

However, part of me was in the Bahamas that miserable holiday break ... a mix-tape I had made for myself, which I gave as a present to those who were going. Legend has it they were very happy with my mix-tape, playing these same nineteen songs over and over again. Something else the kids today will never understand. 

Everything third song or so was followed by a brief sound bite from a movie or television program, lines like For God's Sake, Mrs. Robinson! - and - It's all right lads, I always poo before I get up. - and the ominous - (Wife) There's a young man here, he says he wants to use the telephone. (Writer) Well, I suppose you'd better let him in.

But the music was at the fore, of course. I found the original cassette I had made for myself and made this angst-ridden playlist for you.

Kael's Monster Mix (side one)
A Japanese Dream - The Cure
Close (To The Edit) - The Art of Noise
Thinkin' About Your Body - Bobby McFerrin
Sunday Papers - Joe Jackson
Balloon Man * - Robyn Hitchcock
How Soon Is Now - The Smiths
Perfect Kiss - New Order
The Ghost In You - The Psychedelic Furs
Nothing Looks The Same In The Light - Wham!

Temperature: 32°
Distance: 5.15 miles

Christ, was gloriously perfect morning. Crisp, clear and bright. Should have joined the Reindeer Run.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Light will keep your heart beating in the future.

The end of a four-day holiday weekend in Cleveland. The wife made a heritage bird for Thanksgiving, we saw the premiere of Clara & The Nutcracker at Talespinner Children's Theatre and took my brother and his family for a walk around the shiny, new downtown Cleveland.

Thursday evening, the most unusual thing, my arms hurt. I am not used to having such extreme soreness following something as brief as a five-mile race, and never so intensely in my arms. My only guess is that with the slushy, slippery pavement, I was holding a lot of tension in my arms in an attempt to keep my balance.

On Friday I am very happy to say my entire family pitched in and did a lot of cleaning up of the house, especially the downstairs. Today is the last day of November, and I have kids who really, really want to bring the Christmas decorations out of the attic, so I think I know what's going on today.

However, right now it is fifty-five degrees out. And we're not getting any better than that.

Temperature: 55°
Distance:3.25 miles

Also, my abdomen. Lots of upper body work in that race. Maybe this is the beginning of something good.

Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future Playlist
Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future * - Mike Doughty
Super Bon Bon - Soul Coughing
Soundtrack To Mary - Soul Coughing
Pompeii - Bastille
See a Little Light - Bob Mould
Don't Let's Start - They Might Be Giants
Vegetable - Mike Doughty
The New Pollution - Beck
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

Funky Gen-X Stylee. Haven't run eight times in November since 2009. Things feel good.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 Cleveland Turkey Trot

These nights have been challenging. Fighting a cold, the kind of cold that hangs on, settles into my lungs and sinuses and just moves in for the duration. I have been a awake for long stretches the past several nights, either lying in bed or getting up to read. Our schedule has offered sane bedtimes, but it is difficult to say I have been getting enough rest.

We were to have spent the evening with my brother and his family from St. Paul, flying in to stay at my folks' place in Lakewood. But you know how air traffic was yesterday, the weather in the east clogging everything up. They got in a little late for an early dinner, and events conspired with me at work yesterday that made me feel much more comfortable at home with my immediate family, watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Today, the storm has moved across the Midwest, and we have snow on the ground for the annual Turkey Trot. Okay then. No pseudoephedrine for me this morning, I would not want to dry out more than necessary. Also, too: passing out.

2014 Cleveland Turkey Trot
Distance: 5 miles
Start: 9:30 am
Temperature: 33°
Official Time: 41:20.99

That was a new experience. I met Chris and his nephew at the parking garage at Chester and 13th and then walked to the meeting place by the Free Stamp. Deciding what to wear was a challenge, and I had serious questions as we got closer to the lake and the winter winds.

Gear: zero drop shoes, socks, long pants, thermal shirt, hat, long-sleeved race tee

Nothing around my neck. Good thing, bad thing? Should I have worn my hoodie? As it turned out, I would not have changed a thing.

We met Jessica at the stamp, Patrick was still getting his bib in Public Hall. That was it for the Great Lakes contingent, but I was grateful for the motivation. I would never have signed up for this without it, and I am very glad I did. Besides, Jessica assured me the weather was twice as bad last year.

Running in snow and slush are not conditions for anyone's personal best, except perhaps for your personal best at the Turkey Trot. I was as cautious as anyone else heading down East Third towards the Stadium when the slush turned to snow on the pavement, and suddenly I remembered -- I train in this shit. I run in snow all the time.

However, no matter how fast I ran, no matter how hard I tried, I could not shake Chris Fornadel. I thought I lost him heading up East Ninth away from the Rock Hall, continuing east on Hamilton all the way to 36th Street on my own, but he reappeared as we headed back downtown along St. Clair.

I don't know who was pacing who.

Just kidding. By the time we crossed East Ninth I was keeping up with him. So that worked out pretty well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Out and in.

