Thursday, July 27, 2006


5 m. 44:11.

On Tuesday, I ran further than ever before: 5 miles. I don't have any desire at the moment to run any further than that, though faster is a goal. I can't imagine running a marathon. Just 5 miles put a soreness in my bones from the pounding. I've heard that marathons are terrible for the body, and I have felt why.

I will be even more remiss than usual in posting for the next couple of weeks. I have two separate vacations lined up, and then I begin law school. Tomorrow is my last day of work. It would be nice to meditate on the end of this period of my working life, but I don't know that I'll get to it tomorrow...

Bring on the White Mountains.
Bring on Puerto Rico!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Whaddya Know?

Am I the only who hasn't seen An Inconvenient Truth because I'm afraid I can't handle the horror of the ice caps disappearing and out of control weather? I guess that makes me an ostrich. Whether I pay attention or not, the future will arrive. Of course, by ignoring it, thinking it's other people's problem, thinking I'm doing as much as I can and laying the problem at Bush II's feet, I absolve myself. I don't think this is entirely irrational, but it is irrational not to watch a nonfiction film because I'm afraid the truth will be too much to bear.

Similarly, as the mideast plunges deeper and deeper into war and chaos, I mostly scan the headlines. "Israel Hints at Full-Scale Attack" and the like are enough for me. I glean that the situation is devolving by the second and leave it at that. Would knowing more about the situation help? Or would it just help me perform better in debates about whether such and such action is justified? Will I feel better or worse being fully informed? Is it always desirable to be fully informed?

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I just got off the treadmill not ten minutes ago. My face will be red for the next half hour or so. Because I did a one-day guest membership at the gym in the bulding, I had more time than usual for the treadmill.

4 miles. 34:18. Or, approx 8.6 mph. Not too bad.

I want to be able to do 5 miles at a clip when I work out so I can participate in more races. I could have done 5 today, but it would have really wiped me out... By January, I want to be doing 5 miles in 40 minutes. That's pretty reasonable, and I think would even put me in position to do longer races from time to time. If only my tweaked quad would fully heal...but it never will. I can feel it when I run and when I don't. As long as it doesn't stop me from working out, I'll live with it, even if it increases my recovery time a bit.

Weight-lifting-wise, I am looking forward to having access to the SJU fitness center. I've been hitting the weight room only 1-2 times a week for the past year, which has mostly maintained the modest gains I made before that, but I ain't getting any stronger. I'm looking to build the weight room and running into my class sked, so that it's like clockwork. If I set it down here, I hope I'll have that extra little bit of incentive.

Bench: 180x5
Incline: 140x5
Bicep Curl: 35x12
Tricep Pulldown: 60x10
Pullups: 10
Dips: 10x3

As of now, I max out around 150 on the bench, and need to stick to 30 and lower on the curls to keep the proper form. I can't do more than a few pullups and have always wanted to be able to rip a bunch off. And dips are just crazy good excercise.

These are the big ego excercises. I need to start recording my progress again. Withou logging this stuff, I feel like I get stuck in a rut and can't tell how much (if any) progress I'm making).

All right. Enough meat head stuff.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dictator in Chief

Across the country, people are suffering under the thumb of a cruel overlord. In the city, as they walk past the open doors of storefronts, lobbies, and loading docks, they are taunted with too-brief tastes of air-conditioned freedom. Even the breeze is unwelcome; abrading with flame, even in the shade.

Here in the city, we're forced into some contact with the heat. Most of us have to walk to/back from the subway, to work, to play, and we have to endure the airless ovens sometimes called subway platforms. In comparison, there are a fair amount of burban folks who only encounter the elements in the parking lot: at work, at the store, at home. Going from inddor garage to indoor garage, one could cut out contact with the outside air almost entirely. Maybe we're just preparing ourselves for a not-too-distant time when upper nineties are the norm. But city or suburb or country people who work in air conditioned offices and return to air conditioned homes have nothing on those who work outdoors. Construction workers, road crews, hot dog vendors, panhandlers, etc. They can't escape the heat. Imagine being a firefighter, having to wear all that gear in this heat, and then rushing into a burning building. Then there are the many without any AC at home. They can't afford it, or their building's wiring can't handle it. For them, it's a time of going to the movies and dropping by the Met, I guess.

I sometimes think: "How did people manage before the advent of air conditioning?" For one, many more people died during heat waves. I think a secondary explanation is that you can't long for what doesn't exist. And, if you never have AC, you may better acclimate to the heat over the course of the summer, instead of exposing yourself to large temperature swings.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I had a full weekend. Full enough even to update this neglected little journal of mine.

It started out well enough with a game of softball in which I inched closer to being able to pull the ball with power. As a Little Leaguer, I never really learned how to hit properly, and only swatted at the ball, unable to hit to left field. It took me some time of picking up a bat again as an adult to understand that I must pull the bat through the zone turn my hips to generate power, and turn my rists over as I swing through the ball. Unfortunately, though I know how to do it, and the ball is as big as a grapefruit, I usually ground out to the third baseman. One of these days, I'll hit it out to left. (I can hit it out to right no problem.)

I then toured prospect Park by bike with my Little Brother. We even hooked up with a couple kids he knew from school and rode the interior paths a bit with them, looking at a moss-covered pond. Not only that, but I taught them all how to skip rocks on the water. They were all impressed by my facility: I made a rock skip four times! These kids as well as a couple of girls we ran into posed the question to my little that I was grateful he had to answer: "Is he your dad?" Now my little is black and I am not, so I am clearly not his biological father, but I guess father is the likeliest supposition to a child who sees an adult playing with a kid. In the case of the girls, they pressed him long enough that he was forced to admit that his father was in prison. "He's filling in for my dad," was my Little's formulation. I was both a little proud and a little discomfited by this statement because I am so conscious of not interfering with the father/son bond, even if they are separated by prison. With the two boys we rode around with I stepped in to say "I'm just a friend." Once again, when I had to bring the day's activities to a close, my Little became petulant, saying "It's not fair." I try not to become irritated with him for acting out a bit (he usually sees whether he can push me to stay longer by lagging behind or some such), remembering how valid "it's not fair" seemed to me when I was young, and how frustrated it made me when I received the reply: "life isn't fair." True but cruel, I guess. He said to me before I left him at his door: "I hate my life, it's so boring." He feels restricted at home and when we go out and have fun together I think the contrast between the undifferentiated days that make up most of his life and what he knows is possible becomes difficult to bear.

That's a lot of space and only half a day. Plus, we saw Nacho Libre, which was almost too much fun to bear.

I feel unequal to the task of discussing in-depth the loss of my front wheel for my bike (which I left next to my car), the endless driving I did that evening to try to recover more than one lost item, or the hike I took with my father the next day.

So I will end simply by saying that I cannot imagine the pain of having a father who will be in jail most of my life, though I can imagine a lot of pain.