Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Perpetual (Un)Happiness

Behold The Marathon Photo.

Photobucket

This is The Marathon Photo. The one that goes on the wall. The only marathon photo to go on the wall. Is it my fastest marathon? No. Is it my slowest? No. Was it my funnest? No.

Now why would this photo go on the wall and not the photo from my fastest marathon? (Besides the fact that it's the only one in which I'm not crying, pulling an ugly face or peeing myself?)

Because it's a reminder. A reminder that 12 years ago, when I started the running of many miles, I ooooh'd and awe'd over how awesome it would be to finish a marathon in as little as 3 hours 15 minutes. I had daydreams, nightdreams, wetdreams, hoping that one day - after much hard work, lost toenails and blisters - I'd hit my ultimate goal of 3 hours 15 minutes.

I hit that 3:15 goal in 2007.

Setting a goal and making that goal generally makes one happy. Ecstatic. Over-the-top-giddy. And it does actually make one happy, ecstatic and over-the-top giddy. However, goal achievement tends to make us hungry. Hungry for more. In this case I was hungry for faster.

I wanted to run faster.

The next year, I trained harder and smarter. All the while, reminding myself that 3:15 is my lifetime goal. Anything faster than 3:15 is gravy - don't go mental over it. That next year, I kicked the pants out of my 3:15 lifetime goal (in ferocious weather, up hill both ways, carrying hot potatoes to keep my hands warm and feed the poor at the finish.)

Okay, so maybe I didn't kick the pants off of my lifetime goal but I sure as heck knocked the socks off of it.

Now. Knocking the socks off a lifetime goal - making gravy - generally makes one happy. Ecstatic. Over-the-top-giddy. Once again however, exceeding my lifetime goal made me hungry for more.

I wanted to run faster.

This year, I trained harder and smarter. All the while, reminding myself that 3:15 is my lifetime goal. Anything faster than 3:15 is gravy. Rabid darling, you've hit that 3:15 and made gravy - don't go mental over it.

Do you see the pattern? Of perpetual goal setting? To produce happiness?

Here's what I've discovered: Goal setting is a delicate balance. Setting and achieving goals makes us better people. The hunger to do better - to be better - is what motivates us to set goals and work towards meeting those goals. The hunger for better - the hunger for gravy - is what makes us better people.

There is, however, a caveat in this hungry-gravy-makin'-goal-setting perpetual process. In order for us to maintain perpetual happiness, we must have the ability to step back, review our accomplishments and be content. On many occasions, we must be okay without the gravy.

So what happens if we need gravy all of time? What happens if we must constantly outdo ourselves over and over and over to be okay? We end up in a vicious cycle of perpetual unhappiness. We drown ourselves in frustration while looking for gravy.

Goals = Perpetual (Un)Happiness

Here I sit now, two days before my 13th marathon. I have kinked my back (and not in a good kinky kind of way). I'm looking back at the 70 mile weeks. I'm counting the Saturday mornings surrendered to 20+ milers. I'm reliving the agony of 4:45am - almost every day. I'm reviewing the speedwork sessions - the ones in which wheezing was an always and barfing was an almost. And you know what I've decided?

I don't even like gravy.


-


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Most Hated Person In America

It's Tracey from the Biggest Loser.
(At least she's the most hated person in our house...)

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Say Something Smart

I want to say something smart.

Do you ever do that? Feel your life is missing a smart moment? One where you smile big, look up at the stars, and beat the tar out of your right shoulder? It's also one of those moments where the top right incisor sparks a beacon of light. Like Smiling Bob.

Photobucket

But not to be confused with this smiling Bob:

Photobucket

Or this smiling Bob:

Photobucket

Or even this smiling Bob:

Photobucket


Clearly, the Bobs are smiling for different reasons!

Was that smart? No? Let me try another.

So here I sit, in the metropolis of Deer Valley, just a stone's throw from the Stein Ericksonites. You don't know this but the Stein Ericksonites were once considered Nephites. Stein Erickson, his descendants and homeys, grew weary of the Nephite/Laminite squabbles. Stein and followers declared "Powder to be Righteous", moved west to find said Powder and established a ski resort of goofy proportion.

