Friday, January 31, 2014

Papa's in the ice box.

Runner feedback prompts the course to head further west

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon can suck this runner's cock. Runner feedback may call for trips through sunny Rocky River and Lakewood, but that means false advertising. It should be called the Near West Side of Cleveland Marathon or West Side Suburbs of Cleveland Marathon or We Are Ashamed of Cleveland Marathon.

To think I was considering running the Half Marathon this year, but fuck that.

Yes, I take this personally. Fuck the Fucking Rite Aid Not Fucking Cleveland Fucking Marathon.


Temperature: 34°
Pavement: Depends. Are we on Monticello?
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 175.5 lbs.

Three days in a row I have woken from less than happy slumber with a pain in the back, just below the left shoulder blade. It subsides as the morning moves on (thank you wii fit yoga) but two days in a row is, uh, a pain. Perhaps it stems from the outreach tour, in which there are many, many words. That, and rehearsals until 10 pm. Settling in late does not sit well with rising early.

Of course, maybe it is the complete and utter lack of running.

The cold has been ... dispiriting. I can run in cold weather, I have enjoyed running in cold weather. But every time I have been free and available, every fiber of my being says meh.

What I keep forgetting is how this aerobic exercise stimulates that heating unit in my blood, which perpetuates itself, for days, when properly stoked. Now, I am no longer cold. Not at all. I do not even feel the air around me.

1998 Playlist
One Week (Pull's Break Remix) - Barenaked Ladies
Jump Jive An' Wail - Brian Setzer Orchestra
Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix) - Beastie Boys
Hot Rod Motorcycles - Bobby Wayne
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith
Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) - Green Day
Sea of Heartbreak - Johnny Cash
Cominagetcha - Propellerheads

Citizens of Monticello Road: Since it last snowed a week ago the Ice Goblins have not come to devour the snow from your sidewalks. So I recommend you get out there and fucking eat it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I want some action. I want to live.

My resolution holds. Reading every night. Writing every morning. Reading so much has begun to feel ... slothful. Lazy. Indulgent. Sitting around, reading. This, as opposed to scanning Wikipedia for the latest edits, joining the never-ending party on Facebook. Cracked. com. No, somehow reading is indulgent.

My brain is like, "Dude. Lot of reading there, what do you think this is, Christmas?"

Last night I actually fell asleep reading. I never fall asleep reading, ever. I get sleepy, and then put aside my book and rest. I was trying to stay awake, to read more. And I fell asleep.

Temperature: 9°
Pavement: dusty with snow and ice
Distance: 1.75 miles
Weight: 176 lbs.

Icicles on my eyelashes.

1978 Playlist
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Devo
I Love The Nightlife (Disco 'Round) - Alicia Bridges
Got To Be Real - Cheryl Lynn

Monday, January 20, 2014

Slow down, man, you're losing them.

I had a dream. There was a large crack in the wall of my home. The south face was coming apart from the rest of the house. On the first floor, you could put your fist into a crack that size. In the girl's room you could see the wall pulling away from the ceiling.

Some believe this is a form of claustrophobia, others that it is a representation of agoraphobia. I believe it is a fear of my house falling apart.

Temperature: 28°
Pavement: thin snow and ice
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 175.5 lbs.

Missed the above-zero temps as I wrangled children (and one adult) our of the house. It is a holiday, and the children will play, but we have work yet to do.

The snow melted a little bit -- and then froze. So it was a bit slippery today. I took the reverse route today, so the wind was at my back on Monticello.

Odd temperature, I wore less under my fleece and pants, but still sweat. A lot. As a result I was getting chilly the last half-mile. Just an observation.

1988 Playlist
Hey You!!! * - The Cure
Mary, Mary - Run-D.M.C.
Down In It (demo) - Nine Inch Nails
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Rebel Without A Pause - Public Enemy
(Nothing But) Flowers - Talking Heads
Cult of Personality - Living Colour

Sunday, January 19, 2014

You can run, you can run.

What I Have Been Doing Instead of Running:
  • Staying warm
  • Time with family
  • Work
  • Reading
  • Writing
These last two are key. I made a “New Year’s Resolution” for 2014, which is not something I traditionally do. There’s so much humor to be found (ha ha ha) in not keeping your resolutions, I thought as a young person they were pointless. Resolve to do what you mean to do when you decide it is necessary, arbitrary dates be arbitrary.

