Oct 19

It only starts with Halloween puns

I didn’t order spooky soup or vampire vegetables or poltergeist pasta, but there were ghosts above my lunch today.

I did have a scary sandwich, though.

And we once again had the now age-old conversation about teaching tech versus teaching principles.
“You do not need,” I said, “a $20,000 camera to teach the principles of videography. Some of these I can teach with just this piece of paper.”

Look! Composition!

The point being not that paper replaces a camera — though if you had some good stock I suppose you could create your own camera obscura — but that you can do a lot with with a more basic, straightforward, efficient camera. Especially when you’re trying to teach the basics.

It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new toy, but to teach tools in a perpetually (and rapidly) evolving industry is to shortchange your students. Mostly, I was just pleased with myself. That paper-camera composition joke was on the short list for the day’s Best Point List.

Went for a run this evening. Just a quick, slow little 5K around the neighborhood. It was fun, except for the parts where I still have to do intervals. I’m almost done with those, I think, thankfully. I’m 17 miles into my run recovery. Still wrapping my foot. Still feeling pretty decent, except for the boring walking part. But I’m not up to running full speed — which isn’t fast, mind you — but I can blur a camera phone:

We’re starting to get a bit of secondary color in the neighborhood, though. The pecan trees are shedding their nuts. There was, briefly, a tailwind. Mostly just the mild sort that hits you in the face and chills the sweat off the skin.

Television! Time flies. Why, it seems like just yesterday that she was here, tripping over herself, learning how to do the TV thing. Now she’s a cool, calm, confident and self-possessed TV person at a station up north. She dropped by a segment last night, a total surprise.

And some news:

Are you following me on all the social media? You should follow me on all of the social media. There’s tons more fun stuff smeared all over the Internet, because the world has forgotten that we should host these things on our own platforms. Look me up. There’s genius and keen insights to behold and enjoy.

Oct 19

If only you could blame cardboard for all your problems

We went for a run this morning. We went for a run this morning because the weather broke. We went for a run this morning because it was about 30 degrees cooler than it was when we could have gone for a run yesterday evening.

So I got in a slow and sluggish 5K, because it was a morning run. And while it isn’t that I’m not a morning person, I’m just not a morning runner. Or, perhaps, a morning exerciser in general. That part may have to do with the morning person thing. Anyway, we ran on that path, and when we did a few trips around this little manmade pond. That’s not my house:

We beat the sun (above the treeline)!

At the end of the day I chose to take an elevator. I looked at the little pedometer on my phone, to justify the luxury, and that, and my attendant aches and pains, were how I remembered that I had gone for a run this morning.

In between I fired off the requisite rounds of emails, had lunch with my bride, assisted in the purchase of equipment that needed to be purchased, had a few meetings and other office things like that. We were also in the television studio for sports shows, and we’ll be back in the TV studio for another show tomorrow morning.

Tonight, for dinner:

The chicken is pretty good. The waffles … I’m not sure how you even miss on waffles, but that one was something of a miss. I think they deserve a second try, sometime, though.

At home I caught up on a bit of reading, fought with the cat, who just haaaaas to be in the garage. And it doesn’t matter that I’m trying to do him a solid by bringing in some cardboard boxes he can play in. And Poseidon will play in the boxes. I don’t feel I can leave in there by himself long enough to change from my suit, so there I am in slacks on my hands and knees being thwarted by a cat who has somehow lost all motor function.

Eventually I got the push broom behind him and pulled him out from underneath the car. Cat curling is the nicest thing I wanted to do.

I was tired by 8 p.m. — I blame the shorter days — but I’ve just finished, at 11-something, looking for the other cat. The search went from casual to concerning after the second sweep of the entire house, including closets and garage. Phoebe was hiding in one of those boxes I brought in when I got to the house this evening. We tent it up so they can sit in and under it and she found the dark back corner, the one without a motion sensor light.

Cardboard. I am defeated by cardboard. And cats.

I think we should recycle sooner.

Sep 19

The exercise of the weekend

We did the Outrun Cancer fundraiser Saturday. It was a beautiful, warm, not-a-cloud-in-the-sky, late summer, early autumn day. The sort you can’t take for granted. The kind you do. It’s more apogee than perigee, but definitely neither. It could go on forever, but you know it won’t. You wouldn’t mind if it did, though. You’re not that lucky and so don’t take it for granted, this warm sun, the sting of sunblock in your eyes, the sweat everywhere.

This run on Saturday was the third run on my current rehab tour. I taped up my foot that morning, added another layer and then considered what I’d done previously. On my first run, earlier this week, I did two miles on a 1:1 run-to-walk ratio. On the second run I did three miles, with a bit more running than walking. And easing back into this is important. So naturally I started this 5K with a solid one-mile run. OK, fine, a good jog. After that I walked about a third of the rest. Probably should have had another walk interval, but I was as bored as the rest of this paragraph.

On this particular 5K course around campus you take the last left, go down a little hill and then right back the other side of the next hill. You hang one more left and there’s probably a block or so to the finish line. On that last hill I saw The Yankee working her way up the left side of the road. So I found myself sprinting up the right side of the road and hanging that last, blissful left, to hit the finish line before she did so I could do this:

No matter the distance, finishing with a smile is a big deal in our house.

We walked back to the car in front of this going on in one giant parking lot:

I counted 25 air fans supporting the front of the bounce house, which is billed as the largest in the world. You wonder if there’s serious competition. And if the other guy has surreptitiously come to one of these events and measured the thing, and found it lacking. You wonder if that’s just a trademark, or if there’s something in China or Indiana or Washington state that is just as big or bigger.