The goofiness stems from the duplication of ski lifts in all areas. All ski lifts have another identical lift riding right beside it! Goofy! Maybe because the Ericksonites are so tall? Maybe. The goofily proportioned ski resort has redeemed itself nicely with killer fish tacos (not fish tacos that kill, but fish tacos worth dying for) and Turkish rugs in the bathrooms.

Oh yeah, the Ericksonites met up with the Greeks somewhere in the middle of it all too. Had some world-wide competition to see who could ski down the fastest.

Was that smart? No? I'll try another.

Why, exactly, am I here among the Stein Ericksonsites? Well the Mom and the Moe are here. They do it every year. They ditch the Valley called Utah for weeks at a time to form a literal and figurative Rameumptom. It's literal because we're up here, like, way high... 8200 ft to be precise-ish. And its figurative because it's easy to turn your nose up on the plebeians below while abiding in a small sanctuary worth 8 million dollars. (Not to mention Steven Speilberg lives around the corner. Even seen 'im once.)

Was that smart? No? I'll try another.

Spouse is left at home. To work. And by work, I mean feed the dog, cover the holes the dog dug last night, water the dog, love the dog and earn money. By earn money, I mean grapple with the time-zones and language of other engineers. Yes. Time-Zones in the plural was on purpose. I am, however, becoming rather fond of the buzz Spouse's crackberry produces in the early hours of the a.m. while in bed.

Was that smart? No? I'll try another.

The Mom is currently dishing out the breakfast to both Yahoos while I write my drivel. In a few minutes, I plan a waggling run - to see how the back is recovering (It is! Say Gloria!) Afterwhich, I plan to shower, pack up the camera goo, drive to the corporate party and shoot.

Are you ready for the smart part? The kids are staying here, in the mountains, with the Mom and Moe. For two days!

Was that smart? Oh yes!
(Speaking of smart, Yahoo #2 just figured out that he's missing school today!)


And now some photos...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket
Yahoo #2. Where's Yahoo #1? Watching TV. Duh.


Photobucket
Morning view of Deer Valley

Photobucket
Morning view of Park City
with rectangular reference to the spot where Spouse broke his heels

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To Know Me Is To Read My Blog


If you read my blog, you know me.

Photobucket

You might also understand why a surprise package made me cry large tears.
Someone (guess who?) sent outfits for my marathon cheering section.
See below.


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Morning Dribble

I have an appointment with the Corporate People today. To go over expectations and whatnot for the gig we have together this weekend. I cannot stand up straight. Worst... I cannot stand up hunched over for more than a few minutes.

This is gonna be interesting.

The Yahoos have school at 8:00am today instead of 9:15am. Why? Because four days a year, the school takes it upon themselves to rearrange the schedules of 300-400 families so that each parent-student combo can meet their teachers for a few minutes. I get all sorts of ranty over this. Yahoo #1 has a piano lesson every Thursday at 8:30am. This is the Utopian piano lesson spot. We have the lesson then we go to school.

It's as slick as the axle grease Grandpa uses on his Do.

Four times a year, the grade-school administration changes school from 9:15am to 8:00am. Two of those events land on Thursday. Do you see the scheduling conflict? We have school at 8:00 on two Thursdays a year. We have a piano lesson at 8:30 on those same two Thursdays.

Those of you who know me well, can already guess how this conflict is handled. But since some of you do not know me all that well, let me fill you in on the action. (Don't laugh! The piano lesson presents lots of action at our house.) On those two Thursdays, the Yahoo goes to school late.

Piano is Priority.
(The Teacher Transcends the Paramount of Piano. We do not Ruffle her Roost.)

I started this post to show how awkward the morning proceedings were and ended up on a rant! Wow. Where will I go next?

I will now go to the Morning Dribble.

- Alarm sounds. Turn off. Rest.
- Brush teeth. Rest.
- Wake Yahoos. Throw clothes on the beds of Yahoos and instruct to put on. Rest
- Give instructions to Yahoos for breakfast. Rest.
- Ask Spouse to drive Yahoos to school. Rest.
- Read e-mail and such. Can rest while doing this.
- Shower. Standing for 3 minutes. Sit for 15 minutes. Get out. Put on robe.
- Rest.
- Squeegee shower. Rest.
- Replace robe with clothes. Rest
- Look for physical therapist available today. Make appointment.
- Wrap wet hair in ponytail. Rest.
- Pluck chin hairs. Rest.
- Apply skin resurfacing and youthanizing makeup (not to be confused with euthanizing.)
- Rest.
- Pack up camera goo. Rest. Rest some more. Blog while resting.
- Gather strength to carry camera goo to car.

