Friday, December 13, 2013

Bah Humbug

I keep getting stronger and doing my exercises...but it seems on injury leads to another.  Patellar tendonitis has been healed and given way to upper hamstring tendonopathy.  It seems the physical therapy has that nearly licked.  I ask about running again and here's what I get.....

Week 1
Walk 5min / jog 1min, build to 5 sets on alternating days(ex. 2x5min/1min, off, 3x5min/1min, off, etc.)
Week 2
If no pain, walk 5min / jog 5min, build to 5 sets on alternating days
Week 3
If no pain, advance to 20min jog, no more than 5 days per week
Week 4
If no pain, advance to 20min run at normal training pace, no more than 5 days per week
Weeks 5-8
If no pain, gradually increase running speed, volume, and acceleration as tolerated

BAH!!!!!  this is one tough comeback!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Girl in the Closet

I came across this story this morning. (The Girl in the Closet)  I couldn't stop reading it.  Such a sad, sickening, horrible case.  Although the treatment was a million ways worse than my personal experiences, I found this line to be quite similar.

"Psychologically speaking, what happened to Lauren is called “scapegoating.” Parents single out one child to blame for all the family’s troubles and enlist others in the taunting and physical abuse."

Friday, October 25, 2013


Really good progress on the running front.  I worked too darn much in Ohio so I didn't get to run for almost a week.  But I continued my rehab exercises and stretches.  I ran my 4 mile route yesterday again with no pain.  I went a weeee bit too fast and ran it in 26:12.  Certainly too fast.  I'll discipline myself to get back onto the Hadd plan and running at 128-132 HR.

The good news is that today I passed all my flexibility and strength tests to begin running everyday.  I'll run 2 days on and 1 day off for now.  Then hopefully in 2 weeks I can be running 6 days a week.  Still keeping my runs to 30 minutes.  Then once I can handle running everyday I can slowly build up my miles.

Tom had told me once long ago that once I found the right stretch or just the right exercise my problem would go away pretty quickly.  What the doctor explained to me is that my tendon had been so injured that it was near tearing.  So in defense it torqued down my quad and hip flexors.  So no stretching would help release it until my tendon healed.  The Platelet Replacement Therapy and Prolotherapy did that.  So now it's on to fixing the problem that created my imbalance in the first place.

The doctor thinks that 6 years of riding 350+ mile weeks on the bike, plus sitting at work, gave me a pretty clear case of "Anterior Pelvic Tilt"  He said usually people get it from sitting too much.  But mine was worse because I actually used those muscles in their shortened state while cycling. So it made them short and very, very strong.  So it was going to take some serious work to strengthen my glutes/upper hamstrings and release those hip flexors. 

Well....I've been doing the serious work.  Tom was right.  Once I healed the tendons I was able to find that exact stretch that does it for me.  In 2 weeks after doing that every 2 hours for 12 minutes (that's a TON of stretching).  I'm seeing great improvement.

Here's my miracle stretch.  Before I stretching a little different way and it was hurting another tendon.  Once I inserted this one into my routine instead everything improved dramatically.

A song for you all.

27 Main progress

The last 2 weeks have been good to me.  I wasn't able to run last week because I was too busy.  I went home for the weekend and got a lot done on my building.  I installed a new toilet in Shirley's apartment.  Installed a new vanity, sink, and medicine cabinet in Fermin's.  I climbed on the fire escape and cleaned all the gutters.  Then I did a lot of cleaning of the 3rd floor.  Here's some pictures .....

Still a lot of cleaning to go.  Everything is a trip down 2 flights of stairs, then dumping it in my truck, then driving 1/2 way around the block to dump in my dumpster, or put in my basement. 

This week I made a deal with Carlos.  He was $517 behind on his rent, water, etc.  So I gave him work to do on our building.  What he "earns", instead of paying him, we'll remove from what he owes.  So far he as cleaned the stairs, painted the stairway and hallway walls and ceilings, painted the walls in the 3rd floor (the pictures are from before he painted).  Next he'll finish cleaning all the beds, couches, microwaves, tv, etc from the 3rd floor.  I wanted to build the laundry room in the basement, but I wasn't prepared for that. I still have some planning to do

I did some research on putting in solar hot water heat.  I did all the measuring and got quotes.  $35k to have it done. I think I can build it myself for around $12k.  Now to research what plumbing inspections are required and what the codes are for my town. I also met with some folks to look into future investments in our town.  Everything we looked at just didn't make mathematical sense to me.  Better to invest in solar. 

Also while I was home I cleaned and organized my aunts garage.  That gave us room to begin shuffling.  I need to clear out her attics to pull up a few boards and blow in insulation.  Once the garage space cleared up I was able to remove some things from my mom's apartment and put them into the garage.  Then I sanded all the drywall....ooof...that job sucks.  After I got everything done and the mess all cleaned up I grouted the tiles we had installed in the kitchen while mom and aunt painted the walls.  Everything is mostly done there now.  So now I'll have to arrange some friends to carry in her stove, refrigerator, microwave, etc. and hook them all up for her.

Good progress all around.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So far so good

Running every other day now without pain.  Makes me just about as happy as this guy.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wonderfully sore

My knee seems to have turned the corner (fingers crossed).  I haven't had pain for 2 weeks and I run 4 miles 3x last week without pain.  I was a little too aggressive with my stretching and injured something behind my knee.  The doctor showed me how to massage it and said keep on going.  That it would heal itself. 

So far so good.  I happily have been venturing out into the rain and running my 4 miles in the trails.  Doing all my stretching and my strengthening religiously, etc.  but wow!!! 12 miles a week has me pretty sore.  won't be able to move up anytime soon. Hope my body adapts.

Everything with Inna is progressing along.  I bought tickets to go there December 24th returning on January 5th.  I'll spend a week in Kherson getting to know Vitali and then we'll all go together for a few days to Yalta on the Black Sea.  There we'll do some fun excursions and go to a formal dinner party for New Years. 

We had a bit of a fight recently.  It was mostly fear.  I worry that if Vitali doesn't want to move to the US, or if her ex-husband won't let him, or if he doesn't like me.....What will that mean for our relationship.  Of course.....she can't really honestly answer any of those things until they play out.  So I basically was asking for reassurance.  I didn't express my fear very well and it was taken the wrong way.  She's a little used to attacks from ex-husband so she went a little too quickly into defensive mode.  We pouted for an evening, communicated, and now are moving along.  Legitimate fear not erased, but agreements made to handle it as it comes and be flexible and communicative. 

Some funny things about language.  When I type phone changes it to Vital I.   When she sends me a note that I don't understand and I pop it into my translator it translates Vitali as Acne.  I don't think I'll tell the teenage boy that my computer calls him acne.  Another funny thing that it does (luckily I know the word and don't need translation) is that when she says "I miss you" translates as "I'm bored of you"   I could see how if I didn't know the language this relationship would be quite difficult.

ok...another treehugger type video.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This is water

I've done a good bit of writing here about happiness and how society has come to equate that with material wealth.  I've also done some posts about societies need for constant stimulation.  Here's an interesting video that deals with this nicely.

Just spent a wonderful week in Odessa with Inna.  For those that didn't get my email, but want to photos are posted here.

