A triathlon is a combination of swimming, biking and running. There are various distances one can do: there’s the Sprint which consists of a 4-500 meter swim, a 13-16 mile bike ride and a 5k-or 3.1 mile run. Double those numers for an Olympic Tri, and keep doubling the numbers for a Half-Ironman and Full-Ironman.
Today I will be doing a Sprint and my goal is A. To finish and B. Not to finish last.
Wish me luck.
Ladies, today is a day in history that most of you probably hate and don’t even know it. That’s because today, in 1920, seven men came together and discussed establishing a professional football league at the Jordan and Hupmobile Auto Showroom in Canton, Ohio. One of these seven men was the legendary Jim Thrope.
I wasn’t aware that the first four professional football teams were in Ohio, but apparently there are a lot of things about Ohio that I didn’t know. Did you know that Ohio is actually the, “Birth place of aviation,” not North Carolina? And did you know that Ohio is also the birthplace of the domestic tomato? And you probably thought Ohio was just another boring state that you never even thought of unless you’re from there, like Iowa or Wyoming. But now, every time you bite into a pizza and taste that yummy tomato sauce, you’ll be forced to remember Ohio. You should also probably fall to your knees and thank the great State for domesticating the elusive, willy-and-wild red tomato.
What’s weird is when I was looking up useless facts about Ohio, I found out that a crazy amount of famous people are from the Buckeye State. Here’s a brief list: Neil Armstrong, Halle Berry, Drew Carey, Dean Martin, William McKinley, Paul Newman, Thomas Edison, Clark Gable, James A. Garfield, Steven Spielberg, John Glenn, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, Arsenio Hall, Warren Harding, Ted Turner and Pete Rose*. The reason there’s an * next to Pete Rose’s name is because that’s how it will look like if they ever let him into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is not in Ohio.
So I jumped from football to famous people, so what? If you want to see what I think the best part about Ohio is, even though I’ve never been there, click here. If you want to see where my wife went in Ohio, and totally left me and home while she had a blast, click here. And I will say in her defense, it was “work” trip and couldn’t be helped.
Today is Friday the 13th. It is the only Friday the 13th of this year, but it can happen as many as three times per year. It all depends if the first of the month falls on Sunday.
There are many superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th. One of these superstitions is that if there are 13 people sitting at a dinner table, all of them will die within a year. Another one is that having 13 letters in your name is unlucky. The most famous serial killers have thirteen letters in their name: Charles Manson, Theodore Bundy and Jack the Ripper. One could argue that these names have been manipulated somewhat—Bundy was called Ted, not Theodore and Jack the Ripper obviously isn’t the killer’s real name. But people’s beliefs aren’t always logical. This is why superstitions are around in the first place.
Friday’s, for many cultures, is an unlucky day. Thirteen is seen as unlucky in many cultures because the number 12 is considered complete. There were 12 apostles, there were 12 Tribes of Israel and there were 12 gods of Olympus. Therefore 13 is upsetting that traditional good-luck number by one, making it unlucky.
Believe it or not, most superstitions are rarely referenced in history before the 1800’s. But Friday the 13th can be traced all the way back to October 1066 when King Harold II made the decision to lead his troops into battle the next day instead of letting them rest after a long march from a battle three weeks prior. The day he made that decision seems to be the earliest reference to Friday the 13th being unlucky.
But the best thing about Friday the 13th is the movie. It has scared the bejeezus out of tens-of-millions of kids. The hockey mask, the chainsaw, the screaming girls who run back into the house when you know they should run into the scary woods, or the girls who runs into the scary woods when you know that that’s not going to work either, you got to love it. Here’s a clip.
Are you friends with your “work-friends” on Facebook? My guess is that you probably are, or at least have been in the past. If you are in the second group, then you’ve probably had some problems and decided to delete your work-friends. If you’re not in that group and you still have all your work-friends as FB friends, then you might want to start thinking about separating your private life and work life before trouble begins.
