Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 330.51, cold in Washington State

Man it was cold last night. I pre-heated the RV while watching the Huskies demolish the Coogs in the 107th Apple Cup (temps in the low teens) but that had little effect on the honeymoon suite. Tonight I plan on using the extension cord for the heater and placing the down bag atop the woolie. We'll see what happens.

Seems as it has been 50 days since the pacer install, I suppose I should blog an update. This is definitely not exciting news, nothing like Danny Shelton's flawless execution of a pre-snap barrel-roll and subsequent sack of the Coug QB, but as I have mentioned several times in the past, this represents a medical history log as well as the concise and cogent social commentary you have been following for the last 330 days.

Last week was painful. Nothing acute, just floating chest pains moving from left to right, with varying intensities all week. I wish I could say that A = B, be so far I am unable to pinpoint the cause and effect. We have tweaked the meds once again and I sent off a history of cardiac activity but evidently they can't pinpoint either.

So I try to stay hydrated, take in extra electrolytes  and protein, and eat well. Sleep has been compromised and my stress levels are up, but not enough (IMHO) to warrant the symptoms. Encouragingly, my heart rate for the week of indoor training has been very consistent and even. This could be the longest stretch in sinus rhythm since the initial incident almost four years ago. Most of the time I feel good, like right now after a two hour spin (and an Apple Cup W), but those chest pains are of a different nature. More hurt than the dull ache that has been a constant companion so long now it seems normal.

I could be adapting. Or not. I go in for a check up in two weeks, so we'll compare notes then and see of we can agree to a new tack. Maybe they'll tell me to drink more beer and get a girl friend. I am quite sure they would love to see me win the lottery.

I am so glad we are done with Thanksgiving and that Black Friday nonsense. Of course we now head into an even worse nightmare for an indigent anti-capitalist, the Christmas season. Let me be clear: I HATE Christmas carols. I make E. Scrooge look like an saint. God, the commercialism and hypocrisy! I can tolerate The Little Drummer Boy, but that is it. Gag me.

Sometimes I wish I was back on the farm, in the orchard, gleefully piloting my Massey-Ferguson down manicured rows of apples, pears and cherries. With the daily, and mostly pleasant routine of bringing down the mail from the road.

The only similarities between then and now, Eastern Washington and Western, is that it is very cold on the last day of November in each.

It didn't seem to bother the Dawgs last night so I will try my best to emulate their toughness. Woof!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 329.50. Them Apples

Seems as how I drove to the 'office' this morning in the snowy darkness, and drove home (after a trip the the new museum with Junior, Kathy and Michael) with the crackle under foot of frozen maple leaves and black ice, I recalled two sayings from my days in the 'real' winters of North Central Washington.

1) Don't heat the place, heat the space. The translation calls for the immediate warming of where you are, not where you've been or where your heading. Heat THAT space, not the entirety of your place.

2) Tribal Elder say: White man build big fire and sit far away. Indian build small fire and sit close. I am fairly confront that number two needs no translation.

These because it is going to get cold tonight. Right now it is 29. I have one small electric heater with the impossible assignment (glad I got that one out of the way yesterday), of heating the entire 33' of the RV. Which, as an aside, has nary a stitch of spun glass, rigid or even old newspaper as insulation. As I sit and type to you the aforementioned heater is a foot away from my left knee. And the right one is freezing.

Tonight out in Pullman is the 107th Apple Cup. It will get well into the teens in the Palouse. My intrepid Huskies are coming off their best two games of the season and playing well in all three phases. Still this game always scares the hell out of me. Rivalries are like that. Toss the records aside. Go for broke. Play lights out, hair on fire. For sixty minutes. That's all. Last game for the seniors at Wazzu, with one more (a bowl game) for the Dawgs.

As we say in Huskyville, GET THE DUB DAWGS!

Washington 38 Washington State 14.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 328.49, Jim

Remember the ballad "The Impossible Dream"?

I have attached the lyrics in case you need a friendly reminder of what our motivation is supposed to look like in written form. Please feel free to copy and print in case you need a cheat sheet to refer to on occasion.

Because I can all but guarantee (no insurance available for this) that at one moment or another today you will need a spoonful of reminder as to why we do what we do. In many cases this condition is chronic. I know it is here.

Those of you who have raced long-course triathlon know painfully well of what I speak. There is a point along the 140.6 miles of  this war disguised as sport that you question your - pick as many as apply -  sanity, capability, ability to withstand pain, religious belief and/or metaphysical mission.

The classic query we all must answer on our path, at whatever speed, to the glory of the finish line is, of course:


Sometimes there is a juicy adjective tossed between the why and the am for emphasis.

I feel this is because we have a need to test. We have a soul that longs for challenge. Our bodies love this (for about 56 miles.) The only thing holding us down, much like an anchor to ship, is that little voice that screams at us to quit.