I'm off to replace the clutch cable on my motorcycle. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rain Party

Had a pretty good week last week.  Between Skype, phone calls, Facebook, and texts Inna and and I have been able to share our lives together as best as possible.  She'll fly to Israel on the 14th of August and stay until the 23rd with her friend Vika.  She'll stay in Ra'anana at her friends house.  She hasn't seen her for 3 years since she moved there, so they're quite excited to hang out, catch up, and do some tourist stuff.  Her birthday was Sunday and the card I sent arrived Saturday...delivered by mom the evening of her birthday.  Perfect timing.  Mom said she cried with happiness reading the poem I wrote :-)

I guess the 1/2 century ride I did with mom got me going on cycling again.  I need to do something and I was so frustrated with physical therapy that I just couldn't make myself get started on that again.  4 months with no improvement :-(  I figure now I'll just ride for a bit and give it a go again this winter when riding outside sucks.    Of the 1/2 dozen rides I've done so far each has been a real smack in the face.   The first group ride I lasted 35minutes and got dropped like nothing.  The 2nd I lasted 70 minutes of a 90 minute ride, then next 80 minutes.   Each of those 3 rides saw me pulling out all the tricks to keep up.  I'm experienced enough in the peleton to know the wheels to follow and I know the route well enough to know when you just have to matter what, and when you can rest.

This week I did the Tuesday nighter and was a totally different rider.  A bit of a man possessed I guess.  I took offense to a move by another rider on a dangerous descent.  In the past ride we took that descent gentle, regrouped, then hammered.  He used the hill to his advantage.  Totally acceptable in a race on a closed road but really dangerous in traffic and with a mixed bag of rider abilities.  Beat us because you're stronger....not because you care less if you make it to work tomorrow.    Anyway...I made it a bit of my mission to show that fellow how his lunch looks on his cycling shoes.   Each time he went for a sprint I'd attack after.  Each time he reach for his bottle or drifted off a hard pull I'd give a little surge.  Death by a thousand needles all of which he wasn't smart enough to notice.  Then I "won" the ride attacking the birdfoot climb and leaving them.  2 weeks of riding...and they're all mid-season with an entire winter of base under them.  Take that!!

The next day I went to Haymarket for the big boy ride.  Having done the wimpier Reston ride pretty much all out the day before and carrying that fatigue into a ride with my old teammates who were sure to make me suffer.....had me figuring I'd be dropped over the very first climb.  Again I surprised myself and hung in some very tough riding.  It rained for a while really, really hard and I had hoped that would slow us down and let us recover but they never let up.  Then it hailed and 4 of us got caught in a cross-wind and dropped.   Luckily the group had a bit of infighting leading up to the sprint point.  As they slowed to jockey for position it allowed the 4 of us to catch back on.  After that I was basically cooked though and I got dropped over the last climb.  By then we were nearly 2hrs into the ride so I was still pretty happy and even more so with my solo effort over the last 20 minutes back to the shop.  Jared and the fellow's waited for me at the crossroads.  Nice to ride with the old gang again...and glad, other than poking fun at my hairy legs, that they didn't feel a need to torture me. 

I took Thursday and Friday off from riding.  Went Friday to a movie premier with Michael and Melissa.  We watched the new movie about Anton Krupicka "In the High Country".  Pretty awesome.  I don't suppose the average guy gets it quite as much...but for me, watching....that was my life.  The fellow lives in his truck and just runs.  That's the life of the distance runner.   Really good look into his life.  It's a short film, I really recommend it. 

Saturday I did some repairs in the house I'm living in.  Replaced the dryer vent that was so full of lint and water that the weight had pulled it from the wall.  Whew...rotten lint is stinky.  I saw the break in the weather for a long ride didn't come until around 6pm so I waited and ate well and headed out with my lights for a night ride.  Did a nice easy tempo.  Only went hard a bit on the way home going through the section where that cyclist got the gun put in his mouth, was beaten, and robbed last month.  I tore through that hilly dark section with much haste. 

I had an interesting detour during my ride.  After about 5hrs of riding it started to pour just as I was touring the monuments before the 90 minute push home.  It really unleashed just as I was going through the mall.  I gave thought to scurrying over to the metro station and just taking the metro back to East Falls Church (1/2 way home) and hoping the rain had stopped when I got there.  It rained so hard however that I only made it to the snack bar on the other side of the mall.  As I parked under the roof I saw a bunch of others running for it too.  Turns out a local band was just wheeling their equipment to the metro for their trip home.  Instead they setup under the awning...and we had a bit of a party.  It was a really fun and neat way to wait out the rain.  We sat there 50 minutes before it let up and we all went on our way.  They sang a LOT of Joanna Newsome.  Now I can't get this song out of my head.

3 rides for the week.  2 really hard, 1 long but really easy.  No pains or hurts so far.  Here's some more Joanna.  Wish I knew the name of the local band that scurried over and gave me a free concert.  They gave me their phone number and an invite and for some reason it didn't save in my phone.  Here's more of their favorite artists.  It was really fun singing along, normally I feel self-conscious about singing but they were so fun and the circumstance so peculiar that we really belted out the songs in the rain :-).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Historical building pictures

I found a photo of James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley speaking in front of my building in Geneva.  It was the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on August 4, 1880.  That monument was later moved to the corner of Eagle an Park streets and now sits at the opposite corner of Park and Broadway.

Mine is the 3 story building on the left. Pretty cool!!  This photo was taken from the center of Broadway, South of Main street.  The drug store you'll see in the next photo would be directly to the left of the photographer.

 This is the view on Main Street and Broadway.  My building is directly across the street from the Drug store you see in this picture.  So my building would be to your right and around the corner if you were standing where this photo was taken.


 This picture is from farther North on Broadway.  You can still see the drug store on the corner in the center of the photo.  From here you would walk South on Broadway to the corner.  Turn right on Main street and my building would be the 3rd on the right. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Daddy Cool falls in love

  I made it back from vacation.  It was an amazing trip.  Easily the best vacation I've ever had.  While I was there this song played no less than 600 times, plus Inna and I had this running joke going that she was my "Sugar Momma" because I had wired her money ahead of time for our trip so that I didn't have to go 1/2 way around the world with a big wad of cash.  Anyways, she carried the cash and did the negotiating so we'd get better prices and I'd keep my mouth shut.  So she was "Sugar Momma" and I became "Daddy Cool". (I even showed her some smooth dance moves similar to his)

When I arrived I found I was quite nervous.  Her and I had counted down the days and hours until we could finally be by the time I was standing in the Customs line I was pretty nervous.  As soon as I made it through and she gave me a big hug everything was amazing.  We were so comfortable together.  We jumped in a taxi and went to a supermarket to buy supplies for our room.  While we were in the store she caught me checking her out and we joked about it.  Because she was also checking me out ;-)

Once we arrived at the resort we spent the looking over the place and our cove, swimming, having a romantic dinner and taking a nice walk, and then sitting on a bench drinking wine and watching the sunset.  Neither of us said it until later...but during that walk we both realized just how amazing the other made us feel.  For the remainder of the trip, together 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, we never lost that magical feeling.  By the end of the first week I was fully and madly in love with her.  We started talking about future but she was afraid to open up to me fully.  She didn't want to think about her feelings.  She wanted to enjoy the present and later, after I had left to think about them, what was next, etc.  

Every day was another adventure.  We alternated days.  One day we'd go on an excursion, which was usually an exhausting combination of boats, marshutki's, buses, and taxi's.  Plus lots of hiking (and she kept up, enjoyed it, never complained, or wasn't amazing).  The next day we would stay at the resort and rest.  Usually I'd wake up early to run and swim, she'd sleep in, then we'd go to breakfast.  We'd normally hang on the beach for a few hours and then in the heat of the day enjoy our air conditioned room.  Then go back out in the evening for a nice dinner, walk, and more wine on the beach.  Then we'd stay up until 2am talking, talking, talking.  Through every second of it we totally enjoyed ourselves, and each other.  A thousand times a day we were amazed at the silly things we had in common....from the way we ate our peaches, to our ecological and economic views, to our hopes, dreams, etc. 

She didn't like my hair choices.  She likes hairy legs and thought John's haircut looked too much like a hedgehog.  On the 3rd day she took me to town for a haircut.  It was funny.  The barber was afraid I'd want it to look like it did, only shorter.  She was relieved when Inna said it looked funny in spots.  She thought maybe this was a popular American fashion she was soon going to have to learn.  She joked to me that she was really afraid everyone was going to start coming in and asking for bad haircuts.   Inna has made me promise that I'll start paying for them when we're together.