Look at all this rest. And I'm planning a 26.2 in 11 days? Hoping for a faster time than last year?

Oh mercy. Bless my heart!

Monday, September 21, 2009

In A Pickle

I'm in such a pickle! And I don't know where to start! And there are hardly enough exclamation points in my rationing* to express it completely! I've hurt my back! Again! And the Skelaxin ain't doin' shit!** And I'm shooting a corporate coterie Friday and Saturday! And I have a marathon in 13 days!

Pickle.

Pickle doesn't sound all that bad, right? I mean pickles are tasty. I like pickles. The reason I'm only in a pickle, instead of... say... a canned sardine with no zipper, is because The Winder brought us dinner. All the way from Sandy. In traffic. With an 18-month-old in tow. While the vehicle runs on nothing but fumes. Uphill both ways. Without a cell phone. Hiding the car so her parents don't drive by and demand a visit (the parents live blocks away).


*Megan says one should be allowed three exclamation points per day. I agree with her. However... if you don't use all three in one day, can you roll them over to the next and the next? You've heard of Rollover Minutes, can we have Rollover Exclamation Points?

**It's great to be anonymous. Then the corporate people don't know it's truly me that says "shit." I mean seriously. Nobody wants a photographer that says "shit." Photographers don't say that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Loops and Merits

I've been thinking.

Runners hate injuries. Hate. Hate. HATE!

Injured runners are borderline psychotic. Might as well put them in a round room and tell them to pee in the corner. (Yes, that kind of psychosis - the psychosis that warrants straight jackets and shock therapy.)

Now. How do I know this to be true? Did I make it up? Absolutely not!

I've been an injured runner.

Today I was checking on a dear running mate with a stress fracture, so as to lend support with comforting words of encouragement. (And to see if the shock therapy provides her with the same rush as it did for me.)

She has a stress fracture in the foot. I've had a stress fracture in the foot. Hurts like hell. Worse, it's not like it's bad enough to use crutches or anything like that. Basically running is completely out of the question and you walk on it as little as possible for 6 weeks. It's enough to drive one bonkers. (Remember the round room? Pee in the corner? Yeah that kind of bonkers.)

During the conversation with my injured compatriot, I said something like, "I guess a stress fracture just happens to anyone who pounds out the mileage. It's not if you get a stress fracture, it's when. So... consider this your rite of passage. You've had your stress fracture, now you can move on!"

This is when I started thinking.

What if we treated our injuries like belt loops and merit badges? Like the Boy Scouts do? Wouldn't that be great? Then instead of saying, "Bummer. I've got ITBS!" One can say, "I just earned by ITBS merit badge!"

Rewards!

We could design belt loops and patches. Minor injuries would get belt loops. Major injuries would get a full on badge. Once you've earned each injury's merit badge, get your mom to sew the badge onto the ancestral running outfit.

Wear that outfit with pride on race day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Celebrate!

This is what I'm doing.... today... and tomorrow... and prolly the next day too.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Trust Is A Four Letter Word - Part II

As mentioned in Part I of Trust Is A Four Letter Word, I had a 24 hour run-in that involves Trust. It was a day of reoccurring themes.

First, it began with my realization that I trust Spouse and it only took me 9 years and as many months! (Don't laugh - I don't claim to be quick at anything.)

This got me thinking about the many people I trust. Which frankly, aside from Spouse, is no one. I trust different people with different things. For example, I trust that Vera will provide me with great music 99% of the time. There's still that 1% risk with her - that she might throw some garbage tunes my way. (But even with that 1% risk, there really isn't any risk in a garbage tune is there?)

I Trust that Megan will take great pictures, that my other Megan will generate a literary masterpiece and that Rookie will produce something good to eat. I Trust that my Dad will tell me a good story, make me laugh and inspire me to do better. I Trust that my sister would drop everything right-this-minute to help me or anyone I ask. I Trust the Yahoos to ensure wacky and frustration all at the same time. I Trust the Winder will be my friend forever.