However, the new year coincided with a new desire, a deeply felt desire, in conjunction with an already recently established commitment, to wit;
  1. Read just before putting out the light.
  2. Write upon waking.
I have been writing, in long-hand, most mornings since October. The habit of writing, the very necessary habit of writing -- one which I possessed in the past, but lost -- has been hindered by the internet. Before the internet, I just wrote. Before I had a laptop with wifi, I just wrote. Access to the internet, virtually everywhere, has provided endless distraction.

The new rule is that my laptop is not permitted in the bedroom. I write on an honest-to-goodness stenographer’s pad, with a pen, every morning. Even when there is nothing to write, I write. And lo, there is something to write, and I am writing it. I have no idea if it is good, and that is a good thing. I am always so confident when I am writing, and often without cause. It is good to be unsure.

Reading, however, is the other important component. The internet has been a distraction from reading, and I should be a voracious reader. I can be, I was as a child, and in fits and starts as an adult. Reading before bed, it’s simple, and much more effective at lulling me to sleep than drinking.

The other day I completed The Tender Bar, and then I began Bring Up The Bodies. Memoir. Historical fiction. My wife and I had an interesting discussion after seeing Inside Llewyn Davis. She is not a fan of non-fiction, as it instills an artificial sense of order, or fate even, upon an unfair world. We only read about success, rarely if ever failure, and where this failure, there is always a reason.

One of my father’s favorite books is The Last Place on Earth, an excellent document of man’s race to the South Pole. Fate! Hubris! Success and failure, neatly explained. One of my favorites is Into Thin Air. My father and I like books about cold places and death, apparently. I digress.

Inside Llewyn Davis, which we both enjoyed (curse you, Academy) chronicles a story not told. We have seen Walk The Line and Ray and all those movies which describe the inevitably of success. These men were geniuses, in spite of their faults. Of COURSE they would become icons.

But, whatever. I like non-fiction. Perhaps they merely reinforce the Great Man theory of history. I see the thin ice upon which all decisions rest, and how all the preparation in the world cannot protect you from complete disaster.

Temperature: 23°
Pavement: thin layer of slippery snow
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 176.5 lbs.

Seriously. You can't run west on Monticello without face gear when the weather is freezing. Why can I not remember this? I thought my face was going to harden and crack.

1968 Playlist
Magic Bus - The Who
Folsom Prison Blues (Live at Folsom Prison) - Johnny Cash
Sympathy For The Devil - The Rolling Stones
Grazing In The Grass - Hugh Masekela
Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey - The Beatles
Street Fighting Man - The Rolling Stones
Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) - The Isley Brother
Crossroads - Cream
Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan

The boy has been enrolled at School Of Rock. His instructor wants him to get acquainted with four, seminal rock bands with awesome drummers -- The Who, Jim Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. He's also supposed to bring in a song of his choice to practice, and he chose Tempted by Squeeze because this is my son.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Please learn from my mistakes.

Currently in a holding pattern. Words are, indeed, flowing on less endless rain into a paper cup. Writing has been happening, in long-hand, on an honest-to-goodness stenographer's pad. A new play, a very personal one. I ask you, how much of someone else's life can you put into your play? It's like that story arc in Slings & Arrows ...

Oh, you've never seen Slings & Arrows, that's right, only theater people ever watched that show. Only theater people would want to.

Temperature: 37°
Pavement: mostly dry!
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 176 lbs.

When did it become de rigueur for all pop songs to shout out other pop stars? It used to be a novelty, and now it seems like every teeny bop singer has to make reference to the pantheon of superstars, like they were reciting the book of Matthew.

"What's up with this Prince song inside my head?" Gee, I don't know. Perhaps it gnaws at you that his songs are great and yours are so meticulously horrible.

2008 Playlist
That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats
Three-Way - The Magnetic Fields
Mansard Roof - Vampire Weekend
Down To Earth - Peter Gabriel
Breakeven - The Script
Halo - Beyoncé

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Without this beat my life would fall apart.

What is up with my foot? Since Christmas, I have had pain in my right foot, in the vicinity of the medial cuneform and the navicular. My feet arch so high, in such a lovely way, that sometimes tying certain shoes can be painful if they are tied at all tightly. I had one pair of dress shoes which I just left untied because it aggravated my right foot.

I am thinking it is the boots, which I began wearing on a daily basis, starting around then. These are not new boots, but it is a new pain, in a new place. I have been worried that this is part of my interior metatarsal bending, and that perhaps it is causing stress where the toe begins.

This pain is not just to the touch, like a bruise (and there is no sign of bruising) but has an effect the way I walk, certainly how I run, even how I stand. Performing yoga poses, any in which I require standing on my right foot, I feel this pain by putting weight down on my leg.

