This blog goes to 11

A friend of mine pointed out that his blog turned 7 today. I was surprised because it was so close to my own “blogiversary.” (Does anyone still use that term?) So I checked and realized it wasn’t just close, it actually was my… anniversary of starting a blog. The old tradition was for me to forget about it until the 27th and then just copy and paste my entry from the previous year explaining what an idiot I was. Because, you know, keeping track of the day your blog started was very important at the time.

Anyway, since this is my first entry in a while and I probably haven’t talked to most of you outside of some random Facebooking, you should be able to guess that my “communicate more” thing hasn’t been panning out so well. But I will say that the health kick is definitely on the upswing. The gym around the corner finally opened and I’m already back up to 2.5 miles of running most days. Another week or so and maybe I’ll be back in my 5k form so that I can actually run a 5k.

Reading has definitely become a big focus and not only am I reading pretty much everyday, but I’ve already finished 4 books and am on pace for my challenge to read 24 this year. The photography and building hobbies are sort of on hold, but thanks to a trip to Disney World, spending time with The Kay has been more heavily prioritized. A lot of time spent with Legos has meant that sometimes she even wants to be with me instead of Mommy. Score one for Dad!

As for vinyl… well at least I’m listening to a lot of music in one form or another. And that reminds me, with new albums being dropped by the likes of St. Vincent, Wild Beasts, Beck, Neneh Cherry, Phantogram, Com Truise, etc. it’s about time I put a wrap on 2013. Maybe I’ll finally write something about the great albums from last year…

 

Just to keep ourselves at least enough to carry on

One of these days I should really write something long and unnecessarily expository about Neutral Milk Hotel. For those music nerds out there, you should already know what I’m talking about. But for the rest, those 3 words probably just cause confusion or indifference. So to make it simple I’ll just say that they are an indie rock back from the 90s led by Jeff Mangum who, after putting out 1 excellent and 1 epic album, disappeared for a decade.

After obsessing over those albums for years, I finally got a chance to see Jeff perform solo when he officially rejoined the human race back in 2011. He did not disappoint and, in spite of his reclusive nature, hinted that a full band reunion might just happen. As wonderful as hearing songs so near and dear in an such an intimate setting was, the prospect of the full-on, cacophonous, fuzz noise experience of Neutral Milk Hotel live kept me wanting for more.

Well, last night I got more.

I don’t think I could possibly convey how absolutely awesome the show was. There were accordions, uilleann pipes, a toy saxophone, magnificent beards, a pornstache, several types of horns, a questionable sweater, at least 3 hand saws, and one guy bowing a banjo. Combined it formed a joyous noise that kept us all on our feet for its entirety. It’s a shame it had to end – thankfully I’ve got a ticket for their Philly show in 2 weeks…

If you love Neutral Milk Hotel, get to one of their shows. And if you have no idea who they are, step outside of the usual and give them a listen.

 

New Year’s Revolutions

First of all, I love this commercial:

The deadpan “New Year’s revolution? Oh no.” reaction cracks me up.

Second of all, just like every discussion about “resolutions” I feel the need to state that I’m not really “into them”.  The idea of making a bunch of promises to yourself to make pretend that this is the year you won’t spend Sundays eating cheese and drinking beer in your underwear is just silly. Because when you spend Sundays eating cheese and drinking beer in your underwear, you’ve probably got enough disappoint going on in your life that realizing you broke a simple promise to yourself can only make things worse.

However the transition from the old year to the new one is a fairly appropriate time to reflect on what areas of ones life could stand some greater (or lesser) attention. And so I can disappoint other people as well as myself, let’s spell those out here. Continue reading

I miss blogging

I’ve been writing this post in my head for something like 2 or 3 months, but that’s just how difficult sitting down to post has become. And it’s one of the reasons I miss being here.

I know it’s an odd sentiment. We’re about to enter the year 2014. Even Jason Kottke declared the blog dead. Everybody prefers Facebook and twitter and tumblr and other sites missing capital letters and vowels and… common decency. And the realty is, if I want to blog all I have to do is log in and write something. There’s even a few posts from this very year proving that the capability is still very much mine.

But it goes beyond that. Over the past few months I started paying attention to the spiral downward of one of my previous favorite bloggers and it started to bother me. Not that I felt sorry for her situation – she clearly has brought it upon herself. Rather the fact that it’s all come to this… does that even make sense?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I actually miss the community and activity that revolved around blogging. Whether someone became famous or was just a guy across the Internet, there was a connection – many connections in fact – that could be made. Ads were a way to pay for hosting and branding was strictly for corporations. Bloggers (and readers) were excited to unveil new designs and every comment had the potential to start something.

At this point I’m obviously babbling. The thoughts were probably coherent weeks ago and instead it’s all just trickling out in little snippets. I’m not saying that posts galore will soon follow this vapid filler, but simply trying to convey the notion that the move away from individual blogs towards the insipid little blurbs that find their way to Facebook or the witty but hollow tweets and constant re-posting on other sites makes me sad.

Argh. Anyway, let’s just say that in the coming year I’d like to communicate more. Maybe that’s here. Maybe it’s over the phone. Maybe it’s via physical letters. Whatever the method, I need to find the connections that I used to find via this site.

Hope you had a good year and the next one is even better.