By the end of the second week she realized that she was helplessly in love with me and we really started thinking and talking about our future together.  I traveled to her town and met her mother.  We had a really fun barbecue and mom was a lot of fun.  We talked about the steps we'd need to take to get her over to America and the advantages/disadvantages of each kind of visa.  By then we knew we were meant for each other.....

So the type of visa was really not in question.  It's the most certain, and in her situation probably the fastest. 

There are hurdles in our path and we discussed all of them.  Our communication together is amazing.  I love her!  She has a son and his father to think about.  Vitali knows about me, but only that I'm a penpal.  The father knows nothing and poses quite a risk to her.   So we're treading lightly and I'm giving her time and support to deal with that.

When I got back to work everyone has been asking how I knew and what I thought.  I did a lot of thinking about that today.  Both of us, as far back as we can remember have really had trouble feeling love in relationships.  I think I've always been quite lonely so I've gotten into relationship trying to fill this empty hole.  Most of the time I didn't know myself, or what I wanted or needed, plus I never let the other person know the relationships were doomed to be unsatisfying.  Inna felt the same way.  She had a son and tried to be a good wife to a man who took, and took, and never gave back.  She had the same sense of loneliness (except for having Vitali), the same fear that she was incapable of love and meant for a life of loneliness. 

When we were together there was this almost simultaneous revelation.  Through hours and hours of talking endlessly we realized neither of us had ever had anyone truly listen to us, or had we ever truly told what was inside us.  With us it was a continual pouring out to each other.  We had this holy shit type revelation.  THIS is what love is supposed to be.  WOW!! 

It had an immediate effect on me.  When I have problems with anxiety (as you all know) I have a tendency to get lost inside, wander the city looking for adrenaline, and usually getting myself into trouble.  The second to last night we were there, she was with the father, and I was alone in my hotel.  It was hard to imaging the person I loved was sleeping in the same house with another man simply because she had no other options (it's complicated).  I spent 6hrs restlessly walking the city.  What was different this time was a sense of confidence.   Not a sense of responsibility like I had with Lyuda or past relationships.  But a sense of confidence.  That I had found my other half.  That I needed to be home, because I don't want anything.....any risk, that could somehow cause me to not be able to spend the next 60 years with this wonderful woman.  So I enjoyed the city, and then went home at a safe hour.

Chuppa Chups.....You are my purpose, my medicine, my support, my strength, my dreams, my hopes, my desires, and my future.  I'm so glad that I have finally found you.  Я тебя люблю!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

paved paradise

  The site of my very first race was demolished yesterday.  For 6 months my dear friend Lisa and I had organized, petitioned, raised money, and wrote Op Ed pieces for the local newspaper trying to garner support to save a cherished piece of our towns historical and cultural heritage.  Having won battle after battle, it seems, the City Manager and the Board of Education, were determined we would most certainly not win the war.  A vote was scheduled to be held next Thursday to decide on the outcome of the stadium.  This Thursday, a week before the vote, they took it into their own hands and demolished the stadium.  I can't even write more about it, my heart can't take it.  A crushing blow.  Laws were broken, we will insure there are consequences.  It still, however, will never at this point.... feel like anyone has won anything.  The things people will do for money and self interest astonishes and hurts me.

Good news about my building in Ohio (and thank you to Michael for offering your help...I shall take you up on that someday).  A quote came back that was very reasonable.  They begin work next Tuesday.  The City zoning manager doesn't require a permit because it is restoration and not construction, so everything is set. 

I'm heading to Ukraine tomorrow.  I'll most likely not get online much. 

Because the loss of my stadium has me in no mood to write, I'll instead allow you to listen to a really interesting podcast.

The best part to me is about the 16min mark. that one is too long.  Here's a good one that 's short.

Friday, May 31, 2013

One run

I've been struggling lately with not being active enough.  I was doing so well in my physical therapy until I went to Mexico, then I did nothing.  I walked a lot in my sandals and didn't stretch and came home fearing that I was right on back to square one.   It took a few days but I was amazed that my foam rollering and flexibility came back much quicker.  Much fewer knots when I rolled. 

I just got back on track again and then my trip to Ohio.  Taking my motorcycle was a bit of a mistake.  I think I'm sitting too compact on it.  My hip flexors are bent even more than sitting in a car.  So they get pretty tight after 6hrs. 

I decided to take a little jog Wednesday in hopes of warming up a little to stretch better.  I jogged 3/4 of a lap at 8min pace, then sped up each lap to see if I could run a good 6min mile.  The doctor told me she'd rather me run all out, than run long.  So off I went.  I ran perfectly paced laps.  1:40, 1:30, 1:20, 1:10 for a 5:40 mile.  It was pretty much as hard as I could go but didn't feel too bad because I worked my way into it. 

During the run I did feel some patellar pain, but after I felt none.  Last time I ran I felt none until the next day.  Here I am a couple of days later and with no pain at all.  A little hamstring and vmo soreness....but no pain.  So that's progress :-)

In other news, I went home last weekend and was able to update the bathroom in the psychologists office of my building.  It had a utility sink, lots of brown stained ceiling tiles, a broken light, dark green walls going into horrible flowery red and white wallpaper.  I put in a proper counter/sink, new ceiling tiles, new light, light green paint, and white antique looking wallpaper.

I also cleaned the basement.  I found evidence that my building had been a hardware store, a jewelry store, a real estate office, a sign shop, and now a law office/psychologist office.  I also found that apparently every person who had ever moved out left a tv, that every door and window that had ever been replaced was stored in basement, and that dead pigeons preserve surprisingly well when entombed in coal dust.

I have now had 3 people look at the masonry problems on the third floor and nobody would like to tackle it.  People only do construction now (foundations, fireplaces, etc) mason's that do restoration are extremely hard to find.   I've researched the procedure and am prepared to do it myself it the next person declines.  I'll need to purchase some equipment, but that would still be cheaper than paying someone and I'd learn a good deal.  The problem then becomes time off work.....

Lack of vacation time is a new development.  I've been carrying on an online relationship with a friend of a friend from Ukraine.  She was supposed to come here for a month to visit but her visa was declined.  I suppose it's not a financially, logistically, or emotionally savvy investment, but emotional attachment isn't always rational.  There's something about Inna that I enjoy.  Maybe I'm lonely, or disappointed in the dates I've had here, or enjoy "exotic" women, or whatever the case...All of my readers are aware enough of the psychological and emotional flaws that I bide.  Anyways, I've chosen to go there and visit her.  

I'll fly from DC to New York, to Moscow to Simferopol.   We've rented an apartment in Sudak, which is a vacation town along the Black Sea in the Crimean Peninsula.  I'll spend one week there with her and then a week wandering.  I'm guessing I'll try to see Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and end up in Istanbul, Turkey.  We'll see.  I haven't really planned the second week.  So I'll have to give that some thought.  I'll probably just keep my bicycle pointed so that the Black Sea stays on my left and keep on riding and exploring anything that looks cool.

My mother was supposed to have her bimonthly MRI on her brain tumor done Wednesday.  Unfortunately while I was home it was appallingly apparent that she was experiencing the same list of symptoms that appeared the last time her tumor had required surgery.  I've spent a LOT of time working alongside my mother in the last 5 years.  Every home project I've accomplished she's been right there with me handing me tools, discussing options, and giving her input.  Usually she's a step ahead of me, preparing the next tool, measuring for the next task, etc.  This time she was forgetful.  She would at times seemed at a loss for what we were doing.  She was showing sure signs of confusion and mental fatigue. 

