Saturday, September 26, 2009

Le French

So here is the 2nd part of my walk through Paris. It started to not be as much fun as I was hoping - mostly because I was wearing sandals and 3 days later, my feet still hurt.  I wore sandals because I couldn't wear my shoes which had blistered my heels and I was NOT going to wear sneakers in Paris, I do draw the line somewhere. 

IMG_1558

Here is the corner of the Louvre - right about where I hoped into the gardens for a great and pretty solitary stroll through the sculptures and autumn colored chestnut trees.  It was about as empty as I had ever seen it.  I've spent more times walking around the Tuleries gardens more than anywhere in Paris I think.  Well, I've probably logged as much time on Le Metro.

IMG_1563

Then I came upon some sculptures that just struck me sort of funny - probably because not much else had been funny that morning - so why wouldn't a statue of someone getting clubbed in the head make you chuckle.  I'm guessing everyone was mad when this was done - mad that all of their penises had been broken off.  Both fellows had pretty good calves but it doesn't matter when you've got a broken penis in public. 

IMG_1564

And then a few more.  This guy was really beat up - no hands AND a broken penis.  I'm sure he never managed to get his robe on.

IMG_1573

Here's another one - I thought they were doing some sort of 3-legged sack race or perhaps a routine from the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, but no - I think these guys are running away from the guy who is breaking penises, cutting off hands or head clubbing.  Not a good time at this picnic.

IMG_1575

and here, as I continue to ruin art appreciation for all, is the armpit sniffer. Though I think this snake and the people on his legs are probably also causing problems.  I really do like these but want to ensure you continue to think of me as judgmental and shallow and an idiot when it comes to art. 

IMG_1579 

Next I came upon this really interesting collection - they're pretty big, maybe 7 feet tall or so.

IMG_1565 IMG_1566 IMG_1567 IMG_1568 IMG_1569   IMG_1572 IMG_1574 IMG_1577 IMG_1578 IMG_1580 IMG_1582 IMG_1583

They're all something I'd expect to see in a Tim Burton film - I found these interesting and will have to dig up more - would love to know how or what these are and what inspired them.  Sort of ghoulish but also really quite silly.  The texture was all from fingers pulling on whatever material they're made of.

You can see better here:

image

and from here I walked to the Place de la Concorde, up the Champs and over to the Eiffel Tower and home.

IMG_1585 IMG_1587

IMG_1590

That was it.  I went back to my hotel (Le Walt), had a sandwich in the cafe next door and then hopped a jet to Munich.  Oh yeah.  I got to fly business class.  My bag came off the flight 2nd.  Au Revoir.

I also got to see a Parisian car accident right in front of me.  It was like an American car accident except the cars and waistlines were smaller and the man and woman just sort of stood there smoking and looking at the damage and then kept smoking.  Merde.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Forget Paris

I'm done.  I can't walk another meter.  I'm tired.  I'm depressed. I'm off to Munich and will be facing my birthday tomorrow and that is depressing but glad the year is over.  Today I walked all over Paris - from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, through the gardens at the Louvre, up Champs to the Arc and back to my hotel about a 500m walk from the Eiffel Tower.  Mostly I thought and thinking is depressing.  I did go into Notre Dame and sat for a bit and thought and lit a candle because that seemed appropriate and thought about my family which depressed me more. So it's time to leave - but until I catch my flight to Munich at 5pm, here are some thoughts and pictures - so it should be an easy read and not so depressing because I tried to find something humorous every 32 cobblestones.

I have an ulcer.  I'm self-diagnosing this based on what I've been told about them as well as having had one a long time ago.  I'm just guessing this because I eat and then I feel like someone put a brick into my stomach as hard as possible.  I've been spending my free time in my hotel rooms sort of curled up.  This isn't any less depressing.... next try....

So I'm into gastronomic russian roulette - eating stuff that will either kill me through a bleeding ulcer or dying of some food born illness.  So, I thought it would be awesome to have a grand plate du steak tartare or a pile of raw hamburger with a raw egg in it.  Sadly, I survived but it hurt like hell.  I suppose raw meat is about as close as I'll get to being a vegetarian - I mean, you don't cook either, so that is how I'm linking that together for you.

Mostly I've been feeling like the person who owns the business below.  I didn't see a lot of hope here.