All last week, half the family was ill. Just a cold, poorly timed with the fiercely inclement weather. I was fine every single day, until Friday night. That is just the way with me sometimes, I hang on until I am not needed, and then collapse. Yesterday was a complete waste of my time, either spent in bed or haunting the house, doing odd jobs because I could stand being in bed any more.

There's a 5-mile race on Thursday, Chris picked up my bib and shirt already, and a number of us from work are going to meet up before the run to take a picture or something. What has to happen between now and then is a lot, including editing kids' stories into scripts for radio, hosting one matinee of A Christmas Carol for Cleveland city school students on Tuesday and another, sensory friendly performance on Wednesday. It's a three-day work week with a month of work in it.

I'm sick. I should rest. But it's over 55 degrees and I have a race in four days.

Temperature: 57°
Distance: 2 miles

Red Right Hand Playlist
Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Jockey Full of Bourbon * - Tom Waits
This Corrosion * - Sister of Mercy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's the memory of our betters that are keeping us on our feet.

Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem (2007)

Get Innocuous! 
Time to Get Away 
North American Scum 
Someone Great 
All My Friends 
Us v Them

James Murphy writes the soundtrack of my aging hipster bones.

Last week I finally used a birthday gift card to purchase three pair of new pants. All of them with a 33 inch waist.

Silly me, I don't have a 33 waist. I have a 34 inch waist. I can wear them, but they are snug. I did not do this on purpose. And yet, I have two choices. Return them and accept my fate, or work it.

Temperature: 36°
Distance: 4 miles
Pavement: Some clear, much crusty.
Gear: Shorts, short-sleeved-tee, windbreaker, knit gloves, fleece hat.

Obstacle course out there, but perfect weather. No wind, just a lot of hard work on the knees navigating sidewalks that were left unshoveled, sometimes dodging into the street. Kept to the large block route, taking some side roads to save my knees. My knees hurt. But in that good way, you know?

During the snows on Friday evening I used the Wii for the first time in almost a year. It's good for a warm-up, but not so great for aerobic work. Muscles have been stretched, but not really used. And running place really sucks.

Good news, though - I have run more times this November than any November since 2010. And it isn't even Thanksgiving!

Heights Citizen: I am sick of these kids walking the street like they own the place.
- Later -
Heights Citizen: Shovel the sidewalk? Fuck you, I rent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Strange, the ones who want to win the race are usually the ones who fall behind.

Happy birthday, sir.
Received an email a few days ago from a work colleague, who is organizing a(n unofficial) company team for the Turkey Trot! Never run the Trot before, don't usually have the chance. Most often we are in Athens for Thanksgiving, last year we were in St. Paul. Who KNOWS when I will have this opportunity again!

That and I have been getting into a funk over not participating in any races, not since Girls On The Run last spring. A brisk, "turkey day" five-mile run around downtown sounds like a good time.

My buddy at work, the one who I am going to try and push into the CLE Half, has never run in any organized race. We shall take care of that.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Climate: very light rain

One more in before the OMEGA BLOCK. Or whatever. Put that on a sweatshirt.

XTC Playlist
Happy Families
Statue of Liberty
Yacht Dance
Life Begins at the Hop
Funk Pop a Roll
Cockpit Dance Mix
This Is Pop

Sunday, November 09, 2014

I'm a happy idiot waving at cars.

In 2008 my playlist was dominated by Capital London, in 2014 by The Current. My children know the words to Take Me to Church. This is the influence my two brothers still hold on me, their music.

Temperature: 43°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Bright, beautiful fall day. Sun shining, leaves drifting to the ground, not too cool. I am carrying far too much baggage, I want to fly but it takes effort. I believe I will be in that place again.

Happy Idiot Playlist
Happy Idiot - TV on the Radio
Diane Young - Vampire Weekend
Youth Without Youth - Metric
The Mother We Share - CHVRCHES
Symptoms - Atlas Genius
Dance Yrself Clean - LCD Soundsystem
Believer - American Authors

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Better run.

When Obama votes, he gets hit upon by pretty young ladies.
First things first. My friend Roger ran New York on Sunday. He had two goals:
  1. Finish without an injury.
  2. Finish in under six hours.
I think his first goal was actually just finish. In any even, he was successful on all counts, clocking in at 05:19:59 with an average pace of 12:13. Awesome!

Today my work colleague, the one who has been looking so fit lately, told me he ran his first 10 mile yesterday. Just inspired, he's gotten up to seven miles and yesterday was just such a perfect day he thought he'd try it.

We discussed his attempting a half marathon. Definitely doable. He should run the Cleveland Half next year.

And so here I am thinking I should run the Cleveland Half next year.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 5.15 miles

And speaking of good weather, we may be done for the year. So, five miles!