That is the dream. This is the challenge and reward. That is the moment of truth. When one gains the ability to overrule the voice and press onward, persevere, complete the mission, when a little of the miraculous gets mixed with a whole lotta  magic.

For me this has always been the meaning. Getting to the point of exhaustion, to see what I can do, to witness who I have become. It is through this experience in sport that we become the best we can be outside of it. In real everyday life.

Because its not just in triathlon that we are tested, that is a one-day proxy for life itself.

No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.

(Warning: The cheese factor on the video is five star. But great)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 327.48, Thanks

Ranking highly atop the plethora of things for which I am grateful are the following:

My health. I know, I know, it isn't perfect, not what it once was, and has brought me to poverty's door, but for what I have I am thankful. It could always be worse.

My happiness. We have discussed this a lot. My goal has been, for quite a while now, to be happy no matter what. Yes, I have been tested on this of late. Test away Universe!

My friends. I love my friends so much that sometimes it hurts. My real friends, the ones the step up when I need a favor. Or even when I need one to share a beer with and listen to my woeful tale of disaster narrowly averted.

Laughter. I just can't visualize anything other. There is so much joy to be experienced. Every day I find something that makes me smile. And that smile is laughter's immediate predecessor.

The natural beauty of our surroundings. Sometimes it is just WOW. The sunsets, snow on the mountains, old growth forests, deer crossing the road, the sea and the sound. Being it only the end of November, I can say it now (but probably not in two months) that I love the rain.

My family. Mom died a long time ago, eighteen years. Over that time the rest of us, my two brothers, three sisters, Dad (celebrating number 82 today) and the ever increasing niece and nephew population, have stayed relatively healthy and relatively trouble free. Both the relatives (used as pun) have had their ups and downs, but we are still here. Always a good place to start.

My teammates. We get after it. This one shares a lot with the friends category but there are the same subtleties with quality of friends as with quality of teammates. It is the sporting equivalent. The 'I got your back' promise that is the walk, as compared to the talk. You, my dear teammates, make me better. It is my deepest and most sincere hope, that the reverse is true as well.

My passions. Where would we be without them? I take so much joy from doing what we do. A long time ago I decided to make my living doing what I wanted to do, putting passion ahead of money, success, privilege and worldly possessions. Never living where I didn't want to be and doing something I don't want to do. As a result almost everyone listed above has told at one time or another that my ship, one day, will come in.

My patience. I just wonder when that ship will drop anchor.

My faith. And that it won't drop atop my foot.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 326.47 (for .99)

I have the need for read.

The last few cold nights have been perfect for end of the day reading. A chance to wind down listening to the narrator in your head describe exotic places, testing plot twists, villains and the requisite hero(s). To me, there is nothing like a well-crafted story.

Two of my favorites just happened to have their works on-sale (20% for seniors!!) where I shop. Because you know that I haven't bought a new garment (non-sport specific) in about twenty years. I like my Levi's faded and my ties with gravy stains. I always take a quick look at books, movies and CDs after I have inventoried the clothing department.

The Two:

Cormac McCarthy. All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, Suttree and today's score, The Crossing. Which I think I have already read, but so what, I'll ride down that dusty trail again in the hopes of learning something about style from CM.

Patrick O'Brian. He of Master & Commander, HMS Surprise, Post Captain and today's prize, Desolation Island fame. This takes some adjusting as PO is not your ordinary historian/author. Filled with colloquialisms, slang, accurate nautical terminology and usually in two or three languages, it helps if you're are a scholar, retired Navy or history fanatic. Just for grins the other day, I decided I was going to read with pad and pen in hand, jotting down every word or phrase I didn't know, till I got to ten. Which took about five pages and ten minutes. Wow. Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr Steven Maturin are the best literary duo since Jekyll and Hyde. Caution: PO wrote some 27 volumes, so be prepared. You will get hooked!

Have a great Thanksgiving eve. Me and Jr will be watching a Harry Potter DVD I found for ninety-nine cents.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 325.46

This one has to be brief. I am bushwhacked. It as been a long, trying day. Sent off electronic data from the pacer this afternoon. The machine/process is trick. It (wirelessly) downloads data from the unit, saves it and then sends it via modem to the cardiology department.

Where they compare the data to whatever, whomever, or however they think has value. I hope they tell me that the weekend was a wild one, because even without the Husky victory over OSU, the pump was wild as a goose. If they confirm this, they will probably increase the dosage of the wicked drug I am currently taking as a anti-arrythmatic (if that is a word.) Yuk.

We shall see, The last time (first time) that we did this procedure the data matched up nicely with, WOW,  the blog data. Meaning every time I told you that we had a killer workout, a DGwo, or that I felt like shit, it was verified by the data. Like I told my nephew tonight, that is pretty slick. To which he simply smiled and shook his head. I wonder if he is thinking, 'yikes, my two Uncles had it, my Grandfather has it and his father had it, does that mean???????' I hope not.