IMG_1502

I went shopping for my girls and learned that they mix the luxe stuff with the regular stuff.  When the sales girl asks if you want tights with the outfit - be sure to ask if those tights are $35.  I also should have asked about the sweater too because that was $85.  I won't feed my daughters for a bit because they really need to get some solid wear out of this stuff.  I'll have Sada in the tights probably 3-4 times a week. 

So yea, here's a blind guy.  I took his picture along the Rue de Rivoli - right next to the Louvre.  I just wanted you to note the style of people begging in Paris.  Solid effort. 

IMG_1560

I went to this store - the Galleries Lafayette.  I think it's just one gallery.  I sort of was able to tell which level the good stuff was on based on the age, shape and style of the people on the floor - they don't even need signs just look for the clues.  They call things like 'Modern Style' which means '50+ women this is your etage!'. I think they had another one they called 'Contemporary Fashion' which I took to be 'stuff for less money for larger sized women'.  I did get some cashmere sweaters here.  The bank called me as I was at the register to tell me they think my card has been stolen and is being used to buy a ridiculous amount of stuff in a hour period.  Charge it si vous plait.  The picture below is the perfume floor - it goes way further than you can see.  If you aspire to be a perfume girl, this is the Varisty field. ladies.  I saw some of the team captains from the 1956 team. Apparently they don't change the lineup often.

IMG_1504 

Here's the ceiling of the store.  The seduction level is #3 I think.  In America you wouldn't associate pajamas with seduction. On the fancy level you can get champagne.  On the cheaper levels they have McDonalds.

IMG_1507 Stitch

Here's the view from my hotel room - I'm guessing I'm on the seduction level of my hotel. 

IMG_1512

Here's a bit of a panoramic view - not great but ok.

IMG_1515 Stitch

Then I just walked - the is a national police building.

IMG_1532

Then as I walked, I saw this banner advertising all of the cool jobs you could have working for the French Government:  a fireman, guy with automatic weapon, bomb-squad, police officer with a mean dog (though I'd really expect to have the French to have a poodle or something  fluffier and with 'style') and then you see this lady with a phone.  I'm not sure if that is a weapon or not. 

IMG_1533 Stitch

Then the cooler jobs continue until you get to the end and there's just a lady with brochures.

IMG_1538

But wait, I missed a few more: you can be a bureaucrat or a roller derby guy.  WhOOO WHOOOO.  C'est dommage.

IMG_1536

Then I went to church but I didn't see any hunchbacks.  There are more things to buy in this church than Wal Mart.  Candles are 2 or 5 euro.  Postcards are 1.  DVDs are 20, coins are .50, to see the church finance dept was 3 euro and to go to the top is 7.  I'm not sure which one saves you, but I went with the candle for 2 euro, though I might burn in some middle area because I put 1.50 euro into the suggested donation box - I thought it was overpriced.

IMG_1540

Here's the inside -

 IMG_1546

and the 5 euro suggested donation candle.  I don't think they were scented.  Some lavender would have been special - or maybe the Yankee Candle Pumpkin Spice scent.

IMG_1551

then I walked here but I'm sort of posting these out of order because I think I walked over this before getting to the wall of various French occupations after this bridge.

IMG_1553 Stitch

I'll write more but wanted to get this out.  I'm in Munich now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Le Snacks

Now I'm somewhere in NW France heading to Paris on the TGV - so I suppose the theme to this post is 'stuff I've seen since leaving London' or 'stuff about France' or something like that.  The did an announcement and unlike Dutch, I understand 20% of what is said to me in French - hopefully everything is said in the present tense and there are a lot of nouns involved.  I'm generally useful if someone needs fork, tie, bedroom, bathroom, ocean, ham, pants or cake.  I can also tell you if it is hot or cold. This is why I work in the US but somehow find myself talking to people overseas a few times a week.  I can tell you when they have snacks available and in which train car - I could do this even if they didn't announce 'the snack car is number 7 and 12' first in English.  Now if they said the snack car WAS #7 and #12 I would still go there because I don't believe in tenses when travelling. 

I'm living in the now. 

Il fait froid.  It is cold. I'm not even sure that is French.