And One (On One) Playlist
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People
Cannonball - The Breeders
Wonderwall (Radiohead parody)
In the Garage - Weezer
Do You Realize? - The Flaming Lips
Jeepster- T. Rex
We Are Young - fun. ft. Janelle MonĂ¡e
And one (On One) - Lilys
Rock & Roll - The Velvet Underground
Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem
Roadrunner - The Modern Lovers

Wow. I couldn't have created a better mix if I had chosen it myself. And really, I didn't.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Guess my race is run.

“His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man who whom nothing was ever to happen.” - The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
When I first read that line, I wrote it down. It was chilling to read and I felt she was speaking directly to me. This was in 1998, when I was about to turn thirty.

Temperature: 39°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Recently I was driving to a school in the far eastern suburbs, down a winding two-lane road. I looked at the road, the street sign, the pavement and the painted lines upon it. And I saw it as a place to run. And that was a find, old thought, made new.

Day of the Dead Playlist (Teenage Kicks)
Get It On (Bang a Gong) - T. Rex
What Have I Done to Deserve This - Pet Shop Boys ft. Dusty Springfield
All Apologies - Nirvana
I Fought the Law - The Clash
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (155 bpm) - Queen
Hold It Now, Hit It - Beastie Boys
Private Idaho (166 bpm) - The B-52's
Don't Dream It's Over (162 bpm) - Crowded House

Yesterday, they played a set of artists with dead performers on The Current, and I thought, that's a really good playlist.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tell me all about your pain.

Here's the thing. I have fallen into the trap of believing that running is an inherently selfish use of time and that there must be a dozen other things more important for me to be doing at the moment.

I have lost my sense of myself as a runner. Not sure what to do about that.

Temperature: 52°
Distance: 3.25 miles

My wife said, "If there is anyone who can be thought of as a runner, it is you." So that was good to hear.

Night Kitchen Years
Boombastic (159 bpm) - Shaggy
The Brooklynites - Soul Coughing
The Idiot Kings - Soul Coughing
Local God - Everclear
Cupid De Locke - Smashing Pumpkins
The Interlocutor - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Never Here - Elastica
Ball of Confusion - Duran Duran

In the fall of 1996, I weighed about this much. But I didn't run, and I was a smoker. I could not, then, have run 3.25 miles. This is important to remember.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Keep on running.

Hello Coulson.
 Never buy anything on iTunes without first checking that you don't already have it. I have gotten every single free single they have offered since 2004, I can't tell you how many times I have bought something to find out they had already given it to me.

Don't even talk to me about how little I am running these days, I don't want to hear it.

Temperature: 63°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Today, however, was a surprise. Rising far too early a Saturday morning (but feeling good for a change) I had a million errands and responsibilities, departing at 8 AM and returning at 2 PM, when I was determined to rip up some trees behind what will soon be our new garage.

I figured that would kill me and then call it a day but after ninety minutes the only thing I really wanted to do was run. Hey!

Fall 2014 Playlist
Take Me To Church - Hozier
Dangerous - Big Data
Birth In Reverse (162 bpm) - St. Vincent
The Wire - HAIM
Dancehall Domine - The New Pornographers
I'm Not the Only One (164 bpm) - Sam Smith
Bombay - El Guincho
Cool Kids - Echosmith

Sunday, October 19, 2014

No time for fear.

This post has nothing to do with Ebola.

The time between runs is expanding* and so it is difficult to explain what has happened between then and now. And it's only been a week. If I am going to develop a true understanding of the effect my diet and general intake have on my sinuses and sleep patterns, I would need to take serious notes, and to stop just concocting theories.

Depressed, I am, that I was unable to participate in yesterday's first annual neighborhood 5K. Life with developing children piles up, the girl and wife away at a soccer tournament, the boy with music lessons and I needed to take him directly from that to a pre-show discussion at work. My absence there would have been noticed, as I had a miscommunication with the guest speaker which resulted in my having to create a lecture on the fly.

It seems there is always an excuse not to run these days. You would think I was back on antidepressants. This has to stop.

Temperature: 52°
Distance:3.25 miles

Well. That was difficult Very winded, had to walk several times. It is a bright, beautiful, virtually cloudless early evening, cool and perfect. In spite of that, it was a very challenging run, huffing and wheezing. This is not who I want to be.

Diet can change, what is missing right now is the exercise. However, between my schedule and her and hers and his, I am preparing three meals a day, between that, additional housework and time for writing, there are few moments in the morning or evening to move.

Beat of Love Playlist
Beat of Love - Voice of the Beehive
Def. Con. One - PWEI
Brave New World - Michael Penn
I Predict - Sparks
Skidmarks On My Heart - The Go-Go's
Nemesis - Shriekback
Detour Through Your Mind - The B-52's

* and so am I! (drum fill)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Accepting applications at University.

The 3 Way - Lilys (1999)
Dimes Make Dollars
Socs Hip
Accepting Applications at University
And One (On One)
Leo Ryan (Our Pharoah's Slave)
Solar Is Here
The Spirits Merchant
The Lost Victory
The Generator
A Tab For the Holidays

One afternoon in August, 2001 my brother and I were in a record shop in the East Village. There was a time I would walk into a music store and browse, leisurely, and pick up something, anything, that looked interesting, that I might like.