However, now my ankle also hurts. I'm thinking it's the boots.

Temperature: 46°
Climate: Breezy ... when not horridly windy.
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 175.5 lbs.

Ecch. Glad to get out now that we have emerged from the deep freeze. However, wind whips down Monticello, when it's windy, and it was unrelenting and horrible for my first mile. I was wearing a hanky, nothing to cover my ears, and though turning onto Lee was a great relief, my ears were aching and still do, a bit.

But, man. How good it feels to feel my feet on the pavement, and not a blanket of snow or ice. I feel truly aerobicized.

My brain has also thawed, from torpid, frozen sludge, uninspired and dire to actively frantic. This week has seen two plays running from pen onto paper into First Draft, and the news that I Hate This has been posted on Indie Theater Now. Today I met with a cabal of artists working a salon performance (more on that to come) and my wife and I are having an actual date night, with dinner at Rockefeller's followed by a movie at the Cedar-Lee.


1983 Playlist
She's a Beauty - The Tubes
Think Too Much - Paul Simon
Maniac - Michael Sembello
Sex (I'm A...) - Berlin
Trommeltanz (Din Daa Daa) - George Kranz
A Ray of Sunshine - Wham!
The Invisible Man - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Running in circles, chasing our tales.

NBC: Siberian man runs marathon in minus-36 degrees

Yes, yes. "Polar Vortex". Moving on. The past two days have been disappointing and difficult. Depressing, I have never felt so claustrophobic, working as hard as I could to remain cheery and helpful, feeling the temperature drop and drop while my children laze about, at home from school while I am at home from work ... trying to concentrate on that work I could do from home, without thinking of the cold, and failing.

We have returned to double-digit temperatures. A celebration is in order. Run we must.

Temperature: 21°
Pavement: patchy, snowy, icy & wet
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 177.5 lbs.

There is an overlooked pocket in my year-old fleece with which I can easily access my iPod with having to entirely remove my jacket. Progress!

2003 Playlist
In The Winelight * - Kurt Elling
Angels In America (Main Theme) - Thomas Newman
Mainframe - Kaada
The Scientist - Coldplay
House Party Time - Dan Zanes & Friends
Toxic - Britney Spears
The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie
Expo '86 - Death Cab for Cutie
The Way You Move - OutKast ft. Sleepy Brown

...and we're back. WOW. My head is clearer, my body warmer. I am a new human being. Thank you.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

You're confused on which way to go.

We had Second Christmas at my folks' last night, at which I received the one thing I had specifically asked for for Christmas, a gift card to a sporting goods store. Having received it, I am overwhelmed by the options.

I do not need a new jacket, I got one last year and it wears just fine. My cold weather pants were a gift from my brother, maybe 10 years ago. Seriously. And they are still perfect, zippers intact and everything. I have plenty of long underwear, socks, etc.

I could get myself that Superman running tee, and also some new athletic supporters, and a face guard, and maybe a pack of new socks. I could get a lot of things!

Or I could buy one pair of shoes.

Temperature: 34°
Pavement: wet, slippery streets
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 176 lbs.

Remember: You want to run in the morning when it is suddenly and surprisingly above freezing, be sure to transfer the wash to the dryer the night before.

1973 Playlist
Love Reign O'er Me - The Who
Free Ride - The Edgar Winter Group
Get It Together - The Jackson 5
The Ballroom Blitz - The Sweet
Block Buster - The Sweet
Penetration - The Stooges
Jungle Lion - Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
Skokian - Hot Butter
Living For The City - Stevie Wonder
Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang

Friday, January 03, 2014

Work that booty.

So what happens when the snow comes down hard AFTER you've run four miles, which should have been two or thee miles only, really, and then you have to dig out not once, not twice, but three times in the course of two days?

You dread going outside and get generally all miserable and downy and wish it weren't now and feel pathetic and act unhappy and shit.

This is when you don't want to run, and also when you need to run.

Temperature: 12°
Pavement: lots of deep snow
Distance: 2 miles
Weight: 178.5 lbs.

Wow. That was challenging, just charging up (instead of down) Taylor, in deep snow, lifting those knees, seriously feeling it in my back. More galling still, all those great people on Monticello (I counted about a dozen) who can afford to have their driveways plowed, but don't touch their sidewalks. Fuck. You.