I have only see two people who were clearly Australian and heading to Oktoberfest via Paris.  I knew this because they were wearing matching Australia sweat shirts and the silly German hats with feathers.  The guy had an eye so sideways that I had no idea he was talking to someone else in front of him as I sat next to him.  I'm sure he'll drink so much that his eye will straighten out. 

C'était peut-être mal à dire. Maybe that was bad to say. 

CORRECTION: I should have also said, I have only seen two interesting people WHO were clearly Australian....  otherwise you're thinking I've only seen 2 people which would seem a bit odd. 

The same guy with a guitar keeps walking up and down the aisle.  I don't know the french words for aisle or guitar.  I'd say he could be crazy but often crazy people don't have $150 for a train nor do they have style - he's got style and a guitar but not sure why he keeps going back and forth.  I don't know a lot or any crazy people, so I'm really stereotyping and that is wrong.  He looks like the "Free Credit Report" guy in the commercials.

I should am also going to generalize when I say that English women must have excelling plow skills based on the size of their ankles.  Many a large ankle have I seen.  Like a leg of mutton except no flavor and no one ever puts shoes on their mutton.  I'm sure this was limited to the 3 women I saw in a sketchy neighborhood. I knew it was sketchy because of the 4 racks of pants they were selling in the middle of the road for $1 each pair.  Harrods it was not.

I don't actually know what mutton is, but I had bangers and mash and a few tastes of my friend Frank's lamb pie.  I liked the lamb pie much better.  Frank was good about sharing - I would have never shared. 

I made it 36 hours without using local currency!  I did sort of put someone into a position that they sort of HAD to lend me 20GBP but getting into the cab, telling the driver where to go and as I closed the door I said, 'I only have a credit card'.  It isn't my fault they won't gladly take credit cards.  The waitress at my hotel took my Amex just fine for 2.61GBP.  I think that was about a $5 cup of coffee though...  I say I when in fact it was a team effort.  I mostly embellish for a better story.  The photo above is from the internet for example despite the fact that I can see the Eiffel Tower from my window.

So then we get off the train and this guy who does NOT look like he's working is any official capacity for Eurorail just picks up our bags. He carries them to the cab and puts them in the trunk. He then sticks his hand at me and wants money. Since I don't have anything and I tell him this, he just sits there - hand in the car.  So the guy I'm traveling with digs in his pockets. Sadly, he has mixed his Euros and Pounds and Pence together - I put mine in baggies before the trip.  He assumes the big coin with a 2 on it is good and hands it to him.  It was 2 pence or what I believe to be $0.0375.  He looks at it and throws it at me.  Then the guy I'm with panics and dumps all his change into this guy's hand - then he starts to pick through it. I grabbed him and shoved him out the door with a hearty toss (embellishment notice: I pushed his arm out of the way before he could throw more money at me).  I have excellent tossing skills that I practice with our dog jack who often needs a good zinger right out the door.  Tirez parti de l'asshole de voiture.

Then last night the locals held moped racing from midnight until 2am. Then I didn't turn off my phone and got 2 calls at 2:30am. Then I took an Ambien. Then I slept and missed my wake up at 6am.  Then walking to the office - the giant backhoe working next to the sidewalk messed up and the bucket suddenly swung left - right where I was walking and it knocked over the guardrail next to me and missed breaking my legs by about 2 cm.  Il y a poop dans mon pantalon. (There is poop in my pants). 

I leave for Munich tomorrow afternoon.

Au Revoir.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Went to London and All I Got Were These Chopsticks

London 050 So I think that most British people (or the ones representing all British people) are happy and smile a lot.  Except for the angry one in black in front of me on the plane.  She was really mad and she tried to complain to the stewardess lady who told her to 'go to ba.com and tell them'.  It was very efficient and sort of funny.  The lady in front who was made was also about 3,022 stone (which is a weight).  I should say that the flight was 8:25 long and that one hour into the flight they gave you dinner and 5 hours later they gave you breakfast - so I'm not sure what there was to complain about except that you got 2 meals way to close together.  I should also say, British people are all 70+ and are married.  This I also got from my very statistically sound sampling of everyone on the plane.