This was when a) I had more time and b) I had more money.

I have had few experiences with my brother in record stores, which is a pity because I have always been impressed with his taste in music, and in his music collection. Actually shopping for discs with him is something I should have made an effort to do more often before it was too late.

He's not dead or anything, the stores are.

However, after wandering around for about twenty minutes, without satisfaction, I asked the guy behind the counter what the hell we have been listening to, and bought that. I am reminded of that scene in High Fidelity when John Cusack's character targets a customer, and brags that he can sell a Stereolab CD in less than two minutes, puts on Lo Boob Oscillator, and bam, of course, he's right.

This guy must have seen me coming a mile away. An obvious nod to The Kinks, this adventure in Power-Mod-Pop owes almost as much to the Style Council or even late-model Stranglers, describing in lucid, liquid detail parties I wish I had attended and drugs I wish I had taken.

Upon departing the record shop, I didn't listen to the disc until I had returned home to Cleveland, but upon doing so I realized the music had been ringing in my ears during our entire experience in New York that summer, especially And One (On One), possibly the best love song to cocaine ever written.

Cousins at the O.U. Homecoming Parade
Temperature: 59°
Distance: 4.25 miles

We are spending something like 36 hours in Athens this weekend, what we could squeeze in between work and a 2 PM soccer match in Strongsville tomorrow. The girl made a special request, to head to the Skull and then just walk around and shop Uptown before having lunch at Casa.

Funny. That's exactly what we wanted to do.

Parade, Skull, shopping on Court Street, and then about three hours in Casa Nueva - time spent both waiting for a table for eleven and then enjoying sitting at it. By the time my wife and I departed in time to make a 4 PM coffee date with one of my professors, I had just about had it. Too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, fat and BOBCATS.

I am not a big, rah rah, Old Mother kind of guy. Thanks for the degree, for the wives, but you can keep the alumni, I come back to lounge in the hills. Dodging students and graduates laid out flat on the sidewalk before noon was enough of an unwelcome sight, the SOUND was positively overwhelming, indoor and out. It made me dizzy.

Meeting Dr. Faricy and sipping tea at Donkey for two hours was enough to settle my nerves and by the time we parted it was about sundown and I had been hoping for just one run while I am here. I mean, it's only been a week.

Man, was that a good idea. The weather was perfect, and so was my timing. I couldn't have parked at Peden Stadium any earlier if I had wanted to, the final stragglers from the game were only just pulling out of the parking lot.

The lights on the bike path were coming on, and the sky over the hills were turning deep, turgid colors. Few were on the path, a couple runners, only one bike passed me. It was odd. Like I just missed everything, which was what I wanted.

It felt good, not winded at all, just a little sniffly from the cool air. Relaxing into the evening, my abdominal muscles sing a bit, no drinks tonight, we have to leave early tomorrow. I hope to sleep well.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Sweet little boy with oh such a big mouth.

Exercise Is ADHD Medication
Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility; new research shows just how critical it is to academic performance. 
- James Hamblin, The Atlantic 9/29/2014
In other news ... No shit.

The babysitter chased me out of the house to take a run.

Temperature: 70°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Tried going dry for a few days. Four days, when I came home at night and thought of beer, I made tea. Decaf tea. A special drink, just for me.

Yesterday a friend asked me to Happy Hour at Hodge's. She asked if I felt any different. I think I did. I can't remember whether I slept any better ... which means I probably did. I do know I had an anger attack on Tuesday, which may or may not have been related, it probably was.

So, anyway, Happy Hour. One drink with a drink, another over dinner with the family. Woke up with a sinus headache. Which may have been because bad weather is coming in. Or not.

Tonight we are going to see Les Mis at the Hanna. I'm drinking tap water.

Jane's Getting Serious Playlist
Adult Education - Hall & Oates
Fortress Around Your Heart - Sting
I Missed Again - Phil Collins
Hard Day - George Michael
Constant Craving - k.d lang
Happy - George Michael
Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes

"She'll lay you on her throne." Missed that when I was thirteen.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

You got too much soul.

Last night I dreamed I was at a party where I was the least interesting person there. No one wanted to talk to me. Also, I was wearing one of my daughter's bedazzled black hoodies.

Last night I was at an actual party where I was talking to many people, though I cannot account for any interest I may or may not have generated. I spoke with a colleague about his great success in dropping forty-five pounds through the past year.

I knew he had been trying to control his weight, he's been working at that for some time now. What was stunning to me was the recent day where I looked at him and suddenly realized he'd done it. To me, it appeared like he'd done it overnight.

He was so happy, telling me about the day he realized he just had to do something serious and exactly what that was, not just about eating too much, but all the casual drinking, and complete lack of activity. So, he changed his habits. He decided to change them, and here was the result. He looks great.