I Trust lots, but not completely.

Another example? The running gang. I trust that they will run what I want to run, if it works into their convenience and/or schedules. Some might alter their schedules for me, others might not. It all depends.

I look sideways while making decisions. Whenever I say "yes" to anything, I calculate the risks involved. Risks that include time, money, and the ability to exit easily. I've always got me a trap door somewhere. I will not hand myself over to anyone - for complete control - ever.

The second time this theme of Trust came up was when I paid visit to my doctor.

Every-so-often, actually less often these days, I have a back episode. Some call them spasms, but I like to call them episodes. During these episodes, the lower back attached to my body goes on strike. Refuses to straighten or bend without yelling at me. Basically stops me in my tracks. I've tried lots of things. And what works best is a little muscle relaxant called Skelaxin. Great stuffs. Loosens the goose without making me stupid(er).

As luck would have it, my subscription to Skelaxin has run out. I have no more. I hadn't had an episode in almost a whole year, so prior to this episode, I thought maybe I didn't need it anymore. Didn't renew my subscription.

Sunday morning brought me a back episode. Monday morning I called the doc - Trusting that it might be as many as three days before I could get an appointment. "Can you be in here in 45 minutes?" they said. "Why yes!" I screamed.

And so I drove over and hobbled up to the office. The check-in lady announced that my paperwork needed to be updated. I said okay and began the arduous task of writing the same eight pieces of information over and over.

There were two items on this paper that I refused to fill in. They were: Patient SSN and Spouse SSN. I printed a giant NA in the space next to those items. It's Trust people... I don't Trust my precious SSN or Spouse's SSN with anyone.

The nice lady then produced a lecture on the importance of having the SSNs. I asked "Why?" She said, "Because we use it for billing." I said, "The insurance company no longer uses our SSN. I'm sure of it. You have a number for him on the insurance card." She said, "I know, but we need it for billing." Again, I said, "Why?"

The battle of the SSNs went back 'n forth until I sprung a light bulb. "Spouse comes here. Do you have it on file for him? If he gave you the okay to get his SSN then you can get it from there."

I knew they didn't have Spouse's SSN because he goes to the mattresses with a Mini 14 over giving out his SSN. But I knew it would buy me time. Just get me into the doc so he can get me the wonder-drug for standing up straight already!

As the SSN jabbery was going back and forth, the nurse called me in. I hobbled into the back room and she asked me to get on the scale. I got on the scale backwards - because I don't Trust myself with that number. It's just a number, I know. But no matter what shows up, it always makes me feel bad. It's my "skinny" time of year. I feel skinny because all my skinny clothes fit. You tell me I weigh XXX and I'm not going to feel skinny any more. It's that simple.

(I don't Trust scales. That's why we don't have one in the house.)

Then I hobbled into the doc's office and opened my book. Strangely enough, I didn't make it through even a paragraph before the doc walked in. There goes that Trust thing again! I Trust that I will wait in your office for at least 30 minutes. I Trust that the extra waiting time will grant me a much needed reading break. I can't even Trust that I'll wait in the doc's office anymore!

Doc asked, "What are you reading?" I showed him. He asked what it was about. I told him. Then he said, "I'm reading this great book. It's by Stephen Covey's son." I said, "Oh yeah. What's it called?"

"The Speed Of Trust," the doc said.

"You don't say....."

Trust Is A Four Letter Word

I see you now... counting the letters in T-R-U-S-T... and yes you can count right. There are five letters in Trust, not four. But "Four Letter Word" has become a metaphor that represents all things bad or uncouth or socially unacceptable.

For me, Trust is not something I accept socially. It's earned. With blood, sweat and tears (if necessary).

Several things have transpired in the last 24 hours, things that have forced the realization that I don't trust much. Actually I don't trust at all. Sad, isn't it?

It all began with a conversation Spouse and I had last night while trapped in the car together. We were returning from the town of Park City after a day of food 'n fun with my family. We were discussing the merits of marriage. Or better yet, how, when it comes to matrimony, one can only control one's own merits.