The lady's tray table next to me broke so while I pretended to sleep I listened to the flight steward try to fix this thing with first aid tape.  When I woke up it was a frankenseat - all covered in crisscrossed first aid tape that didn't hold at the table kept smacking the lady's knees when we'd hit a bump or two.  We hit one or two every second - so my neighbor had a full-time job which was better than her questions about going through passport control. It's like going anywhere else except you shouldn't joke a lot and despite a pretty antiquated job role, they really enjoy the power of passport control officer - so let them.  I then found out that one of my kids used my passport as a coloring book.  I found a blue house and some attempted replications of stamps throughout the documentation.  THANK YOU PIPER I KNOW IT'S YOU!

Then I went to dinner after working yesterday and instead of getting told what an idiot our President is (that was what I usually got for the past 8 years) I got asked about health care.

All I really wanted was a fork.

Because I don't like using chopsticks - it's like using a plow and a horse to farm where there's a perfectly good tractor right next to it?  Sure I could stab at rice and maybe get some veggies with my spring roll, but I usually end up squishing it all to hell and it falls onto my plate.  Now, chopsticks are a perfectly good way to fix the healthcare crisis in the US.  I know I'd probably not eat a lot if I got pissed off every time I ate.  I'm not guessing it would help much with the hamburger and KFC crowd, it would certainly make people think twice before sitting down with a bowl of casserole if you had two bamboo sticks to eat it with.  I'm of course associating over-eating with our healthcare crisis.  Which isn't fair because obesity is a handicap and not a problem.

We've also really angered some cabbies here by getting into the cab, let them start driving and then yell 'oh, by the way we have a credit card only'.  This is because we're trying to get along as much as possible without getting British pounds.  1) You cant use them anywhere but here 2) we're here for 36 hours.  Then they throw a 10% surcharge at you for all the extra work it takes to process a credit card.  This was awesome when I had a 70 GBP cab ride ($114).  I'm glad we whooped these people in the Battle of Trenton. 

I'll get some Euros when I hit Paris tonight.  I do like London, but there are too many streets that cross all over the place without making any sense - there isn't a road that goes straight for more than a block or two.  Nothing is square and the Queen should fix that.  I'm not even going to run here despite being about 2 blocks from Buckingham Palace because I'm not sure actually in which direction it is.  So I'm doing yoga and push ups and crunches on my floor in my room at the Park Plaza Hotel which is not near a park nor a plaza.  I'm inspired to do them quickly since I've seen nail clippings on the floor and they're not mine. 

I think the highlight today - aside of my 7 hours of presentations on data systems, data integrity and analysis will be the 1.5 hour lunch break I scheduled where I can get a proper British lunch consisting of a pint and some sort of meat/gravy/potato combination.  I'm actually having someone do the presentation after lunch so I can sit and nod my head a lot and keep from falling asleep. 

Ok, back to the push ups.... Victorian Style.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Mostly Shaving Cream

IMG_1102 Never say never.  First I say it's my last post and then I think I'll quit running.  Then I take a break and suddenly I'm taking the 25 flights of stairs up to my office and then down and then adding an extra 302kg laptop to my bag for the trip up and then I'm drinking Guinness as a pre-workout beverage. 

So I'm pretty much going to keep my disgustingly detailed planning and goal setting but throwing out most of the expectations I have.  They're either underwhelmed of overwhelmed in a different way that I never anticipated.  Lately I'm underwhelmed because I have higher expectations for people but I find that only a few people - generally my friends - ever blow me away. 

Recently I was in NH for the Timberman 70.3 and my grade school reunion.  The high school reunion was a few weeks prior which I skipped and was glad for it.  At the grade school reunion I got to see people I grew up with - some people from the age of 4!  Some of our conversations seemed as though no time had passed and the rest of the time we got to watch our kids play together.  I'm really glad to have made the trip and to have re-connected with a lot of those people - hopefully many will forgive me for not being an insane triathlete for a while! 

So onto the good stuff and there isn't a single mention of poop.

So I'm going to run tomorrow and I'm going to run as I feel which may be slow though I'm guessing the rest of me will be in Z3.  And I won't have any expectations except that I'll start and finish.  So there.  I'll channel Pre and hit the road and woods around my home.  But I'm sure I'll jump over some poop since there are a lot of horses here. 

But I'm excited to run. 

And that is it.  The bare bones of a great sport with a start and end but no expectations in between except to breathe and move forward. 