Let me start off by saying, I like keeping in touch with my friends. I’m the kind of guy who picks up the phone and calls someone if I haven’t heard from them in a month or two to see what’s going on with them. But now technology is making that unnecessary—or is it?
I’ve been on Facebook for about three years now, collecting a little over 250 friends that I actually know and talk to. I refuse to accept random people who try to friend me just to have more friends. My rule is, I really have to know you for me to accept you as my Facebook friend.
It’s been interesting to watch the Facebook explosion. The service has been around for five years this year. I was invited to join in 2005 but didn’t because I had finally joined MySpace and was just getting used to that. My friends from college kept inviting me to join Facebook and telling me why they thought it was better. Most of those friends had graduated six years earlier from college and they all lived overseas, I decided to join so I could keep in touch with them. I, like everyone else who joins Facebook, began having people pop back into my life that I haven’t seen or thought of in years.
I grew up in Hawaii and am now living in St. Louis. Most of my high school friends still live in Hawaii, so I was pleasantly surprised when Facebook turned into a high school reunion. It was nice to see that my friend was still teaching and it was surprising to learn that my other friend now owns the largest real estate company on the island. I was also shocked to learn that one of the biggest jocks in the school was now a nurse. All these kind of discoveries were the things I loved about Facebook.
Then weird things started happening. A couple years after being on Facebook my mom joined and friended me. It took my three days to accept her. I really wanted to say what I thought and not have it scrutinized by my mom. But I accepted her friend request and sent her a lengthy email on FB etiquette and a warning not to be writing motherly-advice on my wall. Then my grandma joined.
One by one my family found Facebook—my Grandma, my ultra-conservative aunt, cousins who I only talk to at family reunions, and finally co-workers. And it’s the last group that makes life a little more complicated.
At first I accepted co-workers, who I thought of as real friends, as “friends” on Facebook. Then people who I never hung out with outside of work began asking me to be FB friends, which I accepted them too. Then supervisors started asking. I begrudgingly accepted them as well, but I knew I need to watch what I said about work.
I have a built in censor since my mom and Grandma are friends with me, but that doesn’t mean other people do. People say things on Facebook that if their employers read it, they would get fired, and this is what almost happened to my friend. She had made an off-handed comment, someone didn’t like it and reported her. She had to stand in front of the Director and Assistant Director and explain herself. She didn’t get fired, but she did erase her account the same day.
It took me about two days to follow suit. I put out a status update that said, “Don’t think I should be mixing business and pleasure,” and the next day wacked 35 co-workers from my list.
I did make sure to go around and tell almost everyone why I deleted them from my list and I also made sure my real friends had my phone number. No longer would my quips and quibbles be a spectacle for the workplace. I’m not saying you have to do what I did, but if you do decide to keep your work-friends as your friends on Facebook, remember you could be the one standing on the red carpet in front of your boss and explaining what you meant by, “My boss sucks cow balls.”
A new holy-war is ragging in New York City. The issue pertains to a proposed mosque and community center that is being built two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood. A conservative advocacy group, lead by Pat Robertson, filed suit Wednesday to challenge a city panel’s decision to let developers tear down an old building and allow the new mosque to be erected in an area that was literally covered in dust from the September 11th attacks.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed in the early 1940’s, no one could have imagined a Shinto temple being erected two blocks away from where the USS Arizona rested in the bottom of Pearl Harbor. But then again, no one could have imagined that 60 years later the Japanese would be one of our closest allies. They also couldn’t have imagined that Japan would be the worlds largest seller of cars and electronics in the 1940’s either, and mainly selling them to us. This isn’t a bad thing. Americans want what Japanese companies sell and Japanese companies employ thousands of American workers and even produce a lot of their products here in the States.
The main difference between Pearl Harbor and the New York scenarios is that one attack was from a group of people with their country’s support during wartime. The other attack was from a group of people who were radicals in a certain faith, who were not directly supported from their government.