If the significance of your other turns out to be an uncompromising monster, well... there's only so much you can do: 1) Tolerate or 2) Leave.

Lucky fer us, Spouse and I feel the same about this topic. And we both agree that there are several activities that justify the Leave option.

During this conversation, I kinda unloaded one on him.

To tell the story properly, you'll need some background. I've been married twice. Spouse is my second. The first guy doesn't deserve spouse as a pronoun. He gets to be Jimmy.

Spouse is an earned pronoun. Jimmy is not. We refer to The X as Jimmy because it's hard to sound angry when you say "Jimmy." Say it right now with me.... "Jimmy." See? Can't be mad and say Jimmy all at the same time. (I spent five years and bookoo bucks on therapy, in the hopes to shed that boulder-sized chip on my shoulder over The X. Calling him Jimmy is part of that therapy.)

I had trouble with trust before Jimmy. And being as divorces are notorious for building confidence and whatnot, I was a trustless wreck once that decree was signed, sealed and delivered.

Issues.

Then I met Spouse (Boyfriend back then.) Bless his heart. Boyfriend used to take me fun and exciting places. And more times that five, he giggled a bit while brushing his hands across my shoulders, to remove a chip or two. Boyfriend put up with lots of junk. A year of it.

After a year of excitement, it came time to Sh**-or-Get-Off-The-Pot, so to speak. This is a crass way of saying Get-Thee-Married-or-Go-Thine-Own-Way.

In the which I flipped and went my own way.

Boyfriend wasn't so happy. Long story short: We split for almost a year, regrouped after buying Harley Davidsons, dated for three months, became engaged and were married five weeks later.

Now back to our Normal Programming - in the which I tell you all about unloading one on Spouse last night.

Spouse and I were trapped in the car, talking about marriage. I revealed that when making the decision to marry him, "having a third [husband] was completely out of the question. I decided during that Sh**-or-Get-Off-The-Pot phase of our courtship that there will not be a third husband. Ever. If I choose you, that's it. If you didn't work, I would spend the rest of my life alone."

Do you see the gravity involved? With the decision of marrying for the second time? You don't get a second chance with your second husband. You've already blown your second chance. That's one of the many hundreds of reasons I ran like hell when the "M" word began it's inaugural discussions.

The first time you marry, it's all roses that stink. Everyone knows it's hard. I knew it would be hard. But I'd work and bend and compromise. And we'd learn to get along. The first marriage never comes with even a hint that it might end.

The problem here, however, is that I assumed that the other would work and bend as much as I would. Not so. Learned that the hard way - after three years of pain-pill addictions, the horror of sporadic weekend detoxification and finally... a girlfriend. (Not to mention that day I came home to the Russian drug lord on my front porch! Oh the horror...! Do I have horrors....!)

Let me give you those two choices again: 1) Tolerate or 2) Leave.

So here I was, telling Spouse that while weighing the "I do" decision that goes with marrying him, I had doubts. Of it working. Of him working as hard as I would. Of his ability to compromise.

The doubts won and I ran.

But then I came back. Because I believed it would work. I knew he'd work as hard as I would. I knew he'd compromise.

Still do.

In Spouse I Trust!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Taper Time!

When it comes to running, there's Hammer Time and then there's Taper Time.

Hammer time is training time. In the Rabidrunner marathon cycle, Hammer Time is 9 weeks long. That's 9 weeks of 60-70 miles a week. If I had unnecessary arrogance, I'd say something like, You Can't Touch This. But truthfully you can. Lots of people do it.

Just this morning, I finished my highest mileage week ever - 73.5. That's 73.5 GPS-tracked miles. What does GPS-tracked mean? That those 73.5 miles are legit, making me Too Legit To Quit.

How does one run 73.5 miles in one week? Let's spell it out, shall we?

Monday: 23
Tuesday: 5
Wednesday: 12.5
Thursday: 10
Friday: 5
Saturday: 18

It hurts to be me right now. (More than usual.)

Now that Hammer Time is over, it's Taper Time. Which means 55-59 miles next week, 45 the week after that, then MARATHON WEEK! (I get all loony and such such thinking about it!)