Then I board a plane on Sunday and will be in London on Monday afternoon where I'll head into the office and work until dinner, then do a business dinner and then get out for a run on Tuesday morning around London.  Then I work all day Tuesday and catch the TGV to Paris at 6pm where I'll arrive in Paris at 11pm - my hotel is right around the corner from the Eiffel Tower.  I have a full day of work on Wednesday in Paris, then dinner out and then I don't have to be anywhere until 5pm on Thursday.  So I'll run a bit in Paris and shop for the girls - I fortunately know where all the great clothes are for girls (and women I suppose, but the kids stuff is way cheaper).  I head to Munich at 5pm and land around 7pm or so.  Dinner in Munich and then a full day of work in Munich at the office and then it's my birthday on Friday - where Oktoberfest is happening! 

I'm not sure what to think about being 'alone' on my birthday - I've always been around friends and family but I suspect there is a relative over there somewhere.  It seems sad but I'm tossing out my expectations and hope it will rock or whatever Germans do.  I also hope the Scorpions are playing. 

Sorry this post wasn't funny and probably boring.  I'll work on it - when I run or ride I get lots of ideas.  I'll work on a photo theme while I'm on the road.  Either 'Americans who shouldn't be abroad' or 'we should have more of this'. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ponch and John and me and a bunch of other cops

I've been reminded numerous times that I haven't ever finished telling the story about my court case.  Sometimes I try to tell a story that is too long and because I have no ability to focus, I sort of forget. 

So here is the story after I rolled it dirty with my friend Abel whose fate I sadly don't know but I'm guessing he will find himself back at the courthouse a few more times in 2009. 

Since I knew that the cop who gave me a ticket was out there usually on Saturday and Sunday, I figured that by making my court date for a Monday, there might be a chance that he was dumb and lazy, which is a good combo when you're fighting a ticket. 

So my case was around 10am or so, which means you get there at 9am and sort of wait.  For weeks I had played out what I would say when I plead my case - I had it all dramatic-like and I had assumed that my acting and case would be so awesome that I'd probably get a standing O or given a scholarship to Marin College or a role in the upcoming nativity scene at the Lutheran church come December.  OR at least I wouldn't have a fine of $200. 

I also met Marty, the has-been attorney whose nylon slacks and Reagan era sport jacket gave away the fact that he was an attorney but not a good one.  He was also divorced which I found hard to believe as he proceeded to fill the entire hour without asking me why I was there.  Marty was representing a client who got a speeding ticket.  He said he knew all the judges and that I didn't have a chance but there was a judge who rode a bike to work, but again, he wasn't my judge.

I didn't realize that they basically run the traffic court like a Disney ride - open the door, a person in a fancy uniform (they don't have guns or tasers at Disney, which is how you can tell the difference) opens the door and ushers you in. 30 people you don't know file in and then all get a seat and you wait for the ride/show to start and at the end you'd exit through the gift shop. 

But they don't post any rules - so when everyone is seated, then they tell you the rules about who sits where and that NO ONE BUT POLICE OFFICERS can sit in the back row.  This made sense but if you don't speak English like over 75% of the people there, it wasn't easy to figure out- unless you noticed that everyone but 3 people were cops in that back row.  After lots of 'NO ONE BUT POLICE OFFERS CAN SIT IN THE BACK ROW....' was repeated louder and slower, a Spanish and a Vietnamese translator came into the room and made it slightly clearer.  And soon, only Ponch and John and a dozen or so CHP motorcycle cops were left.

So now we're all seated and everyone looks around the room and I of course judge everyone because as I just wrote, I'm judgmental.  I was also the best dressed.  I thought the Teddy Roosevelt biography I was reading was a nice touch.  Some folks brought evidence, I had TR.

Because some lady had her baby with her - she got to go first.  Had I brought Piper and Sada I would have saved a good 45 minutes.  I would have pinched them a bit to get them crying just to ensure I got out faster but I failed in recognizing this tactic.  The judge wasn't so annoyed at the start of things. 

Then they call 4 people at a time - since my name was not Chavez, Mercado, Chavez or Than, I was out of luck.  So each person goes up, they read the charges and then the person defends themselves.  I don't know what the order was, but I was there first.  This doesn't seem to matter when dealing with the government - unless you're at the DMV.