We had a party Saturday night and many concerned friends, who would normally remain quiet about such matters, expressed their concern for her.  It's horrible to watch your mother frantic in the store, thinking she'd lost her keys, and then have to remind her that you drove....that you had the keys.  Things like that happened apace this weekend.  It scares us both.  I got the courage to talk it over with her and we talked to the doctor and decided to pay for the better MRI.  That wasn't available until today, so she's there now undergoing that.   I wish I could be there.

Tom's is in New Mexico enduring the decline of his sister.  My mother is in Ohio facing her own scary condition and instead of spending my vacation time to visit.... I'm selfishly planning trips across the world. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friends humor

My friends love my stories.  So much so that I have quite a collection of owl memorabilia and whatnots.  Here's the latest little gem someone sent me.

A strangely positioned rock

Apt timing I suppose, that I had chosen this week to return to my research into man's interpretation of time.  I've brought along the idea a few times here that we currently live in a culture where time is equal and synonymous with progress.  The belief that the next thing will be better, and the next better still, until eventually we reach a state of utopia.   I've given this subject a lot of thought lately, because here and there I continue plodding along on my novel.  To write an accurate description of what I think the distant future of Earth will be like I have to familiarize myself with what past inhabitants have thought about such subjects.  I can't simply assume in the future that they will share ours.  If I want to put myself into the minds of my characters I need to perceive how they will think.

 Basically I've chosen 3 distinct beliefs of the passage of time.  The first, popular during the ascendancy of the Roman Empire is similar to ours.  That is the belief in upward linear progression.  The second is the polar opposite and it has served its followers similarly during the Dark Ages and times when the reality of peoples days were toil and suffering.  When the Golden Age of Rome was seen in the past as the ideal time and the thoughts were that the farther we got from that Golden Age, the worse and worse it would get.  The third is popular in the East and Native American's, the belief that time is cyclical and follows repeating patterns throughout history. 

  While thinking lately about time I've given a good deal of thought to why people believe as they do.  What would cause someone to think their situation in life, or the next generations will only get better....or can only get worse?  Mostly, I think, that it has to deal with the basic philosophical questions we all struggle with. Where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going, and so forth.  What I have realized is that what you believe gets whatever support it has from two distinct sources. The first of these is the factual evidence, if any, that backs it; the second is the emotional appeal, if any, that it offers to those who embrace it.    

When you ask anyone about their beliefs in the afterlife, or the future for that matter.  Everyone will loudly tell you that they base all of their predictions of the first.   Facts.   Because habits of thinking hardwired into contemporary culture treat the first of those as though it’s the only thing that matters.  Then reacts to any mention of the second, emotional appeal, with the same sort of embarrassed silence that might greet an echoing fart at a formal dinner party. Since human beings aren’t passionless bubbles of intellect, though, the second source of support is fairly often the more important and the more revealing of the two.   You see, humans seek a description of beliefs that is emotionally appealing to them and then simply fill in the facts later to justify their choice (sometimes no matter how ludicrous those manufactured facts need to be).

I said apt at the top of the page because this week Tom called with some horrible news.  Lovely Suzy, my "aunt" has been found to have terminal esophageal cancer.  Now if any person alive should believe in the function of time, and the religions that follow it, laid out by Augustine of Hippo's (that all things will decline until death where you are liberated to utopia of some sort or other) it is poor Suzy.  Who's life has been on long continuous battle from polio, scoliosis, lung problems, etc. 

Notice, in both the Joachimist (things just keep looking better until utopia) and Augustinian (things are going down the crapper, we deal with it stoically and die, and then get to utopia) both share the common theme of utopia in the afterlife.   The third, which I intend to explore for my book, is a more Eastern position.  That time is cyclical.  Reincarnation and many other religions steal from this view. 

I could tell from the conversation that both Tom and his brother Paul are struggling with this.  Having someone in your life suffer without the ability to help them is very, very difficult.  In times like this it's easy to see why humans tend to latch on to a belief that is emotionally appealing.  Whether Suzi will be sitting with Rita and Bill looking down on us from heaven, reborn into another life, or simply destined to be only a strangely positioned rock in a similar row of rocks in an otherwise smooth field...we may never know. 

One thing for sure that I gained from Suzi that is irreplaceable to me.  Is the lessons I've been able to learn about her loving brother Tom from his interactions with her.  Seeing him, throughout her life, care for, endure, and love that woman has given me glimpses of the depths of him.  It has taught me how selfless, logical, yet empathetic a man should be.  Never, in all of her suffering has he hid away somewhere and sent his love piecemeal through cards or the phone.  He has taken her into his life and given her someone when at times she had none.  For that I thank you Suzi.  I didn't know you nearly as well as I should have and unfortunately it doesn't seem time is going to allow that.....but here's hoping that in whichever way you see it, the future does you well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

phantom shitter

  I was home recently to help my mother move (finally the last time I'll have to do work on that property).  To do some preliminary planning for a laundry room in my building, and to continue working on the apartment in my aunt's house.  Everything I had planned to do took longer than I expected and was interrupted with a thousand things I didn't plan on doing, but it was a very successful weekend.

I was so busy all weekend that I got up at 5am each day and worked until 8pm every evening.  That wouldn't be so bad, but for some reason I also forgot to eat each day.  It wasn't by plan, I just was so into my work that I forgot.  All three days I mostly only ate one meal around 3pm.  So much was accomplished though.  Got my $23k back from my cousin, retrieved my motorcycle, moved mom, worked on kitchen, resurfaced driveway, looked through scrap in basement, developed plan for laundry room, ran plumbing for aunts bathroom, almost died, and nearly got arrested.

I'm stressed for time today so I'll get straight to the juicy parts.  I went to the bar out near the highway Saturday night to meet some friends.  I don't like going out there, because now that I'm a downtown businessman I'd rather spend my money downtown and support the businesses around me, but headed out there.  While I was there I ran into 3 anonymous folks nobody else in Geneva probably would even give a second glance.   I sat for a second and chatted with Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds, and Jeremy Wariner.   Having 3 Olympic Champions and World Record holders sitting at a dive bar in my hometown and nobody noticing them is just amazing to me.   This in a town that is supposedly trying to be THE location for Track & Field.  

Anyways, I went over and tried to not allow my jaw to drag the floor and talk to them.  I sat for a second and the entire encounter was ruined when a local 300+ pound local I went to school with, drunk as hell, came over took her shirt off and swung it around her head, and sat down with an almost tragic thud right down on my lap.  The table nearly tipped and the crowd scattered before the bouncer came over and collected her.  She yelled my name a few times, then Jeremy said something about anonymity in this town having it's advantages and they packed up and left.  Opportunity missed, but hopefully I'll run into them again.  Twice now I've met Michael Johnson and both times haven't gone so swift.

As you can imagine, after a full day of work, not enough sleep, and not enough food.....a few beers had me in rare sorts.   We decided to head back into town and frequent some of the "finer" establishments Geneva has to offer.  As we parked and were walking in some dipshit we know threw something down at us from the 3rd story window.  It was a friend and we were pretending to be angry at each other.  After a few more beers and a whole lot of storytelling some of my exploits as "the phantom shitter" came up and we all joked that if it'd been years ago I'd find a way to shit on that guys welcome mat or some other equally silly retaliation. 

Well....after a few more beers it donned on me that I happened to have a ladder large enough to meet that fellows window just down the street.  I'd bought it for my new building.  A few beers later there I was friends watching from afar as I'm hanging from a ladder, ass to window shitting on some poor fellows window sill.  Putting my fireman ladder training to "good" use I guess you could say.   As I was carrying the ladder back, at nearly 1:30 in the morning to my friends yard (where I store it) along came a cop car behind me and flashed the lights.  Not entirely sure how I'd explain myself carrying a ladder (my ladder) drunk in the middle of the night (after having shit on a friends window sill) my reaction was to toss the ladder and run like hell. 