I mentioned how I have put on more weight than I would like to have, and he politely remarked that I don't show it, I'm too tall, I carry myself tall. That was very nice to hear but it doesn't change the fact that I am in my mid-40s and carrying a tire that as I age becomes increasingly difficult to burn.

As I bounce ideas back and forth inside my head (artistic ideas, you know, we do that) I have considered revising and reviving the marathon play. So many changes in the past five years, I feel that it is not finished. In order to play it, however, I would need to lose twenty pounds. Performing it last in 2011, I was at least that much heavier than when it debuted, and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack one night.

No heart attacks, please.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Sunshiny morning over the Heights, and humid. Feeling good, but breathy. I think this fall the designated beverage at home will be tea, sweet herbal tea. The children have started requesting tea as a regular beverage, and can prepare it themselves. We should make a lot of it at a time and enjoy it all evening.

Sleep has been an issue, all year, all summer long. My sleep patterns have been horrible. Too much caffeine, all day, and any alcohol at all. Friends send me links on meditation and yoga, and perhaps I will visit those articles some day. One thing at a time.

It has been almost a year since I began my experiment in writing, which has been successful beyond imagining. The running happens, but not the races. Four runs in September? It's the second best month for running in the entire year.

The best is, of course, October.

Jane's Getting Serious Playlist
Jane's Getting Serious - Jon Astley
Valerie - Steve Winwood
The Oogum Boogum Song - Brenton Wood
She Bop - Cyndi Lauper
Do You Really Want To Know - George Michael
Save Me - k.d. lang
Straight To My Heart (165 bpm) - Sting

Yes. We are wistful and nostalgic, but also troubled. I wrote a ten-minute play last week. It's either awful or just about an awful thing. We'll read it Thursday and find out which.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I know you'll want to run around.

"If you could give one magic pill that would improve physical health, mood, reduce weight," this would be it, [Dr. Robert Waldinger, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University] says. Federal health officials recommend 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every day.

Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You

NPR - Morning Edition, Sept. 22, 2014
A few years back some "friends" chose to share with me this report which suggests there is no empirical evidence that exercise helps with depression. Except the other day NPR tells me, as part of their ongoing reports on STRESS (which I should tell you are very stressful to listen to) that physical exercise can improve physical health and mood.

So there's that.

Temperature: 73°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Big, beautiful night. Numerous runners and walkers and others.

What's the word for that awkward moment you have to pass someone who is almost but not quite just going as fast as you, and then you speed up because you want to put a lot of space between them and you and you notice your shorts are stuffed up your buttcrack?

There has to be one.

The Current Playlist
Dangerous -  Big Data
After the Disco - Broken Bells
I'm Only Joking - Kongos
Youth Without Youth - Metric
Harlem - New Politics
We Come Running  - Youngblood Hawke
Pumpin Blood - NONONO
Right Action - Franz Ferdinand

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My pulse is racing.

No seriously, I haven't run for a long time and I am not happy about that. It's golden hour, the fall, when the gear is still at a minimum but so is the sweat.

We have been in rehearsal for the residency program, which makes for early mornings, long days, and many of them (we rehearse on Saturdays, too) and my wife has begun her second year teaching high school English, so my evenings are largely housework related -- and spending time with my children, who have suddenly exploded into the larger world.

Then there's the change of season, allergy, feeling headachy and sick thing.

Gripe, gripe, gripe (the boys are marching.)

Temperature: 75°
Distance: 3.25 miles
 Let's Cool It In The Bedroom  
by Gretchen Reynolds
New York Times - July 17, 2014

Woke just before 3 am, certain I would slide into another sleepless night and wake in pain. I could feel my head expand and tighten. I crawled out of bed for water and pain reliever, and threw off the covers to sleep cool.

The NYTimes link provided above, and which I read during the summer, does not actually relate to my personal discoveries about sleep, though it is interesting. All I know is staying up late, sleeping warm, sleeping in (thereby missing out on morning caffeine) and even modest amounts of alcohol, combine to create a really awful morning. You may call it a hangover, but it happens whether I have had anything to drink or not, and always on the weekend.

I woke again at 7 am, feeling much better, and ready to just roll over, when it occurred to me to make coffee, which I did, by which time I was a little awake. I have not written in two days, not even nonsense. Lately I have been fretting - a lot - about my ability to write anything, ever, of any value, ever again.

Coffee, morning birds and a blank sheet of paper, combined with a half hour of thinking and rotating my wrist and I have the beginning of what may be a 10-minute play, which is great because I find those to be most difficult of all.

Then I went back to sleep for two hours, the best sleep I've had in over a month. It is 11 am, everyone is gone for the day, and I have housework to happily tend to. But first, we run.

Under Pressure Playlist
Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
The Ocean - Led Zeppelin
Roundabout - Yes
These Are The Days of Our Lives - Queen
Stone Cold Crazy - Metallica
I'm Free - The Who
Living After Midnight - Judas Priest

Bright and warm, but cool and breezy. This is fall. I feel good, I need to resume cross-training, these slacks won't put themselves on.