For many, it seemed to be a pretty simple deal- speeding 30 mph over the limit, no insurance, blah blah blah.  $435 fine.  The judge was pretty nice in many cases, giving people 30 days to pay.  There were some gems - like the one guy whose case went like this

guy: 'when was the last time the radar gun was certified'

cop: April 11, 2009.

guy: (thinking) 'boy am I an ass'.  (says) 'well, I don't think I was going as fast as he said I was'

judge: is that it?

guy: yeah. 

judge: 'you have 30 days to pay the fine'

This tactic of 'I don't believe I was going as fast as he said I was' was tried again through an interpreter.  Even in Vietnamese it didn't work.  The judge was sharp.

About 10 mins in, I figured my cop wasn't going to show.  This was good.  He was dumb AND lazy!  Hoooorrayy for me.

Then I went at least another few mins wondering if he was going to sneak in and wreck it for me.  He didn't. 

Marty got up and did the lawyer version of the 'i don't think he was going as fast as he said he was'.  Marty lost and his client not only had to pay the fine but had to pay for Marty's retarded circus. 

Then they called me up with 3 other people and they called for the officer.  He wasn't there and with great efficiency and little fanfare it was over.  I was done. 

That was it.  All of the rehearsal, the anxiety, the standing ovation - all for nothing.  I won, but it was so hollow.  I was empty and drained and I had a better record for one day than Marty. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Insomnia and Angina Both Suck

If you've seen the John Cusack movie High Fidelity then you might remember Jack Black singing 'Angina Sucks'.  I sometimes just say that and laugh and look insane.  It's probably not comfortable for people if I do it in the elevator.

Last night I woke up at 11:10pm, I'm not even sleeping to 2:30am now.  I took a useless sleeping pill that just made me tired and unable to get up and play Xbox.  So I can't even get my band 'Lord Meat and the Load Dumpers' more fans on Rock Band.  I really need to make the most of having insomnia.  A lazy insomniac is really sad.  I've got about 21 hours a day right now but struggle to finish the power point deck I need for my trip to Europe in a week.

When you don't sleep, you think and I'm tired of that mostly.  Because it isn't even productive and I don't know anyone who writes flowery prose at that hour - so I don't even try.  I usually just get mad at all the clichés in the world which I think is a cliché itself or at worst, very French. 

I was told that I was judgmental to which I sort of thought was judgmental. 

I'm not sure what I would do if I just thought of myself as average and normal and not better in some way than 99% of everyone (the rest are overachievers, military personnel, kindergarten teachers or professional athletes - not including baseball players because I don't really think it takes a lot to do anything except pitch).  Until then I'll quietly judge, watch Texas football and try and do more crunches. 

I do a lot of those as well as pushups and I've got a dog who insists on licking my face with each pushup which usually limits me to 25 at a time or I have to blow at him to get away and then I get dizzy. 

I'm also thinking that once I get on the other side of 'this difficult patch' that I should get a Porsche 911 - but an older one, like the kind I wanted as a kid.  Then the whole cliché thing gets me and I try and figure out something else - I really want one, but like all the cars I've ever got, I'm sort too keen on them and then a few months later I figure it's just a car.  My mom also says this.  But she drives a Ford which I would generally say is a car but more often than not, they're crappy.  Ok, mostly often but that is because I'm judgmental and harsh. 

I'd get a tattoo but I don't really like them and I'd be one of those people.  By those people I mean people with tattoos.  I usually don't understand what most of them mean, probably because I don't ask or the artwork is so bad they probably live with regret and don't need me to remind them of it (I'm guessing you are saying 'this guy IS FRICKEN JUDGMENTAL'.  I don't think anyone should get one until they're well over 30 or they have faced death in some form.  I'm over 30 but haven't faced certain death. I could see getting one that lasts like 2-3 years max but for now I put on the fake ones with my kids -most of the time they say 'Popsicle' or have a Hello Kitty on them.  They last 2-5 days depending upon how much you believe in washing.   

I don't.  It's cliché and so 'LA' and all that crap.