Now of friends watching from their front porch thought the entire thing was hilarious, and I'm sure the legend of the phantom shitter is now secure.  But I can't, at 37 years old, a downtown business owner, and all still entertaining such behavior....but there you have it.  I guess I can't help myself.  I need a babysitter.

Couple of things I was thinking of as I dashed across the railroad tracks and headed for the woods.

Rules for fleeing the cops.

1) Always have a plan.  Constantly pay attention to what you're doing and where you'll go.

2) Make the cop get out of the car as fast as possible.  Don't run yourself silly just to have him pull up fresh and run you down.

3) don't be a rabbit, keep your escape options open but pick one and get on with it.  Zig Zagging only allows him/her to cut the tangents and catch you.

4) remove yourself from their sight line as often as possible, every time they have to decide which way you went or use caution slows them down.

5) run at 80% until you absolutely have to....and then burst to 100%   Demoralizes them into giving up and doesn't leave you exhausted if you need some extra speed.

6) remember that back yards have changed a little bit since 1990.   Running full speed in the dark......Those fucking fences hurt.

So I got away, and my friends have another shitter story.  My buddy will open his window tomorrow to smoke a cigarette and find a pile of shit in his way....

The next morning I told mom the ladder was missing and to call and report it stolen.  She arrived home from the police station all happy.  Seems they already had found the ladder.   That's good mom, damn criminals.  She recommended that we chain it to the fence from now on.   Good idea mom :-)  Never know what sort of weirdo's roam this town at night. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Personal Record!!

   I made it through phase one of my physical therapy.  My hips and hamstrings are now stronger and more flexible.  The doctor was very pleased.   They video taped me running on the treadmill and the movement no longer is as drastic.   Next they'll start working on the atrophied muscles of my lower legs.   I've always been a pretty pigeon toed runner, not getting the full benefit of my outer calf muscles.   7 years of cycling and not having to deal with various lateral movements have made them even weaker, and the turning in is creating a lot of torque on my knees.

I'm strong enough now to do some crazy exercises that strengthen my feet and lower legs.  I can only now do 8 at a time perfectly.  She showed me a video of Galen Rupp doing 400 in a session non-stop.  OUCH!!!.   I suck!   Anyways, I do them religiously 2x a day 15 reps each time and see her again on Wednesday.  It's progress....but slow.

Speaking of progress.   Every time I talk to anyone about the potential (based on my historical knowledge) for Empires to decline and begin to talk about the things that happen when they do (things that have been happening in the last 15 years)....I almost always get the quick response that the Dow is a record highs.   Then I get scoff and pity.  When I bring up that our economy is based on perpetual growth....and shouldn't anything that continually grows always be at record highs????......their brains don't compute what I'm trying to say.   The news just continually tells us that things are at RECORD LEVELS....Life is good, continue to believe in the religion of progress.....

Guess what.....Today I broke my personal record!!!! I'm 37yrs 10 months and 6 days.   My age is at an all time high!!!!!  I could never die...because I keep hitting all time highs.

You see, everyone would scoff at that notion, because we take into account history.  We see clearly that everyone has a life expectancy.  It's part of our belief system.  Empires do too...and they all go through common stages.   No need to worry about those things though.....because Rapa Nui, Rome, Ottoman, Byzantine, Incas, Aztecs, French, England, Soviet Union.....we're different from all of them.  I different from other humans....and I keep hitting these RECORD HIGHS!!!  So I believe it's safe to say, that the US will continue forever to be a global leader, and I will live forever to enjoy it.  No need, then, to plan for retirement, health care, to have environmental concerns....or pretty much worry about anything else.  It's different this time.  In this case history has nothing to say.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Left foot, right foot

I ran 15 minutes the other day.  I shuffled over to the track and ran lane 8.  Some old guy hobbling along passed me in lane 1.  Oooof!!!!  Talk about a slap to the ego.  I sped up a little and at the 9 minute mark I thought I might have to walk.  I slowed back down and ran until 15minutes and called it a day.  My knees both hurt and my left foot was hurting.  A little pain in my lower back from hurting it moving the bathtub last weekend.  Today I just feel sore in my hamstrings and a spot on my left hip.

I decided instead of my marathon goal being 2:28 that I'd make it 2:44 and I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon.  I guess I just know I don't have the drive as of now to commit to such a lofty goal.  I still think it's in my realm of possibility but things would have to line up pretty perfect to run that fast.  2:44 seems pretty doable.  First things first is to fix these knees because 3 months completely off did absolutely nothing to help them.

I'm feeling a little down today because of some of the comments I got from posting that goal on facebook.  I guess I didn't expect that.  It angers me that folks would even question me running a 2:44.  Used to be that would be a long run.  It wasn't that dag gone long ago.  It's not like my little mitochondria all retired.  Anyways, sort of just angered me.  Then I got some comments about my last post that seemed a bit rude.  That's a sensitive subject I put out there in front of the world.  If you're to obtuse to realize that a little tact when addressing it is necessary......  grrrr....maybe I just need a friends list redo.  Then today I had a misunderstanding with my "girlfriend".  I joked to her because she told Zoya that when she first saw my picture she wasn't attracted to me because she likes guys with big muscles.   Her reaction to my joke sort of startled me.  She said....yeah...well that's ok, i don't mind dating people I'm not attracted to.  Or something along those lines.  Wow...way to make a guy feel good.   Maybe I'm just too sensitive.  I tried not to respond and just change the subject and then she said she might as well be talking to herself sometimes.  So I guess the chat sort of went off the rails from there.  C'est la vie.

well.   I'll go run it off. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

3 Inspiring words

My trip home this weekend allowed for a unique opportunity. Never did I imagine how that opportunity would play out, or what it would lead to, or even that I would have it. But it seems to have inspired a city. Hate, as I've often said here, is a powerful and motivating emotion. The hatred of the masses, against wealth and power and the corruption associated with it, is particularly powerful just now in an economy where the availability of wealth has evaporated to all but a select class. A chance meeting therefore, where I was able to pull together and assimilate a vast sum of clues, in front of a crowd, and use this information to insult a City Manager, a 4x Gold medalist, the head of USA Track & Field, and their well as inspire community action....all with 3 little words, is quite an accomplishment. Something that I feel a bit proud of.

For the purpose of this post I'll need to do two things, give a little background, and deliver to you my personal definition of corruption (since the world currently, seems to confuse what is legal, with what is right) Corruption to me, is the use of a position of power to serve a narrower interest than the scope of that position. So instead of serving everyone you have power over, you harm most of them to serve yourself and people close to you. Now most often that is done legally. Most of the US is suffering from an entire list of horrible things that have been done by businesses, politicians, and people that were completely legal. The mortgage crisis is a major example of this. So I want to steer us back to accepting only those things that are right, and just, and not confuse ourselves with what the privileged class have dictated to legal.

The background here is that Geneva's former city manager is also a huge developer. How that should ever be allowed is beyond me. Throughout the last 10yrs he has been steadily gutting the city services of our town and moving them out to the highway (where he owned land). Each step along the way (moving of the post office, consolidation of the school, moving of the library, etc) I researched and wrote Op Ed pieces to the local paper outlining why I think this pattern of development is disastrous and showing urban design studies from Maine, New Hampshire, Portland, St. Paul, etc that all showed the importance of keeping vital city services centrally located and accessible via foot traffic. In each case I was dismissed, with venom, as a fuddy duddy standing in the way of "progress". Now, in the last 3 years as that pattern of development has been largely seen by the locals as a horrible failure, and huge message, and my ideas, have become a bit accepted, and in some cases embraced.

That same former city manager, after moving all of the services to the highway, along with other developers, built the nations largest indoor track, multiple Olympic sized swimming pools, and all sorts of indoor athletic facilities. Throughout the construction he enraged to locals by bringing in cheap, non-local, non-union labor whenever possible. In those cases where he used local contractors and local companies....he declared bankruptcy and has never paid them.