One of the great things about this country is that we have freedom of speech. So you more than welcome to disagree with me and move on. But we get to say what we want without fear of prosecution, for the most part. You’re not allowed to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater unless there really is one and you can’t say you’re going to kill the President and really mean it and expect not to go to jail.
Another great thing about this country is that we have freedom of commerce. Do you know how many businesses are located within a two block radius of where the World Trade Center once stood? More than are in most small-to-medium sized towns all across the U.S. and Manhattan is such as busy place that once the hoopla dies down, people could easily walk right by the mosque and not even realize it’s there. How often have you driven by your local mosque and not seen it? If you said, “I’ve never seen a mosque in my town,” let me assure you that if you live in a city with over 10,000 people in it, you have a mosque in your town, you just don’t know it.
Freedom of religion, for many, is the greatest thing about living in America. But for an atheist, watching a Right-wing Christian group and a Jewish organization come together to stop a Muslim group’s right to build, is like watching three children fight over who gets to play with their imaginary friend.
We as American’s you don’t get to pick when and where religious groups chose to practice their faith and that’s probably a good thing for tens millions of believers, because if it were up to me, none of these groups would be around to fight over where to build because none of these groups would even exist.
Ever been in a club and hear the war-cry Reeeeeeemix?!!!!!
Most of us know what a remix is. For those of you who don’t, I’m going to assume that you’re over 70 and I’ll explain it for you. A remix is where someone takes an original version of something, usually a song, but it can also be a commercial, art, or even a poem, and then rearranges it to make a new version of the original product.
Remixing has been around for a long time. William Burroughs, the famous beat writer and author of Junky and Naked Lunch, at first credited Brion Gysin with the first example of remixing a poem Minutes to Go and then he thought about it some more and credited T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland as the first “cut-up.” Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were also both remixers.
Most people who are in their 30’s and early 40’s can remember when rap first came out. The song Rocket by Herbie Hancock brought scratching from the clubs of New York into America’s mainstream and helped start the remix craze. A whole new billion-dollar industry was started from that one song.
From rap, DJ’s began venturing into other genres. They remixed “old-but-goodies,” they remixed tunes from orchestras, they remixed nursery rhymes, and that started other genres which morphed into techno, house, and drum-and-bass. This progression is how culture evolves. Ideas are taken from previous works, given a spin, then spun some more and as the years go by, new styles and genres emerge.
There is a modern-day war on culture. It’s an intellectual war. People are fighting corporations over who owns the rights and the use of these ideas that make up our culture. A kid who wants to take a song and remix it, by law, has to ask for permission and will have to pay a corporation to use the original song. Almost always that kid is not going to ask for permission. Most times he will just “take” the song, remix it, and put it on Youtube or send it to his friends. It’s usually when the remix gets big, or goes viral when the corporations who own the rights to the song cares and will come after that person, although that’s not always the case.
The movie RIP! A Remix Manifesto talks about these issues and others. The movie presents a scary look into the future where corporations not only own our right to free speech and our ability to use our present culture in our work, but they have also begun patenting life. If this is allowed to continue corporations will eventually own all of our food supplies as well as possibly being able to control how and when we chose to have a child. (For the record the movie doesn’t talk about the child part, but if you think about how they are patenting life, and you think one step further, it’s not farfetched.)
Corporations are very powerful. They have lobbyist, they have teams of attorneys. But worse than that, they have a major impact on how you think and what you buy. If you don’t think so let me ask you, do you watch the news? It’s owned by a corporation and they tell us what is going on in the world, whether we know it’s the truth or not is another matter. Ever look at ads? Corporations tell us what to buy and why we should want it and why we should feel good about buying it. They’ve got a hold of our minds and now they’ve got a hold of our culture too.
Corporations are literally considered a legal person. By law they have as much rights as humans, if not more, but yet they don’t have to follow the same rules as us. Because of this corporations are becoming the new super-race and whether we want to admit it or not, and we are becoming their slaves. And before I get off on a tangent and start ranting like an old guy on how we’re losing our freedom and how we need a revolution against corporations, let me have a person who’s much smarter and more organized than me explain how were are losing those freedoms, especially in the realms of art and music.