1993 Playlist
Boom! Shake The Room  - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Supermodel (You Better Work) - RuPaul
Sunflower - Paul Weller
Never Said - Liz Phair
Like I Used To - Cyndi Lauper
Shoop - Salt-N-Pepa
That's What I Think - Cyndi Lauper

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Chasing, relentlessly.

Following a very challenging quarter in late 1988, I returned home to Bay Village for an extended holiday break from school. In those days, O.U. shut down from Thanksgiving to New Year's. I had a job helping out at my friend's dad's place, but was otherwise without a girlfriend or really much else to be happy about.

Freshman and sophomore year I was confident about my abilities as an actor -- too confident. Fall quarter was extremely challenging and I was not up to the challenge. I was not mature enough to survive living off-campus, and just didn't know who the hell I was or what I was supposed to be.

On Thanksgiving I had an epiphany, where I realized that I needed to be more pro-active, and not merely re-active. I began running, I ate more carefully, I read more books. For a while there I learned how to successfully calm my troubled head by just stopping, stopping and breathing. I was not happy, but I ceased to be so terribly angry.

That New Year's Eve we were at Erin's. The gang was there, the old gang. The same old gang. The high school gang. It was okay. We drank a toast, said Happy New Year, kisses on the cheek, and then home. The next day, Sunday, January 1, 1989, I didn't even wait for break to end. I had an apartment (albeit a hideous cavern of an apartment) which I could access before those with campus housing could return. I got the hell out of Bay Village and returned to the place which, in spite of everything, was feeling more and more like home.

That night I went to Lucky's (formerly CJ's) and it was like a family reunion, members of the school of theatre were returning -- some had never left. We greeted each other like dear old friends.

And she was there, that one, the one who I had tried so pathetically to get into bed the past spring. Okay, saying "one" gives the impression that I had only tried to get one person into bed the past spring, what I mean is she is one I had failed to get into bed the past spring. And it was because of this fact that I was in love with her.

Her main excuse at that time had been that she was engaged to be married, which was not a deterrent and besides, it wasn't something which made any sense to me. Regardless, it made for an exciting spring, and a very challenging fall when we were cast in a show together with another young woman whom I was supposed to have been dating during that same spring, but perhaps due to my inconstancy, was no longer.

That was difficult to write, which goes further to explain my autumnal unhappiness.

She, this one, was very happy to see me! I was happy to see her, and I was happy she was happy to see me. I was happy to see everyone! Six weeks of self-meditation, and I was prepared to give the world another chance, if it would do the same for me. We sat in a booth, theater majors swirling around us. We had drinks, I told her a bit about my new outlook on life, and she! She told me all about how great last night had been!

It had been a very unhappy holiday season for her, as well. Her fiancé had broken it off on Christmas Eve, and rather than wallow in misery, came back to school several days ago. And what did she find? Apparently Court Street fairly hops on New Year's Eve.

She went from bar to bar and from party to party, at each one finding more friends who had returned early, or perhaps had never left, and each party was better than the last. She reached across the table and lightly touched one of my hands.

"I was really hoping I would find you at one of those parties," she said.

Sweet Jesus. I should have gotten laid on New Year's Eve. I vowed then and there never to spend New Year's in Bay Village ever again.

The next year was quite different. I was dating someone new. I had a different apartment in Athens, and asked her to move in with me. She was from Athens, and we were celebrating New Year's Eve at a house there, a de-facto Athens High reunion, though those apparently happen all the time here.

She introduced me to her "alternative" friend, the one who lived in NYC, with dyed black hair. We talked, she smoked, we were flirting even if we would never admit it. And that is how, by fate or design, my wife and I have spent the past 25 New Year's Eves in each others' company.

Temperature: 21°
Distance: 4 miles
Climate: drifts of puffy snow

Wow. Okay, four miles on New Year's Day through piles of snow. That was a bit exhausting. Passing through Cain Park I was surprised to see only one team of kids sledding, what's up Heights parents? Get out of bed!

Kids spent the night at a friends house, now it is time to head to the annual Bagel Bash and load up on carbs. Then later ... sledding?

2013 Playlist
Pop Danthonolgy - Daniel Kim
Come & Get it - Selena Gomez
Clarity - Zedd ft. Foxes
Chocolate - The 1975
The Fox - Ylvis
Get Lucky - Daft Punk ft. Pharrell
Walk Us Downtown - Elvis Costello & The Roots
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark - Fall Out Boy
Crazy In Love - Bryan Ferry Orchestra ft. Emili Sandé
Came Back Haunted - Nine Inch Nails
 I Love It - Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX

So begins 49 Playlists for 49 Years.