So that is about it.  I can't talk about training because I'm not.  I am growing some wicked leg hair, which seems gross, but I suppose I'll fit in better at social things where my legs are exposed.  I once was told in college that I'd get beat up if they ever saw me again with shaved legs .  That was in the admissions line.  No joke.  I think he ended up a social studies teacher - so he made his own hell.  My dad also had some kind words about the lack of hair on my legs, so he'll be happier now.  By now I'm sure he knows that I'm not gay, I'm an analyst for crying out loud.  Shaved legs don't make you gay they just make people uncomfortable.  Analysts do the same thing, except with data and charts and if you're good, bubble charts.

I also met someone recently who was married to an alcoholic.  Her husband peed on her while she was sleeping.  Where do you go after someone tells you that?  Home is where you go and you play Xbox and try not to think of it and you be sure to use the toilet before going to sleep and you appreciate people who mess up a little and thank them for not peeing on you.  People who use other people for toilets should 1) drink fewer liquids before bed 2) consider living alone 3) consider putting that last drink or 11 down. 

I also once asked a person once how their weekend was and they got around to telling me that they tried to commit suicide over the weekend.  So cliché I thought as I judged her - but a strong effort to get back to work on Monday.

I also have a huge personal space.  It's different than MySpace.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

1st and 10: A Regular Life

image So that is what I am now - a sort of normal, regular person.  I haven't run, swam or ridden a bike in over 2 weeks, well - maybe I did sneak out on the bike for 40k.  Every triathlete is supposed to take an off-season break but I'll probably take and extended one like my friend Travis whose off season included 11 summers and a Bronze Star.  He joined the Army about the time I joined Microsoft.

You'd think that quitting everything cold turkey has drawbacks - so far, only my shrinking legs are about all I've noticed.  I have 2-5 extra hours a day - I don't have to worry about whether my next choice will wreck my workout or where my favorite cycling bibs are.  I don't care if I don't drink enough water and I don't have to go to bed by 9pm or earlier.  I can be at home and focus 100% on what I'm doing instead being that guy you see in movies who nods as their kid shows them something wonderful and great (which isn't really that true, it's just been the picture painted for me - I assume the artist in this case is only painting these pictures with a roller, so the details are a bit mushy or inaccurate or sort of interpreted by the artist).

So now I do regular things and like my friend Chris, I look at training 10-20 hours a week with something between distain mixed with sprinkles of awesomeness.  I'm sure I might even think to myself that those people are sick.  Those triathletes!  Bastards!

I got to watch something like 3 hours of TV yesterday.  I watched about 4 the day before - probably 3-4 quarters of various college ball games and even wore my Texas Football shirt most of the day instead of one of my 3,201 Under Armour breathable tops. I cleaned the garage - which is sort of like shuffling cards more than anything.  Where is all of the Christmas stuff I'll be thinking in a few weeks?  Well, up there, on the floor over there, in the cabinets, and I think somewhere over in these 203 boxes that I didn't label because I swear I would remember the contents of every box I packed.

I taught my daughter Piper (4) how to ride her bike, sort of.  I mean we contracted with Santa to get her the bike (I say 'we' but I probably didn't ask which is fine), I got the saddle all correctly set, put on the helmet and the training wheels and said 'go'.  I'd say for a 4 year old, she got a pretty solid bike fit. 

For months she didn't get that you had to pedal and steer and look forward and use judgment and the brakes. 

Yesterday she just went, a few sputters and a handful of minor crashes or failure to move forward - then she got it.  And then she didn't stop and she rode for 2-3 more hours. 

I also don't sleep.

Like much ever.

Even with Ambien or whatever generic is in the bottle, I sleep until 2:30am and then sort of lay there thinking.  Usually thinking stuff that I can't really clear out of my head.  I slept until 12:30am last night and finally got up at 4:40am because I was told I was keeping people up.  The irony sort of didn't make me laugh. 

So it's 5:29am now and I'm watching a college football game that I recorded and it's actually 2nd and 13. 

It will be a better week.  I also need to figure out if there are any cheerleaders better than what University of Oregon is fielding. By better I mean more awesomer.  I'm sure the SEC has something to challenge.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Timberman 70:3 When You Get Passed by a Power Walker

Soooooo as I was saying....

Dolphin RidesI finished up the bike portion - feeling like I was going pretty easy for the most part, but the pain from my saddle was sort of rough.  I think the pad from my tri suit ripped and chaffed the snot out of my sexy inner thigh.  Everything gets sort of sore, so it wasn't all that hurt.