Here’s the link to the site.
Here’s a link to the entire film
I was looking around at different Meetup groups and I found this group called Gateway INFP. (Meetup.com, for those of you who’ve been living in your own social vacuum, is a place where like minded people can get together to meet-up off-line.) I had no idea what INFP meant so I Googled the term. The term is an acronym for people who are Introverted, iNtuitive (spelled that way on purpose), Feeling and Perceiving.
Only 1% of the population falls under the category of INFP. I read further and started to think that I was one of these INFP people. Some of the INFP characteristics are: finding out the purpose of their life, they are focused on making the world a better place, they are on a continuous mission to find the truth, they are thoughtful and considerate and they put people at ease. The list goes on and on, click here if you want to see more.
After reading all this I decided to take a free online personality test. It was only 41 questions and I chose this particular test because it was short and free. The results were almost as I predicted. I’m an INF-almost-P personality. The indicator is one click left of the middle between Judging and Perceiving. INFJ’s are also in the 1% tile of people who have these personality traits, but when I looked it up, the INFJ didn’t seem to resonate as strong with me as the INFP. Either way I’m either an Idealist or a Protector. And since personality test are purely subjective to what you think of yourself as, I’m not ashamed to say that I think I’m a little of both.
Want to try it yourself? Here’s the link.
Here are my results:
My personality type: “Harmony-seeking Idealist”
Quietly forceful, original and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perserverence in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.
Careers that could fit you include:(Or jobs I should have done.)
Counselors, clergy, missionaries, teachers, medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, psychiatrists, writers, musicians, artists, psychics, photographers, child care workers, education consultants, librarians, marketeers, scientists, social workers.
Yesterday I ran my first timed Half-Marathon called the Joker’s Wild Half-Marathon. I finished 476 out of 512 people with a time of 2 hours, 51 minutes and 44 seconds. I wasn’t sure exactly what my time was when I finished because in all the excitement, I forgot to start my stopwatch right at the beginning of the race. I guesstimated I had been running for ten minutes when I started it, which actually turned out to be only six minutes instead of ten.
If you’re going to run a race, remember these two things: Stay hydrated and pee either before you get there or after the start line. I knew both these things but as timing goes, I had to pee right when they were getting ready to start. I saw that were 100 people in line and only five or six porta-potties so I decided to run to the first port-potty on the course. I got lucky, someone was coming out right when I got there. Sure it’s an extra 20 seconds, but if you’re slow already who cares about an extra 20 seconds if you can skip a five minute line? (And in case you didn’t know, in most timed races you can wait the five extra minutes in the bathroom line and not be penalized. Your time doesn’t start until you cross the start line. I just didn’t want to start in the very back and be there the entire time.)
At the eight mile marker, a storm whipped-up like a batch of witches brew, the wind blew through with gusts up to 60 mph and then the rain and lighting came. By the time I finally got to the finish line they had already taken down the big clock, so I had to check my official time online–2:51:44.
I’ve been doing my marathon training with the St. Louis Track Club and usually within the first five minutes of starting, I can no longer see any of the other club members. So it was nice that this time I was able to run along with other people. It’s totally different mentally when you run with a group of people on and off for several miles.
Until I ran this race I had no idea all the things your mind does to pull you through when you’re running. My officemate Ken told me that when he was in running cross-country, that one of the tricks they used was getting locked in and watching other people’s feet and, “That will pull you along.” I decided to use this method, except I modified the technique a bit when a woman in spandex ran by. I can’t tell you how many sweaty, giggly, butts I watched yesterday, but I would imagine it was dozens.
There was a group of four girls running a relay-race in tutus. I stayed by one of them throughout the entire race. At the end, three of them were waiting for their friend to finish and I heard one of them yell, “Hey there’s the guy,” which I assumed they were talking about me. When I got to the finish line my wife Tejal was waiting there, camera in hand. That was the nicest part of the whole race. As I was running I kept wondering where we’d meet after the race with so many people there. It was a huge relief to see her there waving and cheering me on.