You also wonder about why there were security guards in security t-shirts stationed inside the thing. You wonder about how much those people must hate their boss who made them wear the black one today. It was warm.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be especially excited about a bounce house. But the amount of perspiration would only create even more flesh-on-plastic stickiness.

There was a ball pit, and I missed out on it. I had my fill working at Chuck’s in high school, but this ball pit wasn’t like that. The bounce house was so large that for scale the ball pit was filled with beach balls.

They’d be even more demanding to clean after the inevitable accident, I’m sure.

On Sunday we went for a bike ride in the afternoon. It was a nice 20-miler on another Chamber of Commerce day. I got out front early, because I figured if I could hang on through at least two of the pre-planned turnarounds first she’d give me a big smile when we met one another. (She’d do this if she was in front of me, too, but that somehow didn’t occur to me when I was breathing hard.) At one point I probably had about a minute on her and three guys from one of the Little 500 teams picked me up. I stayed on their wheel for a few miles until their route differed from ours, but mostly answered my lingering question: yes, they are faster than me. And younger, too, what’s more.

So through the first turnaround I had the lead, down by the house with the big drive just before the side road rejoined the bigger state road. And then, at the second turnaround, on the quiet little neighborhood road that feels like a private drive, I saw her again. Closer this time. So now I have to pedal harder and faster, because the next section of road favored The Yankee’s strengths, but after that was the one sorta-hill, which favors me a little bit more, somehow. And after that big hill was the third turnaround. And if I got there then that’d mean three smiles!

And that’s how you trick yourself to going a little harder than you think you could. After that it’s hang a left, two rollers, then a right and down to the second of the big hills. Two more quick turns and then you’re back in the neighborhood and through that area I know there’s not going to be an opportunity for her to catch me. Great! I can do the gentlemanly thing and open the door for her.

As I got back to the house I remembered: She had the key.

Sep 19

I promise, we do not discuss the doppler effect of honks

This was my Friday afternoon. I’d pulled into the driveway, walked to the mailbox and heard the honking of the Canada geese. They aren’t on their migration pattern just yet, so I’m assuming one of them got word of some great bugs or grass in a nearby pond or field:

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I've flown into the weekend like those guys.

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Maybe they were going to the lake, or to the pond on the back of Old Man Thompson’s place.

There is a pond on a Thompson property on the general line of the geese’s travel. I looked it up. No idea if he’s an old man or not. You just always assume so. It’s never Young Man Thompson, is it? Probably because of that Nathaniel Hawthorne allegory we read in school. Young Goodman Brown leaves an impression. It’s either that or the fear of the unknown as represented by Mr. Mertle in the Sandlot.

The Thompsons could have owned that land for generations. Maybe it’s a part of the family that’s trying to get back on their feet. Maybe it’s just the place a middle aged Thompson keeps for his art studio. Could be a young family treating it as a starter home. The point is, they now have geese, unless they don’t. Those fowls could have been going anywhere. They are most assuredly gone from there by now. That flight was on Friday, after all.

I received the most on brand fortune cookie script of all recently:

If that fortune cookie algorithm only knew. I suspect it does know. That algorithm is tied into various other outfits. The smart devices in your home are listening to your takeout phone calls, or private conversations and decisions to just pick something up rather than to cook the same old same old. Again. So now my thermostat is sending info packets up the ISP after it sneaks a peak at the phone number I called. That data dump winds up at the takeout joint.

Now, sure, that’s just letting them know that we’re coming. (Aside from, ya know, the actual phone call I just made.) But what about the specifics? Your search results and your television viewing habits and how often you text your friends are all elements being scrapped in a huge data mining effort. That information gets shipped upstream and then, of course, there’s the cookie itself. Why, you’ve forgotten, again, the edible RFID concern. And how often are you going to forget those guys? That firm has placed a little device in the flour and vanilla mix and all of that data is cross-referenced against the pre-written fortune.

And there’s a person working there who shuffles the box of fortune cookies, they call her The Shuffler, and she makes sure the right cookie end up in the right spot, considering the 20, no, 25 minute wait and all the customers that may come and go before we get there.

It’s a modern miracle, really. And if you ever get the wrong one, you blame The Shuffler. Or you just choose the wrong cookie among your dining companions.

I went for a run. This is ordinary, except it has not been ordinary.

I haven’t gone for a run since April, when I ran an official 2.34 miles on April 3rd. Aside from limping through 10 miles one day later that month in Texas, this was the first real effort on foot since then. I’ve been nursing a foot and heel issue back to health, and that’s happily improving somewhat. So I taped it up well, and I tried out a brief run-walk interval. I did three minutes on and three minutes off and registered a little two-mile run this morning.

The many miles of bike rides in between don’t exactly translate to total running fitness and does not mitigate the immediate question of “Why do my calves ache?

The good news is that my foot felt fine. I’m sure it was the tape job and my present stride might favor the part that has been bothering me. The bad news was that everything else that complained about the effort.

Everything else will get used to it. I need to get down to Old Man Thompson’s place and check on those geese.

Sep 19

A fast race

It’s difficult to put a full day of racing, and the many weeks of training beforehand, into less than 60 seconds that you shot on a phone. So I won’t try. But this, nevertheless, was Saturday, a half Iron. That’s a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile ride and a 13.1-mile run to you and me:

The Yankee won her age group, cause she’s awesome:

Her goggles broke in the water, so she swam with one eye, and was the fifth woman out of the water. Her knee was aggravating her on the run so she wisely took it easy. What we’re saying here is that she can go faster if she needs to.