Now that leads me to USA Track & Field. Throughout my early years of running, Boulder Colorado was the home of US distance running. During the early 90's however that slowly began to change. Runners like Bob Kennedy and Todd Williams for some reason decided that training at or near their alma maters was a better fit for them. The often lamented "lost 90's of American Distance Running" where people chose, instead of living in Boulder, to train on their own lead to a major downturn in US distance running. A policy adopted by USA T&F where they decided that their group should emulate the financial and marketing success of the NBA (in my opinion) was to blame. The purpose of USATF changed from promoting the sport and supporting its athletes, to making a corporate brand from which they could extract wealth.

Despite the best attempts of the bigwigs at USATF, the people of Boulder, and their love of running, running venues, climate, etc have all combined to still keep the area one of THE places to live for professional endurance athletes. That, coupled with groups like Hanson's, the Oregon Project, etc lead to a resurgence in US distance thanks to USATF.

So there I was on a miserable Sunday morning having breakfast at a local restaurant when in hobbles our trio of wealth gathering (track enthusiasts). Fresh from having won (*cough* stolen) the USATF contract from Boulder, making Geneva, Ohio the new headquarters of USATF. Not mind you, due to our wonderful running culture, or our access to mountain trails, or other running venues, our beautiful training weather, or any other logical reason to choose Geneva as a place distance athletes would love to live and train. But instead because our wonderful struggling developer turned city manager, turned millionaire developer was able to purchase them (ok, you can call it outbid them). So you have a millionaire ex-city manager who was willing to sell out the people he was supposed to have "spent his lifetime promoting and representing" dealing with a USATF president willing to be influenced more by personal greed than care for the athletes he represents....all of it legally...and none of it right.

As I was sitting there with my back to the group, the waitress hustled over to retrieve me. Excited for an opportunity to meet 4x Olympic gold medalist and 8x World Champion Michael Johnson I hurried over to their table. It was there that I sat listening to their dreams and plans, while a crowd slowly gathered, pushing in...filling the spaces between tables and any empty space available. The city manager introduced me to Michael who said he'd been hoping to run into me (wow I thought) because every time he mentions distance running in this town my name comes up from the locals (wow I thought again).

They then proceed to ask for my advice. You see...they are bankrupt. The population of distance runners have been hesitant to come to Geneva, save for their 2 competitions. The bankruptcy judgements against them are coming due, the amount of use in the form of memberships from the local community hasn't been what they expected...yada, yada, yada. How do we get the community to embrace distance running? How do we make this a destination for distance runners?

I slowly began to describe my long list of moves that have contributed to a community not interested in memberships, I told them (my own bitter feelings) for their removal of the town mural that had Anna Debevec (famous shot puter from the 70's), Brian Anderson (famous MLB pitcher) and myself (skinny guy who looks great in shorty shorts) and how the removal "to save money" gave children no recognizable local sports heroes. How not moving the trophy case (that holds hundreds of my and others high school trophies) to the new school gave children nothing to marvel at and aspire to. Then I dove into the desirability of the flat, cloudy, rainy, snow filled winters with zero trails for training and narrow snow choked roads for running.

After outlining a good bit of these, I slowly began to feel the tension in the room. Hearing all of these things, had reminded the locals of their hatred of the entire project. The last straw, as I later found out, was the promise (after a planned neglect of the downtown stadium and forced closing by our wonderful city manager during his tenure) that if the community matched funds they would be granted use of the facility for high school games, discount memberships for the community, etc. Which turned out to a 1 year free use by the school to it's athletic fields and then leases at insanely high rates and 1 free month trial for individuals followed by zero discount memberships. The crowding of the locals, the sour looks on their faces, and the hope resting on my shoulders to all involved that somehow I would have an idea that would bring the running world to Geneva and save the project.....seemed a bit awkward....and throughout my history I've proven I have rather a knack for handling awkward.

The best advice I can give you three? Yes (the crowd leans in) .....GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!

3 little words, inspired by my recent viewing of the movie Argo, catapulted the restaurant into a frenzy of cheering, then a firestorm on facebook, and finally to the founding of a group, to resurrect and refurbish the old stadium (Memorial Field). Once the facebook page went up, it seemed everyone in the community jumped in to be involved. In 2 days time we've established a charter, started application for a non-profit, and received a pledge from Brian Anderson for $300,000 to help resurrect the field, rebuild part of the grandstands that youths burned, refurbish the old cinder track, and build a new baseball field, effectively turning our backs on a failing multi-million dollar project that didn't have our support in the first place. We don't have the resources to throw good money and energy after bad. Or throw any money, for that matter, towards people who don't truly care about our community or the communites they are charged with supporting.

In less than 48hrs my 3 words seemed to have done more good for my little town than an entire team of people who's "projects" were more directed at putting money in their pockets than in helping the communities they serve. The same thing, you see, is damaging the entire population as you read. My message to you, is to tell them those 3 words. Scream them loud. Emulate my little town. Turn back the clock to a time when Americans didn't look to government to solve their problems for them. To a time when community groups, and people, working side by side caring for their communities decided what THEIR community needed, rolled up their sleeves and built it themselves. Rebuild local government and rely on that, and your neighbors. Everyone else has a different motive. So when they come to you with grand plans.....Give them the best......GO FUCK YOURSELF you can muster ;-)

Thursday, February 28, 2013


  I'm finally getting a chance to write a post.  Surely the same boring babble none of you really come here to read.  But in my world I'm king, so my subjects bow to my will.  You will read it, and you will like it.

In my last post I talked about the preparations I'm making towards a transition from living in the worlds wealthiest empire, to the stagnant, and soon declining nation we have turned out to be.  The state of the US right now is not all that dissimilar to my situation as a runner over the last 3 years.  The engine is still there, and the tools that made it perform, but a few of the key ingredients to it's success, neglect of it's infrastructure, and the problems of maintaining such a complex energy intense arrangement have all began to show themselves.  I'm now a has been. 

I wanted to move on with that a little today.  I'm not much for publicly predicting dates for our decline.  History, ecology, physics, geology....pretty much every field point to inevitable decline.  The timescale is the only thing that can be argued.  As poorly as this will be received, and as crazy as everyone will think I am for saying this....I think the sky is hanging by a thread...and in the next 3 years will begin falling. 

When I say this most people will start thinking of the sequester, and the fiscal cliff.  That's merely a symptom of what I've been pointing to all along.  Our economy hasn't grown a bit since 2008.  Unfortunately everything we were building and everything our government was paying for (our entitlements) in 2008 weren't actually being paid for.  In a time of record growth and economic abundance we were still financing to the gills.  As pops (Tom) predicted years ago, we've been in a situation similar to Japan.  While our economy hasn't grown, our debts continued.  Our only way, in declining growth, to pay for our debts was to print money.  To create growth where there was none.  The result of that is what we're seeing now. 

But that's not what I think will make the sky fall.  No, that's just a predictable symptom of the current arrangement.  What I'm guessing will be the next kick in the teeth, and will happen any day now, is the fracking bubble bursting.  You see, the same pattern of poor regulation, greed, and exploitation of the endless growth fantasy that rocked us in the housing bubble has only been repeated in the fracking bubble.  Wall Street has been cheerleading and announcing that the Marcellus and Bakken shale would soon lead to American independence from foreign oil.  What a nice sales pitch, sound similar to the belief that house prices would continue to rise forever?

 Meanwhile they've been bundling leases on undrilled shale fields.  Any place in the US where similar shale deposits were found (whether they had oil, or gas...or nothing of value at all) were bundled and flipped on the basis of grotesquely inflated claims of their income potential; newly minted investment vehicles of more than Byzantine complexity—VPPs, "volumetric production payments," are an example you’ll be hearing about quite a bit in a few months, once the court cases begin.   Yes....right when our economy is stumbling.  When zero growth has been hidden because of printing presses running at the speed of light.  When those printing presses have to stop because of global monetary situations and our debt positions.  And when the financial sequester is set to take effect. We will we get hit with another bursting bubble. 