I felt a bit overwhelmed when I crossed the finish line. My legs were so shaky that I could barely hold still for the volunteer to cut off the timing chip from my shoe.
There are things you would never know about until you actually do them. For instance, a non-runner would think you’d just have to put on your shorts and a pair of socks and shoes and go run. But when you’re running for distance, you do need socks and shoes, but they should be wicking socks and a good pair of running shoes that have preferably been custom fitted to your feet. Ever hear of body glide? It’s like a fancy deodorant that goes on your feet, in between your legs and even on your nipples. Don’t forget the hydration belt or hand held water bottle, then there’s the carbohydrate gels, sunscreen, iPod, sunglasses, a cooler with an electrolyte sports drink in it for after the run, a wicking shirt to run in and an extra shirt in your car to change into when you’re done. You’d never think of all these things until you’ve run some distance. But the best thing that was waiting for me at the end that I didn’t know about, besides my wife waiting to rescue me and drive me home, was the pancake and sausage breakfast that apparently is a tradition amongst racers.
This half-marathon was my Father’s Day present and I finally got to cash in. I even got two free breakfasts out of the deal: one at the race and then Tejal took me out for another one after my shower and she even let me off the hook for my normal Saturday morning chores. Guess I’ll have to sign up for more races, and soon, I have a deck to stain.
In the modern day work place where posting drunk pictures of yourself on Facebook can get you fired, why would someone as smart as a General running a war think that he could get away with allowing a reporter to follow him around for even a day, much less a month?
Imagine if you had a reporter following you around for almost a month with a notepad and a tape recorder in their hand? If this reporter went with to your job, what would he see? What about if he hung out with you and your friends at your favorite watering hole after work? Ever do anything embarrassing at a bar? Me neither.
On June 23rd General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, was fired by President Obama because of an interview that was going to be published in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone magazine. This was the first time in 50 years that a top general had been relived of his post since Gen. Douglas MacArthur had been fired by Harry Truman during the Korean War. The story broke nationally two weeks before I even received my subscription copy of the magazine in the mail. This could be one argument for why print magazines are obsolete, but I’ll save that for a different time.
In the interview, Gen. McChrystal told Rolling Stone’s Michael Hastings that, “I was selling an unsellable position,” when discussing the fact that the General had asked Obama for 40,000 more troops, which was then leaked to the press. Obama supposedly felt cornered because of the leak and said he wanted to wait three months and have the plan evaluated. McChrystal got his first ass-chewing from the new President after the press leak. So they had some history by the time this interview incident rolled around.
In the article, one of McChrystal’s aides said that when the General first inherited the war in Afghanistan, Obama met with McChyrstal for, “…a 10-minute photo op. Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”
If you were McChrstal, would you want your friends talking to someone who was going to go back and tell your boss everything he heard? If it would have been me I would have instructed all of my aides that, “This is a reporter. His job is to report things. Assume everything you say is going to go in his report. If you don’t want your name attached to it, don’t say anything to him.”
If you read the whole Rolling Stone article you would know that McChrystal did not say any one thing that could have gotten him fired. When speaking of Karl Eikendberry, a former general and now the ambassador who’s involved with the war in Afghanistan, McChrystal started off by saying, “I like Karl, I’ve known him for years,” but then he goes on to say that he felt betrayed by him. In today’s 24 hour news cycle, the sound-bytes that get played on the air aren’t the nice words about the former General but the parts that come after that which basically sound like, He doesn’t know what he’s doing. And by the way, I’m in charge.
McChrystal and his aides also did a lot of trash-talking about several other key leaders from Joe Biden, to the President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, but not one of the things they said should have gotten the General fired. I think it was the way that McChrystal was portrayed as an alcohol swilling, trouble-making, bad ass who runs around with his troops kicking open doors and who said, out loud, that we don’t have a clear objective to winning this war, that we are going to be here for the long haul, like for the next 20 years, and that no one is paying attention to this war anyway, so I’ll run it how I want to. That’s what got him fired.