So glad we live in a universe where Under Pressure happened. When you are putting together that memorial video for me after my death, please use this song, it's kind of everything.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

I'm never gonna live again.

What's in the jug this year?
Last week I snarked about my hometown, and their penchant for intolerance and feckless cruelty. It was a little out of left field, and as is normal when I lash out with provocation I usually feel a little bad about it. So, thanks for proving me right this week in such spectacular fashion. You people are fucking terrible.

Temperature: 70°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Long week of rehearsal, but satisfying. Boxes get ticked, the work continues. The only setting my teeth on edge is that in those quiet in-between moments, on my own time, I don't know what to do. Writing happens, but we are in the non-formative area (in which I used to constantly live) where the words swirl but the ideas are not compelling.

This morning there are many house jobs to tend to, but even at 10 AM I am bleary, unfocused a little pained, stiff and unsettled. Time for a run.

If I Can't Change Your Mind Playlist
Tears of a Clown - The Beat
Back of a Car - Big Star
Feel - Big Star
Nearly Lost You - Screaming Trees
And We Danced - Hooters
Holidays In The Sun - Sex Pistols
Everyday Is Halloween - Ministry
September Gurls - Big Star

Neighborhood association coming up with ideas for a 5K this fall.  Time to ask the city how best to close down these streets for a morning.

Monday, September 01, 2014

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

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

Temperature: 77°
Distance: 3.25 miles

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

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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Burning in the outside lane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Temperature: 79°
Distance: 3.25 miles

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

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

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Temperature: 86°
Distance: 3.25 miles

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When you woke up today.

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

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

Temperature: 64°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Morning. So cool. So tired. So hard.

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We're running our last race.

Potter Village Block Party 2014

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blow your mind.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

He must be happy in his work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boy Run

Distance: .85 mile

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

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

I've come to take you home.

Happy volunteers in the house!
Home again and no time to look back. The Gay Games are on and in Cleveland! We were driving home when numerous happy friends were posting selfies and other amazing pictures from the opening ceremonies on Saturday night. Today a crew from Great Lakes headed over to the Renaissance to contribute to their massive force of volunteers.

We also had the chance to watch open rehearsal of DanceSport in the ballroom. Silly me, I didn't know the Renaissance has a ballroom -- but Lisa did! She went to Lakewood High and that is where they held their Prom. Damn! That must have been something.

Last night I slept better than I have for two weeks. I love vacation. I love home more.

Temperature: 72°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Climate: light rain

Came home from getting groceries to hear that Robin Williams has taken his own life. I am shaken and conflicted by this news, and finding it difficult to process. So I will listen to very gay music and run because sometimes that is the only way to cope.

Solsbury Hill Playlist
Solsbury Hill - Erasure
It Won't Be Long - Alison Moyet
Voulez Vous - Erasure
You Have Placed a Chill In My Heart - Eurythmics
Left To My Own Devices - Pet Shop Boys
Nothing - Depeche Mode
Situation - Yazoo

Thursday, August 07, 2014

When we come running.

It only makes sense that when I, of all people, go to see Guardians of the Galaxy, the power in the theater goes out before the post-credits scene.

Today is our last full day in the cove for the year. One more run in, the next time will be the well-trod path of my own neighborhood, and I am looking forward to that. But I will marvel for the trees and the scent and sight of the vast salt sea. Where did they go?

For now they are still right in front of me.

Temperature: 73°
Distance: 3.8 miles

Pompeii Playlist
Live Forever - Oasis
The Kids Don't Stand A Chance - Vampire Weekend
We Come Running - Youngblood Hawke
San Francisco - The Mowgli's
On Melancholy Hill - Gorillaz
Campus - Vampire Weekend
Over The Love - Florence + The Machine
Anna Sun - Walk the Moon

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Desperate to connect.

Michele Kosboth (2014)

Just a perfect, well-timed morning. Rose early, at 6:30. My wife and I traded somnambulic places, for once I had a decent sleep while she was up reading American Gods in the middle of the night.

I made coffee. I sat on the porch and wrote nonsense for a half-hour or so. I came in and sat in front of the fire and figured out a key moment in the new work. I made pancakes in honor of my father's nativity.

Seventy-nine years. I am less impressed with his advanced years than disturbed by the fact that I am old enough to have a father who is seventy-nine years old.

Temperature: 77°
Distance: 4 miles

Stephani and I had an exchange on Facebook yesterday about my routes. It drives her to distraction that I always report a fraction of a mile in my routes, she has a thing about round numbers. This is where runners with OCD can't see eye to eye ... some must run to the nearest mile and if they step one over they have to run another mile. In my case, I must run from one definite point to another, and then map it so I know exactly how far I ran.

Pheidippides had the decency and good sense to run precisely 26 miles before dropping over dead. But then for the 1908 Olympics, fat old Edward VII wanted another 0.2 miles so the runners could finish right in front of him. This is why we had to help them out of the Great War.