Wall Street will position themselves to make record profits from the collapse while Joe investor who's been hearing all the cheerleading and trying desperately to put his money somewhere, anywhere that growth is still happening will lose his lot.  Not only will that much more of the masses money get funneled to the elite....We'll need to deal with the resulting rising energy prices when people realize that gas and fact...our finite resources and that we're actually going to need to start scraping the bottom of the barrel.  It's too bad, right when our economy is sitting still. hear that?  That's the sky, for most of us, preparing to fall.  Good luck!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My congregation

  I traveled home this weekend for the inspection of my building and to do some more work on the apartment at my childhood home.  The weekend started out as a bit of a fiasco because at the last minute I decided to try to take Sergei (the young man whom I mentor) and made plans to do that and then he changed his mind on going.  I also was asked by a friend to take his mother to Erie and that required some frustrating coordination.  Everything worked out...but it worked out due to me doing a lot of needless additional stuff.  C'est la vie.

I arrived home with a pretty full list of things to get accomplished.  Friday morning I woke up and got everything started.  The apartment on my aunts house was first.  It has poured concrete walls with no insulation.  I stared at them wondering how, in all the years able bodied men had owned and lived in the house, insulation had never occurred to them as a good idea.  Then I remembered, that like most things in America....the house had been constructed, and used, in the age of abundance.  That in an era of growth energy cost was never a factor.  And how now, only in an era of persistent decline have those things come to matter.  It's a good thing that I, while resources are still available, have decided to do something about the situation.  That's something of a comforting feeling when faced with the sad realization that the world is headed into an era of permanent decline.  The acceptance of that decline and the knowledge that in some small way...I'm doing what is available to me to prepare for it, and to help others prepare, is very fulfilling. 

After setting up my work area and laying out the materials I left the apartment and headed to my building.  There I met the inspector, the owner, and the realtor.  The inspector and I quickly got to work investigating the details of the building.  I took particular interest in the electrical system, plumbing, and the masonry I was worried about on the rear of the building.  The inspection took 6 solid hours of work.  Then I spent 30 minutes each with 5 of the 7 tenants getting to know them, hearing their complaints and desires, and signing them up for leases that will take effect when I take ownership. 

With that very exciting and rewarding day of work accomplished I then had a dinner meeting with what I have begun to think of as my choir.  Since about 1996 I've been known to my friends as treehugger Terry.  The first 10 years, while I was learning solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind generation, etc.. they all thought I was a bit of a weirdo.  Enjoyable, but weird.  In the last 7 years, my message started to get a bit annoying to some, and a bit enlightening to others.  Slowly, as my group of friends began witnessing the same signs I'd been studying for a decade in books, show themselves in real life in the form of climate change, prices quadrupling, etc...(all the things I, and many, many others, had predicted) we all started to attempt to deal with what we were facing.  In the last few years as my warning and writings have become even more pointed and direct, and the warning signs more clear and devastating, the choir has grown into a group of 12. 

About a year ago my choir, the 12 of us, formed a bit of a pact.  Since then we've each worked, inside our own area of expertise and with the help of others, to prepare for the future we see we're facing.  A big part of that has been to prepare for a future with less, as well as to position ourselves to prosper when others, having missed the signs, are faced with a reality they get, instead of the future they ordered.  Some of the members of the pact are still not fully converts to our crazy beliefs, but the draw of the prosperity our group seems to be attracting has made them productive members. 

The purchase of this building is one of those steps.  You see, our little group believes that our country is slowly headed for Imperial decline as the result of diminishing availability of the key ingredient of our energy.  We also believe that expensive energy, coupled with climate change, is going to dramatically change how Americans live.  You see, most of the infrastructure of industrial society has been built during the period of abnormally good weather we call the twentieth century.   A fair amount of it, as New York subway riders have had reason to learn, is poorly designed to handle extreme weather, and if those extremes become normal, the economics of maintaining such complex systems as the New York subways in the teeth of repeated flooding start to look very dubious indeed.

As we've seen with the the failures to rebuild significant areas after hurricane Katrina, and more recently with Irene, and Sandy.... the population is slowly moving, and will move.   Now they might not do so all at once, or as part of their own design.  I can't even tell you where they'll come from because predicting where and when disasters will strike isn't a very good line of work to be in.  But I'm quite sure they'll be moving.  A rise in sea level and a nice hurricane now and then will push some west, it's a pretty sure thing a drought and heat coupled with expensive electricity for their AC units will push many north.  A reenactment of the famous dust bowl with aquifers drying up and poor mono crop farming practices will surely send some East.  Slowly but surely, over the next century Americans are going to return to a pattern of land development started in the 1800's. 

When we glide back down the bell curve of decline then, it's a safe bet that using history as a guide will tell you the areas they'll return to.  Reading a urban design book will tell you what makes towns go from trade routes, to agricultural cultural industrial centers.  What towns need to grow and how they develop isn't something they teach in schools much anymore...but you can find out.  Then do a little historical research and see how your town came about.  Was it an agricultural center located near a rail line, canal, or navigable body of water?  If you can find one conveniently located near all three I bet you'll find an old rotted rust belt city that formerly bustled with wealth and affluence.  Purchasing in those areas, where things are currently cheap, then....should be a good recipe.  That is if you're lucky enough to choose correctly and not get whacked in the process with the same sort of disasters we're sure to see coming regularly down the pike (and can no longer afford to rebuild after).

And so my little group met.  Reassuring ourselves that our ideas our sound.  That our religion is true and that others will die a fiery death because they have yet to repent and live their lives embracing our simpler live with less creed.  Ignoring evidence that seems to disagree with our hypothesis.  All the normal things humans do.  Then I returned home to the apartment faced with the task of insulating, weather stripping, etc.  Satisfied that my religion, my choice of beliefs about the path of our future, have prepared me for what lay ahead.  I had spent the evening preaching to the choir....and it was good.

So I have, or soon will have, purchased in an area where air conditioning is not a necessity.  Where water is abundant, sea level is not predicted to reach, transportation and trade are less dependent on cheap energy, etc.  I've also created, invested in, or assisted in the development of businesses that have, in the past...proven to be resistant to economic contraction, and spent time obtaining skills and building a like minded community.  All this in the hope that, while there are still resources flying around practically free for everyone (who's passport happens to have an eagle on the cover), I can grab them and use them to prepare for the future we're sure to get....not the future we want to get, or hope to get....or in the case of most Americans...require for survival.

As a side note....I regret to inform you that yet again....I've done something horribly stupid and injured myself.  You much as I like to scream self righteous, self congratulatory babble on my blog...I'm really a dumbass.

Charles Darwin gives me a frown..

This weekends feeble minded dipshit move was to decide to check the fire escape on the building next to the bar my friend owns to verify it worked properly.  The act was, possibly, influenced by an apparent inability of my body to take in and metabolize large quantities of ethanol (drank in the form of beer).  You see, the 3rd story has a fire escape with a wonderful view.  From there you can go down to the 2nd story....but after that you need to "ride" down the ladder as it will slide down with your weight (but stays raised so the local hooligans do not have access to your building).  It's a safe bet that "riding" down the ladder is best done from the fire escape.  As it turned out....running through the bar, launching yourself out the window, and grabbing the ladder to ride it down (in true Jackie Chan fashion) has a few less than desirable side effects....even if there seems to be a large pile of snow at the bottom to cushion your fall.  The side effects, which I didn't really feel when I initially landed with a thud on a less than cushiony pile of snow....seems to be some sort of injured (but luckily not broken) bone in your foot and irritation of tendonitis in your ailing knees..... DOH!!! Sorry Dad....I'm an idiot.  Looks like a few weeks or more of only biking for me :-(  If you don't see me on the bike path....look for me here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Because it was there

I did a big ride tonight and now I can't sleep.  Doh!!  Did too much I guess.   I started around 7 and went until about 10:30.  It was cold.  So cold in fact that I stopped along the way looking for some newspaper or plastic to shove in my outfit.  I found one of those dog poo bag dispensers, took off my shoes, put the bags over my socks, and put my shoes back on.  Then I slid a couple down my arms and one on my chest.  Then I was better.