Note: I had this clever little ditty planned that would weave Hammer Tunes smoothly into my Hammer Time / Taper Time post. But that guy and his fancy-pants had only two songs. Really. If only MC's fancy pants were Hammer Tunes, oh what a bright post this would be!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

To The Nines

I get excited about extraordinary things. Things that don't happen very often. Christmas and birthdays happen often. I don't get excited about Christmas and birthdays. But then you already knew that. One might argue that Christmas only comes around once a year, thus making it special. But I disagree. Although Christmas comes around only once a year, it's around entirely too much during that once a year.

I get excited about unusual things. Things like 9/9/9 (September 9, 2009.) That was yesterday. It will be a hundred years before 9/9/9 rolls around again. (If I'm lucky, and boy do I hope I get lucky, I won't live to see the next one.)

That's why 9/9/9 was a special day. A day for celebration. A day for extraordinary things.

Somewhere around 13 months ago, it was 8/8/8. Do you know what I did on this 8/8/8? The only 8/8/8 of my existence? I ran 8 miles. That's it. And I didn't even do it at 8:00. I remember the day after - 8/9/8 - as a day of remorse. A day of mourning. A day of anguish. A day for penance. I vowed on this 8/9/8, that I would never let a special day of this magnitude slip through my aging phalanges.

And so on this 9/9/9, I planned 9 special and extraordinary things.
  1. Completed 9 loads of laundry. (Had to split one of the loads up so that 8 loads became 9. Sacrifices, I tell ya. Sacrifices.)
  2. Took 9 ibuprofen. (Not all at once, however. Had you scared, huh? Although you don't know the milligrams in each ibuprofen, so shame on you for making rash judgments.)
  3. Made and listened to the "9" playlist. (Which included 99 Luft Balloons, Karn Evil 9, #9 Dream and many others.)
  4. Listened to Beethoven's 9th, 9 times. (But not in entirety. That would be, like, 9 hours!)
  5. Grocery shopped and purchased only items that contain a 9 in the price. (Except the chocolate milk - the chocolate milk didn't have a 9 in the price. It was an emergency. I felt a bonk coming and chocolate milk is the best for beating the bonk. Speaking of beats, beets were .99 - I heart beets! - so I bought 9 cans.)
  6. Made mini loaves of bread, shaped like 9s. (Handed 'em out to 9 friends).
  7. Sent Megan the theme song for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (She's my favorite Trekie.)
  8. Made 9 layer dip. (Beans, jalapenos, taco seasoning, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, olives, tomatoes, green onions. I listed them only because I knew you'd call me on that one.)
  9. Went to bed at 9:00. (But didn't sleep until I finished 9 pages of Atlas Shrugged. Which is taking me 9 months to finish.)

  10. Are you feeling remorse now? Because you missed out on the Nine Action? Not to worry! 10/10/10 is a year away! You can start planning now.

Photobucket


    -

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Breakfast With Beethoven

The Yahoos take 1.5 hours to do three things:

1) Get Dressed
2) Comb Hair
3) Eat Breakfast

Is an hour and a half necessary for those three things? NO. I've tried everything short of bribery to get 'em to speed it up. Yesterday I reinvented a new strategy.

It's called Breakfast With Beethoven.

Here's how Breakfast With Beethoven works: I play one of Beethoven's Symphonies. If my squirming Yahoos finish their designated responsibilities before the symphony ends, they get to turn off the symphony. If they are not finished with dressing and breakfast before the symphony is finished, there will be consequences. Consequences that may or may not involve wearing a powdered wig to school. (Some of those symphonies are well over 30 minutes long. I don't think I'm asking much.)

Today's Breakfast Symphony was Beethoven's 9th. Being as today is 9/9/9, I figured it was appropriate. And speaking of this 9/9/9 only-comes-around-once-every-hundred-years phenomenon... I have serious plans for celebration.

Stay tuned for a complete 9-part recap.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Rabid Beaters Part II

As mentioned earlier, the Rabid has been beaten to a pulp by the egg beater peddles. Did the peddles actually beat me? No. But they locked me in for good so as the rocks in Alpine could.

I test software. I do so part-time. I used to test software full-time. In fact, I used to test Spouse's software (that's how we met, romantic eh? Me telling him what he's doing wrong?) I test his hardware now.