So the next question becomes who do you want running a war? Do you want someone who can look good in front of a camera and knows how to hold his tongue? Or do you want someone who is trying to lower civilian casualties, because in McChrystal’s words, “For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” Do you want an ass-kicking cowboy who tries to inspire his troops by getting out and literally kicks in doors with his troops and personally answers their emails? Or do you want a General who leads from the back, who could probably relay his commands over the phone from some room in Washington?
In my opinion it was absolutely moronic for General McChrystal to have allowed a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine into his inner-circle and to have given him full access to himself. Hasn’t he heard that these days’ people get fired for updating their Facebook status with, “At the ball game drinking a beer,” when they called-in sick.
I would think that that having a reporter from Rolling Stone, one of the most liberal magazines in the United States, around you for a month when you’re the General running the war, should have been looked at like a moderately hungry man eating his pet dog when there was a McDonald’s right next door. Could you do it? Yes. Do you think that’s a good idea? Probably not. That is unless he’s smarter than we’re giving him credit for.
What if the General wanted to bring attention to the war in Afghanistan? Because of this article, Afghanistan is now talked about more in the media than it has in a long time, even if it was at the General’s expense. Was it his intention to get fired? Of course not. There’s no way anyone could have predicted how much coverage this story was going to get. But as far a bringing attention to the war, the conversation did explode like a mortar shell in the American dialog. And for the people who read the article, its message is loud and clear, there is no set strategy for ending this war and we plan on being here for a very long time. You want our attention General McCrystal? Message received, sir.
This is the start of the 11th week of my marathon training. I was talking to a friend who has ran at least 10 marathons, 5 of them were within 7 days of each other—which in my opinion is not healthy, but I digress. So I was explaining to my friend that I had just run 13 miles that day and I have lost 20 pounds doing nothing but exercising and eating pretty much the same way I’ve always eaten. “In fact,” I said, “right after my run I went to QuikTrip and bought two donuts.”
“You’re silly,” he said.
I kept on talking like I usually do when I’m explaining something to someone who could really care less, and then halfway through my monologue, my tongue skidded like a cat on a wet linoleum floor. “Wait a minute, what do you mean I’m silly?”
“I mean you’re silly to be training so much and not eating right,” he said. “Does that even make sense? I mean you’re already doing the exercise, and not just any exercise, but running 13 miles? That’s insane considering less than three months ago you were just lying around doing nothing. And then you go and blow it all by buying donuts afterwards? That’s not even silly, that’s dumb.”
“Well that’s what I was craving,” I said, “and I felt like deserved it.”
“I’m not saying you didn’t deserve it. I’m just saying if you didn’t have 40 extra pounds riding along with you, maybe you wouldn’t have to work so hard when you’re running,” he said.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I’m already doing the hard part—exercising 5-6 times a week. Then my officemate said, “Your friend’s right. It’s like you’re handicapping yourself. Imagine putting a 40 pound pack on and running around with it. That’s what you’re doing by not eating right and carrying that 40 extra pounds.”
So I’ve decided that I will start eating right. I’ve heard that in order for an idea to manifest you need to make a goal, and in order for a goal not to just stay a dream, you need to write it down and to tell people about it; so that’s what I’m doing right now.
So here it goes: By 10/11/10 I want to have lost 38lbs that would put me at 195lbs. I haven’t been less than 200lbs in at least five or six years. I’ve already lost 20lbs in 11 weeks eating whatever I want, so I want to see what happens when I follow a strict diet and stick to my training program.
I’ve used the book Body for Life in the past and have lost weight twice following the program outlined in the book. The reason I gained the weight back was because I stopped eating right and exercising. This time I want to live the lifestyle not just follow the diet. I know there’s no magic pill, unless you count meth but I already have enough dental problems, so I guess I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way with diet and exercise. I’ll post a few pictures along the way to keep me honest. Sorry, there’s no witty ending today but it’s summertime, stop reading this crap and get out and do something.