This morning I went an additional 0.2 myself (you're welcome, Stephani) running in the opposite direction for a bit to say hello the horse. We just stared at each other for a moment, then he whinnied. I win.

Pompeii Playlist
The Wire - HAIM
Shine - Take That
Sad Beautiful Thing - Taylor Swift
Love Is Blindness * - Jack White
Symptoms - Atlas Genius
Youth - Daughter
Hearts A Mess - Gotye
Don't Panic - Coldplay
This Charming Man - The Smiths
Next Girl * - The Black Keys

Monday, August 04, 2014

I'm ashamed to be running away.

This is my mother.
A certain mental malaise set in yesterday, as I spent the day working rather than playing. A crew had gone to experience the WW&F narrow gauge railroad while I remained behind to read and write, mostly write. And the writing happened. But I also became office-like sedentary, in spite of the majestic ocean view before me, which has remained to this moment in late morning.

The kids are by the water. I am reading and even napping before noon. The nights have been poor for me, waking at least once in the middle of every night, wondering when exactly I will drift back to sleep. It is not the night noises, nor the night air. These things are relaxing. The wife suggests it may be all the caffeine and alcohol. So, what? I am supposed to stop drinking caffeine and alcohol? What kind of vacation is this?

I just miss my bed. And the bed can wait. And rather than waiting any longer, I am going to take a run, because if there's one thing that gets me moving, it is moving.

Temperature: 70°
Distance: 3.8 miles

Bizarre run, full of emotions and thoughts. Passed the girl's L.I. friend on my way out of the cove. She was making her own run, I passed and wished her good luck and put in the headphones.

Trying to figure out two important arguments/plot points for the new work. One splashed into mind, something I can work with, no idea if it were the British '00s pop tunes ... but it may have been. I was about to take a break at the halfway point when Hounds of Love came on, which has a brisk, irresistible BPM.

However, I did pause at the beach on Martin's Point, to drop down and clamber over a few rocks at low tide. Saying good-bye? It's only Monday, but we have been gone so long I feel I should be preparing to leave. I need to stop that, this is my vacation, dammit.

On my way back into the cove I passed L.I. walking. "Good run?" I asked. She said it was, and I appreciated the confirmation.

Pompeii Playlist
Munich - Editors
Giving Up The Gun - Vampire Weekend
Before the Worst - The Script
Hounds of Love * - The Futureheads
She's Long Gone * - The Balck Keys
Houdini - Foster the People
1901 - Phoenix

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Many days fell away with nothing to show.

Yesterday, the wife and I transported my brother and his family to Portland for their departure. In our absence, the kids remained in the cove, the girl anticipating the arrival of a summertime friend from Long Island.

This morning the two of them took a run together, along the route that I had shown her last week. She reported that the two of them made it a full mile, just past Crystal Pond to the community house. The girl said with a certain amount of pride that her friend had to stop a few times to catch her breath. In the presence of her peers the girl exhibits a steely resolve, she only complains to me.

Our time in Portland was marked by an auspicious visit to the PAM (Portland Museum of Art). Last Monday morning, waiting for breakfast sandwiches in a coffee shop in Springfield, I was taken by a painting on the wall. It wasn't a real painting, it was one of those photo-reproductions on canvas. I peered closer and squinted, and I felt sad because I was reminded that it has been a very long time since I have been to an art museum.

When I have been to museums, it has been with children, and that is a different experience entirely. For twenty years my wife and I have walked slowly, at the same pace, throughout galleries across the Midwest, the East Coast, in California and in England, searching paintings and sculpture. But it has been such a long time. I hadn't realized how much I missed it.

Richard Estes
Checkout (2012)
The PMA is currently featuring an retrospective of the photo-realistic paintings for Richard Estes. Not a particularly large museum, the PMA holds an extremely impressive collection of works in its permanent collection. However, beginning with Estes collection set me on an emotional pilgrimage which marked my entire experience in the museum.

Estes' ability to reproduce photography with paint brings into heightened relief the repetition and reflection in so much of what the human eye perceives in a modern, urban landscape. Also, his choice of subject matter, from Columbus Circle to Hubbard Glacier to coastal Maine just happens to capture travels I have taken with my wife.

These detailed images of Manhattan also remind me of the anticipation I have felt in this place for past theater festivals, both last year and also ten years ago. Treks are often their own reward, while others feel as elements upon which to continue building.

By the third floor of the museum I was nearly in tears. Searching paintings is an experience of emotional accumulation. Witnessing work that is new to me, I cannot help but be reminded of previous works, familiar technique, colors which are only present or noticeable in visual art, but repeat, and create mental connections across time and space and memory.

Tim Rollins and K.O.S.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Asleep on the Raft (after Mark Twain)
Temperature: 66°
Distance: 3.8 miles
Gear: Agh! Cotton!