Oh of course I forget to mention that I have had some nasty knee pain and figured it COULD be as a result of my high saddle.  So the day before the race I lowered it about 3mm.  Not a lot but when you're totally insane about being 1mm off - it wasn't a great idea.  I sort of paid for that on the uphills where I was smushed a bit more than I was used to. 

I raised it back when I got home. 

Dumb.

I think I still rode a 2:36 or something ok like that.  I should have just smashed the bike because what would happen next would probably have still happened.

So I did the awesome dismount I normally do - passing at least 5 people at the dismount line.  Really people, do you need to stop and walk?  If you do, go in a straight line.  Only once did I almost end someone's race. 

Then I transitioned swimmingly - socks on while standing, shoes on while standing (sitting looks so non-pro) and I didn't fall over.  I put on the Under Armour Spectres and started running.

Then I got onto the course and saw my friend Tracy (another guy with a girl's name) who drove 2.5 hours to watch - he was supposed to race with me but got his bike stolen (which I'm sort of convinced isn't a lie, I think he gave it away so he could skip the race). We ran for about .25 mile and then I felt like my kidneys got punched.  They hurt wickedly.  I quickly thought that I didn't need to do that - race I mean, and I started walking. I thought with some water and a few mins to settle it might go away but every time I ran, my kidneys felt like they did when I'd go mtn biking downhill on my old mtn bike Grimace (It was a purple Specialized Rock Hopper with NO suspension). 

So we got to the first aid station which had a pile of snow.  I put a snowball down my tri suit which immediately seemed to be a bad idea.  I think I got some frostbite on my 'cracker' as we call it at home (your butt crack).  Then it went further and the whole BBQ was frozen and I REALLY didn't want to run.  So we walked and jogged and chatted a bit.  I think we still were doing 8:30's but it wasn't fast.  There were a LOT of people walking, which I didn't see at Vineman - though some were walking, but only on hills. 

Then we ran and I sampled ice, coke, gatorade and water at just about every stop. 

imageThen people would cheer 'you look great' and I wanted to punch them.   Or they'd say 'great job' or something not really inspiring.  I really had to run past these people because the guilt of NOT running past them was unbearable.  I mean, they stared at you, judging and then cheered. 

I judge people all the time, so I figured they were.  I should have painted 'I know I'm sort of quitting but I"m still able to wear 32" waist jeans'.  I felt shame for my calves who deserved better.

Then I ran, downhill.

Then Chrissie Wellington ran past on the other side of the road and I walked.  Man is she fast.

Then all of the rediculous walking was starting to give all of those folks who had been crushed on the bike a chance to pass me. 

I started getting passed by people who didn't look triathletey.  Then pasty legged folks went by.  Then I went by some people signing folk music with a strong PA system.  I remember the first one I heard was 'Woman's Day' that I think Peter Gabriel do.  I thought that was sort of weak.  In NH, they might say it was gay but I can't say that. 

Then I ran and walked some more.  People were wearing Fred Flinstone costumes at one place.  Some pretty unhappy kids at that one whose parents clearly made them do it. 

I collected sponges.  Which I found out later they just recycled and handed out again.  So I stopped putting them on my head.  I got yellow, red and blue ones.  That was fun for about a mile. 

Then I ran and Kate Major passed me and I jumped behind her.  I ran behind her at what seemed to be a COMPLETELY reasonable pace for me on just about any other day in my whole life up to that point until the gatorade/coke/ice/water sampling I did came up with a rage.  She would NOT have appreciated all of that on her behind - so I walked some more. 

I'm not adding any more.  But you can tell from my race it ended worse than it started. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bring Out the Dead

I'm not dead, I'm not going to quit blogging and I probably won't stop talking about Z3 except I probably won't be going there anytime soon.  I really am selling my TT bike.  I'll get a new one if I race again, but I probably will see Sada or Piper start a race before I will.  Under Armour said they'd continue to sponsor me because of my calves which isn't a joke.  So if you have cankles or something close to pillow-like flesh below knee, keep working at it because you may one day have wonderful calves and a shoe sponsor since people go 'wow that is awesome' and then look at your shoes.  So there is that. 

So I'm not dead, though I sometimes wish I was right now but then again, I can't be dead and eat shepard's pie.  I love that stuff.  So I'll write more later. 

IMG_1369