I did the normal route downtown until I got to the Key Bridge.  I felt really good tonight.  I wandered through Georgetown, then went slight right on Pennsylvania.  Figured I'd see how Barry and Michele were getting along.  There's all this construction in front of their house for the inauguration.  The entire streets full of  enormous stadium seating.  They only have a narrow sidewalk since the road is closed meaning I had to mix with the pedestrians.

From there I rode over around the mall and down to the fish market.  I hung out there a bit and watched a big gang playing some sort of card game for money.  They were so animated that at first I thought it was a fight.  They were just into the game.  I couldn't catch on to how the game was played and I sort of stuck out there in my spandex, so I continued on.

I went over to the Anacostia river trail.  I followed that until I got into the rough part of town and then I did a few loops through the neighborhoods people watching.  What a cold miserable night for those poor homeless people.  After some people watching I headed back over to the river.  Instead of getting on the river trail I went on down to the train station.  I wanted to see where the homeless man in Alexandria told me you can get on the trains.  Sure enough there's a curve where the trains slow way down.

From there the road followed the tracks so I took that until it dead ended at the river.  It wasn't exactly an area where you dilly-dally so instead of turning back where I came, I made the instant decision to cross the train trestle.  It was a bit tough in my cycling shoes carrying my bike.  At first it's normal with rocks between the ties, then once you're over the river it gets a bit more precarious.  As I got over to the other side the US Park Police came over and nabbed me.  Turns out they prefer only train traffic to traverse the train trestle.  Bummer.   They gave me a pretty good lecture about the inauguration and them being on high alert.  They asked me why I was out on the bridge and I told them I was headed this way and it was there.  They were sure I had bombs hidden under my spandex and I thought they might be wanting to do a cavity search so I kept quiet and said yes sir a lot.  They sat me in their car and ran my social security number and lectured me some more.  Then they sent me on my way.

From there I circled back to the stadium until I could see the capital.  Then I went along the Potomac back through Georgetown and back towards home.  By then I had like 3hrs out there and I was starting to get tired.  When I got back to the W&OD I decided to time myself home.  I pretty much went as hard as I could.  It took me 45:33.  Doing a bit of math that means I averaged 24miles per hour.  That's pretty good with the hill at the finish and all that.  I felt my power drop pretty bad the last 7 or 8 minutes.  Probably did 26mph until the hills and then it dropped down.  I guess I should look into a power meter again.

Ok, off to sleep.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Making progress

I've been diligently going to my physical therapy as well as doing my physical therapy at home.  I took around 3 weeks off completely from running and only biked twice.  Sunday I did my first pain free bicycle ride.  I still feel a bit of pain here and there when I climb stairs or kneel.  The doctor thinks I should wait an other week or two before I start running.  She said I can bike to extremes as long as I'm very diligent about stretching and foam rolling, etc.

I've been pouring my energies into the building purchase lately instead.  The darned bank is asking for documents written in blood, documents to support the documents, documents to support the validity of the blood, and so on.  It's such a pain in the ass.  The current owner hadn't been renewing the leases of the people which basically makes them month to month rentors.  The bank required leases so I had to work with all of the rentors to setup leases.  Of course they were all scared I was giving them the boot or raising their rents or pestering them about their cats (that aren't permitted) or any other number of things.  I like it though.  It's better than IT work.

I travel there this weekend for the inspection.  It should take 8 hours.  The inspector likes to have the buyer accompany him so it'll be a good chance to see all the details of the building.  We'll get up on the roof, check the masonry that's worrying me, etc.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I'm also going to try to talk the owner, who has the law office on the first floor, into a zero dollar lease.  Instead of giving his asking price with a mandatory 2yr lease, I'll lower the per month rent price, take that off the offer, effectively giving him a free stay for 2 years.  I have a few things in mind like that.  We'll see.

Last time I was home I started the process of getting my mom's place ready.  The house is done and for sale so now I'm on to my aunt's place and the apartment my mom was thinking to use.  I did about 70% of the insulation last trip and that was a tough but rewarding job.  I re plumbed the bathroom sink and bathtub and ran a better drain line in the kitchen.  This trip I'll finish that insulation.  Going to need to tear up a board in the attic and blow in insulation there.  Then the nasty job of climbing into the small attic, feeding the hose in there, turning it on, and slowly dragging it out as it fills...over and over for each run.  That'll be a tough job.

My mom, aunt, and I used my works meeting software to go over our plans for the layout of the place.  My mom decided to just stay on my aunts side and they'll rent out the apartment instead.  They have some agreement worked out.  I'll need to add a wall to make it a 2 bedroom apartment.  It's an awkward space so I'll need to stand in there and think a bit.  I'll also add a wall on the east side of the house because it's only the concrete wall there with no insulation on either side.  Brrrrr!!!!   My mom found my nail gun and compressor so I'm all set with that.  Non weight bearing walls go up quick.  Then insulate and drywall (ugh...mudding, taping, and sanding sucks!)

The living room has original hardwood floor I'll need to refinish. The kitchen and laundry room will get cheap laminate "wood" flooring.  The bedroom needs a layer of plywood and then new carpeting.  I'm going to get away with not raising the exterior door by leaving it just concrete there and shaving a board to cover the 1/2 inch step up.  It's not ideal...but it's an apartment.  After that mom will paint and get it rented.  My aunts mortgage is $480 a month and I researched rents in the area and we should be able to get around $350-400.   My mom's really into this property management stuff.  She's really enjoying helping me, planning, and reading all the information I send her about how to manage tenants.  I think she sees investing in real estate with me as a ticket out of the factory before she's 90 so she's really soaking it up.  It's awesome to work with her.

I've had some interesting dates lately.  My binders full of women seem to get out of hand or I get frustrated, then just when I decided I'm done chasing women it seems they turn to chasing I can't get out either way.  Last week this Russian girl I'd been flirting with for an entire year called me out of the blue and asked me out.  I found myself sitting across from her on our date in total awe.  She's the absolute most beautiful woman I've ever been on a date with.  I usually never lack confidence with women but I found myself sitting there thinking I'd never land this chick....

But she's continued to text me.  So we'll see.    I also got an email on my dating website from another Russian girl.  She hadn't filled out her profile or added a picture or anything, so I was reluctant to even respond.  She asked me out and then seemed frustrated that I was busy.  Then sent me a nasty email saying she wasn't on this site to find a penpal and if I wanted to meet I better hop to it.  I explained to her that if she couldn't even be bothered to put in the effort to fill out her profile or correspond to people....or even share her picture....that I'd just assume she was a fat hairy Russian man.  I'm not into fat hairy Russian she needs to do some work on that profile, be nicer, or move on.  Seems she has taken the last option.  Dasvidania

I've also been talking to a friend from high schools sister.  It's actually a sort of funny story.  I was there for the Grape Jamboree and was helping out at my buddies bar when this cute blond came in.  My friend Jennifer came over and introduced us and I used the both of them to assist me with standing.  Before too long it seems my hand found its way into places that it shouldn't.  She didn't seem to mind but there was another young man in the bar that wasn't excited with my tactile exploration.  Luckily her brother, who is my friend, got rid of the fellow for me.

Anyways, turns out a few months later she went ahead and got rid of that fellow for good.  She found out I was in town recently and asked Sonny for my information, and has been writing me.  She's an interesting character.  I'm enjoying corresponding with her.