I just ran 3 miles

You probably already saw a mention on Facebook or Twitter from a couple weeks ago when I hit the 3 mile mark. That was true and false. My entire run in the morning had finally grown to 3 miles. But that still included the warm-up, cool-down, and breaks in the middle. My body was finally taking me through the entire first mile before I really hit a wall and had to slow down. While really great to be doing that well, it still wasn’t a solid 3 miles of running.

Today it was.

Three months ago when I first got up in the morning in the middle of a heat wave and put on sneakers to head out for my first “run” it took me about 34 minutes to walk 2.1 miles. I think I went around the high school track once and that constituted the entire “running” portion of the morning’s exercise. As my running increased and my time decreased, more laps were added and my route was adjusted. Eventually it was 4 laps at the track with long stretches of running. And then I got tired of the dirty looks from the gym class and decided to stop running at the high school.

So then I find myself on the road trying to find a new path. And I hit the mile mark. And I adjust my breathing. And I adjust my gait. And then I’m still running. And that day I go 2.1 miles – the same as my first day total – running without a break.

And then came the doctor.

Last week it was time for them to take a look inside and see if they find anything. So far so good. More tests in the coming weeks, but maybe just maybe my colon is in for the long haul. Either way, the test (and getting a cold) shut me down for 2 days. I didn’t run for 3 straight days and only walked on the 4th. For me, that’s a big deal. I can’t break the habit or it’ll die. And while I picked it back up, I wasn’t getting back to 2 miles straight right away.

And then this week I did.

This week I was back in form. And each day it was the 2 mile mark in the middle of a hill that broke me. Until today it couldn’t. There was an epiphany – if I can push myself through the wall at 1 mile, why not 2? And so I adjusted my breathing and adjusted my gait and found myself headed towards the “finish line”.

So I’ve got to hurry up and make my morning shake and take a quick shower before bolting off to work. But first I just wanted to bask in a little self-satisfaction that I hit another milestone today. 3 miles in under 28 minutes. Not bad.

And as an added bonus, here’s the song that pushed me through that wall:

 

Of colons and men

A few months ago I had a minor medical emergency. There was some blood involved and a trip to the ER. Everybody assured me it was likely nothing, but I should get checked out fully just to be safe. And so they shoved a camera up you know where so we could all rest easier. But we couldn’t. They found something.

A few months ago I had a polyp removed. The big ‘C’ came into play. And not in a theoretical, hypothetical, maybe sometime in the future this might have developed into something more than just a blob. No, it was “I think we got it all, but we don’t know for sure.”

And so decisions were made and delayed. Some people want to hack into me and start yanking things out. I’m all Sally Fields in the latest production of “Not Without My Colon”. The doctors and surgeons and I are still on speaking terms, but not nearly as much as my new lifestyle and the people supporting me. We started attacking this the “holistic” way. A slow process that has built up steam. It grows with confidence each day. This morning was yet another breakthrough.

Yesterday I was in Connecticut, saying goodbye to a wonderful lady – my Dad’s younger “Irish twin”. As sad as the event was, all of us cousins and aunts and uncles who were able to make the trip were so happy to see each other. Too much time had passed for many of us. I hadn’t seen my “rich Aunt Mary from Connecticut” (as she once introduced herself to me) for a few years, but at least I could make up the time with her kids. So in our typical family tradition the funeral became more of a reunion. And as conversations turned from topic to topic it came out that others had intestinal issues, too – Coeliac disease. And so we talked about diets and nutrition and the medical community – a far too frequent conversation these days. And I told them what I was going through. And I realized how much we’re all in this together.

This morning, after a day of “cheating” (how could I say no to a Guinness and shepherd’s pie?) and being away from my roughage and supplements my system was off. I’ve been “running” in the morning and it felt like the day off might jeopardize that. But then my body kicked into gear, flushed itself out, got ready and said “let’s move”. And so I got out and hit the road. And suddenly I felt faster, stronger and fitter than before. An extra lap around the track and still my fastest time. At home my body didn’t ache.

These things I’m doing? The green shakes, the digestive enzymes, the psyllium hulls, the essential oils, the running… it’s working. The extra 10 pounds and the small pouch that started to form? It’s gone. Being winded after a 30 second jog? Gone. Bloating and general discomfort after eating? Gone and gone. My body has re-learned how to take care of itself. So while I may cheat from time to time and take a day off every so often, my body will tell me what’s wrong and when and how to fix it. Today I am more sure of that than ever.

Dear Colon,

If there’s anything bad left in there, we’ve got to get rid of it together. I’ll give you whatever you need. Don’t give up on me, because I’m not giving up on you.

Some days

Oh Google, why must you taunt me with all of your privacy-invasiony ways wrapped in visions of ubiquitous and timely content delivery? Why won’t you let me ignore news about people I don’t know at all having a baby I don’t care about? Why do I feel like everytime I search for information I’m trapped in an echo chamber and need another option?

Some days I feel like I need a complete break. Just delete everything of mine and start from scratch without the ever watchful eye looking over my shoulder.

And then some days I open up Google Music and you suggest an “It’s My Life” playlist and I’m all, you really do know me! I’m not just an entry in a database! OMG, “If You Were Here“? Go ahead and take my social security number and a DNA sample from my first born. It’s totally worth it…

At least that’s what it’s like some days…

Who just turned 5?

This girl:

This girl!

I should really write more, but I pretty much forget how this thing works. I think I type words and then they appear on the Internet. I guess I’ll give it a try again. Either way, let me just say how amazing this little girl is – it’s even more amazing to think I had anything to do with it. I love you… The Kay…

Such a sweet smile...