Do you know what makes a good tester? ISOLATION. As in... find the precise location of problem by removing variables.

Step One: Define your problem.

I cannot get out of my Candy SL egg beater peddles. If I concentrate real hard and can anticipate a stop that allows, say, 5 seconds, I can get out of said peddles. Emergency pull-outs are a bust. And isn't it great these Candy SLs don't have testicles? Someone might get knocked-up.

Step Two: Define variables.

1) Bike. Newish. Fine piece of gear. Red. And named Jules.
2) Peddles. New fer sure. Expensive. Recommended by bike shop. Even when I said, "Just beginning."
3) Me. Newish to biking. Good balance (not great). Best shape of my life. Has a motorcycle endorsement on driver's license.

Step Three: Isolate variables.

1) Bike. Works fine with standard peddles. Emergency pull-outs are fine. Bike can be eliminated.
2) Peddles. Girl on trail mentioned she hates my peddles. Had them for one ride and got-thee-rid of them. Peddles are installed in beginner fashion, with 15 degree release (as opposed to 20). Shoes have shim to help. Peddles have 6 degree float - meaning they wiggle 6 degrees while locked in. Source at MTBR.COM says: "I have been using for 3 weeks and I still keep falling every time I do an emergency stop. The worst thing is I'm on the ground fighting to get up and they still WON'T come off." This echos my sentiments. (Thanks to Brian for the research.)
3) Me. Rabid Beater Peddles might be the problem, but the me variable still exists. In order to isolate peddles as the potential botheration, someone else must use them. This someone else must be an experienced rider who has mastered the emergency pull-out. This someone else is Spouse. Spouse must use the Rabid Beaters to see if this malfunction belongs to The Egg Beater Peddles (Crank Brothers Candy SL) or the Rider (Rabidrunner).

And so Spouse installed my peddles on his bike. Rode up the street and back. "Spooky," said he. Spouse wants them off!

And so Spouse installed his peddles (and cleat) onto my bike (and shoes). I rode up the street and became instantly pissed. There is no comparison.

Spouse's Peddles: You think twist. The foot twists. The foot is free.
Rabid Beaters: You think twist. You twist. You wiggle a bit and you think foot is free. It's not! Crash. You get on the bike and you try it again. Until bloody with determination.

Therefore, using my Scientific Testing Procedures, I declare:
Peddle Perplexity belongs to the Crank Brothers Candy SL, not the Rabid.

Now I gotta figure out how to get my money back.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Rabid Beaters

These things, these Egg Beaters, are death traps.

These things, these Egg Beaters, are snares, made to lock you into position, so as the enemy can take you out. These things, these Egg Beaters, are bits of metal, designed by fancy-pants engineers and marketed by cycling powerhouses. Marketing powerhouses that persuade little people like me with the Promise of Awesome Mountain Biking. Mountain Biking available only to those who have these things, these Egg Beaters.

Might as well be Rabid Beaters.



-

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bowl Cut

Spouse and I just finished Gangs Of New York. It's an uplifting flick, one that will leave you feeling all rosy inside. (Note that I'm kidding here - just in case you didn't catch my dry-as-paprika sense of humor.)

Also note that I don't frequent movies with "R" ratings. I do, however, make excuses (or justifications - whatever) for "R" movies that include A) Something Historical, B) Great Costumes or C) Collin Firth.

You can see that Gangs of New York hit the jackpot in my "R" rated rationalization by having both Something Historical AND Great Costumes. And instead of Collin Firth, they've got Daniel Day Lewis, which is a close second to Collin Firth. We all know Collin Firth didn't get the job as Bill the Butcher because, well frankly, he just ain't scary enough.

Can you see Collin? In a top hat and striped pants? Using fierce language and coercing the plebeians with do-it-or-I'll-chop-off-your-finger threats? Wouldn't fly. Collin should stick to the Jane Austen flicks. Poor guy. Typecast as a romantic schmuck.

So here's how the Rabidrunner watches the "R" shows. She puts the kiddies to bed, winds up the ol' movie playing unit (the DVR on the Dish's Receiver in this case) and watches a bit before bed time. (It's a good movie if she stays awake through the duration of that "bit." And it usually takes at least two nights to get through each filthy flick. So conclude here, dear reader, that "bit" is not an entire movie.) To avoid inappropriate brain stamps, she fast forwards through the sex and covers her eyes when the characters stab each other. Sometimes she covers the ears too. Because stabbing sounds can be quite graphic.