Pompeii Playlist
Guns and Horses - Ellie Goulding
Fitzpleasure - alt-J
Run Right Back * - Black Keys
Pompeii - Bastille
Paddling Out - Miike Snow
Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend
Whistle for the Choir - The Fratellis
Amsterdam - Imagine Dragons
Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club

Friday, August 01, 2014

Kill and run.

Blueberries, buttermilk and baconfat.
For my birthday, my brother and his wife gave me a Kindle Paperwhite. I do not covet technology. I don't even have a smart phone, nor do I want one. However, this is truly beautiful and useful device and and I am very happy I have one.

The boy observed, "But ... you can't play games on that!" That is correct, my son. Hands off. Like my iPod nano, which still works and was a gift to me eight years ago, it does one thing, and does it very well.

My first download was H.G. Welles The Time Machine, a novel from 1895, which was free. Suck on that, Bezos.

Temperature: 63°
Distance: 3.8 miles

Last night, we toasted s'mores and later my brother acted as DM for mine and the boy's first ever foray into Dungeons & Dragons. Yes. Today I have already wow'ed all with my pancaking skills and we took a brief motor out to spy some seals.

Pompeii Playlist
Cape Cod Kawassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
Kill and Run - Sia
Into the Past - Nero
The Last Time - Taylor Swift ft. Lightbody
Harlem - New Politics
Flathead - The Fratellis
Sex - The 1975s
Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons
Golden Touch - Razorlight

Fridays are traditionally the beginning of the fun, in Vacationland it feels like the end. People are packing up from the week's stay (we have another week) and wishing farewell to friends they see once a year, rentals along my run were having their lawns mowed all along Martin's Point. My brother and his family depart tomorrow, their rooms to be occupied a day later by even more friends.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

And you can tell the world that you're tired.

Morning marked by malaise ... I have had an unhappy relationship with sleep since we departed. Hotel bedrooms co-sleeping with kicking children is one thing, I do not know why my comfortable bed here has been keeping me up nights.

By my wife's recommendation I took allergy medicine before bed but was still up several times, and worse, with sinus pain. I slept later than everyone else, which I hate. I prefer to read and write before the kids are awake so as not to deprive them of vacation-based attention.

However, so it went and my wife took the kids out this morning so I could sit by the fire, or the porch, and read and scribble and eventually, to write. By noon I was ready to move.

Whither July?

Temperature: 63°
Climate: bright and warm
Distance: 3.8 miles

Pompeii Playlist
Salt Skin - Ellie Goulding
Landfill - Daughter
Without a Word - Birdy
Not Fair - Lily Allen
Calgary - Bon Iver
I Predict a Riot *  - Kaiser Chiefs
California English * - Vampire Weekend
Still Life * - The Horrors

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lemon Shoal

Reading happens.
Deep long morning, brief heavy rain. Much reading and a struggle to create a fire. I chose the porch, to enjoy the downpour.

The everyday life of a professional theater artist in Jacobean England. Where did I acquire these old books? The aging paperbacks with prices like "2-95" marked in pencil. It is as though I have squirreled them throughout my young adult years, with a pretension that I required them if I were to fashion myself a true scholar of Shakespeare. Only years, decades later I have found them to be actually useful.

This, How Shakespeare Spent His Day and previously, Shakespeare's Audience, these are thin books, from the mid-century (1963 and 1941, respectively) packed with verifiable information. Recent epics like Will In the World and 1599, heavy, heavy books that anyone would be proud to have seen on their shelf, outlined in fact and inflated with fancy.

Temperature: 66°
Climate: overcast and humid
Distance: .9 mile

In my more wistful moments, I imagine my daughter reflecting upon our relationship, and making note of how kindly encouraging I was to her in all things, even when she was choosing to be difficult and aggressively petulant.

Today, I blame myself. I had encouraged her to come and she was game, but she did ask to run one mile and I neglected to create a route. She was done and unhappy about it by the time we reached Crystal Pond ... which as it turns out is nearly a mile. If I'd know that we could have gotten that far and walked back with a feeling of accomplishment, instead of my trying to make conversation while she stared straight ahead, occasionally remarking that her shoes are wrong and her knee felt stiff.

Distance: 1.3 miles
I have never had great upper body strength. To put it another way, I have never had upper body strength. Occasionally I have worked to remedy this, but it comes and it goes. Wii Fit has helped through the winter, but that's really the only time I use it.

Recently, I have been waking to feel a pain in a particular region of my left tricep. No idea what has been causing that. The stress of the amusement park rides (no, seriously) seemed to have exacerbated this and on Monday I needed to take pain reliever, driving became so unpleasant.

Yesterday the boy asked to go kayaking, and our journey went much farther afield than I had expected - all the way around Pa's Island. It was near high tide, and there were many swells caused by passing lobster boats, and those waves that crash upon Lemon Shoal. We were each in separate kayaks, but the boy kept close as I called out calm and (I hoped) reassuring commands. I was waiting for the moment he might become anxious or begin to panic but he never did and though it was arduous, it was a successful journey.