There are several underlying themes in this Gangs of New York Film (all of which are mostly true): Irish Immigration, Political Corruption, Slavery, The Civil War, Racism, Territorial Disputes, Rich Folks Dodging the Draft and last but not least, How to Control People With Fear.

Yes folks. You can control people with fear. If people are afraid of what you might do to them, they will succumb to your intimidation and do exactly and precisely what you want. (They'll also call you sir too. Bonus!)

I want in on that action.

So as Bill The Butcher (for Bill really was a butcher - had a butcher shop where he sold various cuts of meat) is explaining to Leonard O'Caprio (Leo is Irish in this movie, not Eye-Talian, so he should have an "O" instead of a "Di")... as Bill The Butcher is explaining his fear-impelling methods of control to Leonard O'Caprio, by unraveling his use of public hangings and finger removals and public brutality, I was thinking about how I could use this fear thing to control people.

Then I remembered My Bowl.
(My bowl is a metaphorical place where I list my many extracurriculars, each on it's own piece of paper. The idea is that I'll reach in and pull something out when I become bogged down and overwhelmed).

I also remembered a certain comment The Winder made on this Bowl Post about not wanting her name put in that bowl. The Winder didn't want the cut. Or even the chance that she'd get the cut.

Ah hah! Light bulb! Can you say: Bill the Butcher meets The Bowl?

Consider this your warning. Do what I want or I'll put you in the bowl.
Give you The Bowl Cut.

-

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Something's Gotta Go!

Megan says she misses me. And being as Megan is my very bestest cyber friend, I better do something about it. Trouble is, I'm swamped. And not in that I-have-so-frickin-much-I-gotta-do kind of swamped. It's more of that, I-have-so-frickin-much-I-wanna-do kind of swamped. When I get in this mode of wanting to do it all, that tiny little mind o' mine turns to mush. (Actually, it's more like quicksand because every train of thought sinks.)

So what do I want to say today? (I still don't know!)

I can start by saying the photography workshop was a success. In all of my short 25 years (hehehe), I've yet to have more fun learning. It was a weekend of high-energy, soak-it-up fun. In the market for a photography workshop? Watch Nichole Van. She'll be issuing more workshops soon.

After coming home, I was ready to pursue the photography thing aggressively. Until now, I let the business trickle in, without searching out potential customers or marketing myself. Now? I'm hungry to take pictures. Hungry. Hungry. Hungry.

Trouble is... I'm swamped (member?)

Sunday evening, I came clean to Spouse. "Something's gotta go," I told him.

"What do you want to give up?" He asked.

"I cannot decide. I should put all my extra curriculars in a bowl and draw one out at random."

"You'd leave it to chance?" Spouse said.

"Might have to. Beats making a decision."

And so I created the list of extra-curriculars, so that I could type each one up onto a piece of paper and put it in a dish. What was on this list? Why... let me tell you!

Running, laundry, showering, wearing makeup, going to church, blogging, e-mail, the tax job (which incidentally is bashing me in the face with busy right now), vacations, Yahoo #1, watching TV, hat making, yard work, movies, retrieving the mail, mountain biking, lunching with friends, organ lessons, Yahoo #2, owning a car. The list could go on and on.

With that burdensome list clogging the nerves that control relaxation, I remembered that I hadn't done my visiting teaching in a couple months (visiting teaching is a religious ritual that I subscribe to - wherein I visit three women each month to ensure they're doing okay.)

I was feeling bad for not visiting. So I baked some bread and ran it over to their respective houses. Without revealing more than is necessary, lets just say that one of those loaves of bread was not welcomed warmly. I got an earful of chastisement for not coming around and helping her through the last few months. Told me not to come back.

I drove home, cried to Spouse with words of "I'm tryin" and stuff.

Then I put that lady's name on a colored piece of paper, scrunched it up and loaded it into my get-rid-of-stuff bowl. (The colored and scrunching will make it easy to pick.)

Not what Jesus would do, is it? Nope... Repent.