Other than that so much is shaking that it feels like LA. Taking the G5 to the shop tomorrow for ER visit, the beautiful video I shot at the SeaGull century ride is the wrong frame rate, my sister is flying in from DC Thursday and we have no place to house her, my truck is making funny noises from the transmission area, I spent ONE HOUR on hold with the SS Admin today.....and we're out of beer.

Good news?

I'm still here (see photo.) We can build from that.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 324.45 Big

On paper it looks big, daunting even.

Not Ironman daunting, or 1099 long form big, or first date big, but big in relationship to last week big.

It is simply the workout schedule for the week, with Thanksgiving and Sunday's first-time event tossed in as spice.

The bigness has a trickle-down effect. Meaning that to properly execute this aggressive agenda, one must eat well, rest often and keep a focus on structure.

All of which got me to thinking about, well, what it is ALL about.

What is it all about?

After considering several angles from several perspectives, this noble concept was rendered to one notion.

Because we know that the victory doesn't always go to the fastest, the strongest, the one with most endurance or the one with better sponsorship.

Is it about money? No.
Is it about fame? No.
Is it about winning at all costs? No.
Is it about the challenge? No (but sometimes.)
Is it about improvement through practice? No (but not always.)
Is it about social interaction? No (mostly.)
Is it about teamwork? Not in triathlon.
Is it the search for beauty? No (but a great sunset always seems to help.)
Is it about good health and superior fitness? No (but close.)
Do we seek immortality? No.

So what?

What is it, or WHY is it that we do what we do? Work so hard, make so many sacrifices, suffer for our goals, spend boatloads of cash to better level the playfield?

That absolute is this:

We do all this to practice the esoteric art of experiencing the now.

Because we know that is where the magic hides. That is where we unite mind, body and spirit. That is where we refill the gas tanks of our souls. It is the miracle of mindfulness in the motion and movement of the moment. Satori.

Anything less is, to quote Pre, wasting the gift.

I am honored to have this ambitious schedule to allow me more practice this merry week.

It looks big on paper. It is HUGE in action.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 323.44

I started out thinking I might try a 'What we learned this week' piece. So I began.

Got as far as two. After that it went straight into a flow of consciousness diatribe on how I am feeling (not good), what the Republicans are saying they will soon think about maybe doing (none of it good) and the Huskies football team.

So I will re-title this 'Two things we learned this week'  leaving the rest to your fertile imaginations.

One: Life is short. Duh. This might be the absolute, unbeaten, untied, King of all Clichés. But it is true (as the case with most clichés.)

Contrasting my stabbing chest pains with my friends incurable cancer is like comparing the sardines I had for lunch with a two hundred pound bluefin tuna. In the end (sorry) it is all the same. We are all gonna go one fine day and it almost always seems to be before we have done the things we REALLY wanted to do. Solution to number one: Do them now.

Two: The deck is stacked against us. Who is us? The poor, the impoverished, the weak, the unemployed, the sick, the uninsured, the ninety-nine percent. Those of us who used to be called blue collar. The middle class. We had just enough education to get a job that paid a living wage. But no more. I am finding this out first hand in a humbling, embarrassing, humiliating way. Try this: Get sick, pile up medical bills, lose job, run up credit card debt, watch as unpaid bills go to collections resulting in bad credit, gas at $3/per, and a loaf of bread twice that. Then try to rent an apartment. Solution to number two: I'll tell you when I find it.

Th Huskies did knock the stuffing out of Oregon State last night, so that is something.

We can build from on that.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 322.43

A beautiful day. Crisp morning and sunny afternoon. On days such as this, I feel like going out for a long run. Love the way the chill factor tingles my nose.

On the other side, it will most likely rain tonight and most likely continue until March or so. It will get dark. It will be gloomy, It will be damp. There will be rust.

"But the heat came round and busted me for smiling on a cloudy day."

I made the commitment a LONG time ago to do two things:

1) Allow the weather to affect my happiness.
2) By happy no matter what.

Number two, as you are aware, is by far, the more difficult. One can camp inside in front of a roaring fire, sip tea and read Robbins, Robinson or Rice, just as easily as listening to Liszt, Lynyrd or Ludwig. Keeping a rosy outlook as the rain or sleet falls outside is easy. There are many who feel that this season is too short, in fact. So a touch of drizzle ain't gonna hurt. Keeps things green and alive.

Back to number two. Now we got some challenge. Do I really mean, NO MATTER WHAT?


No matter what. This does not mean laughing, raucous, mindless merriment. It means keeping a joyful perspective, accepting the reality of the circumstance and helping others who have not yet mastered the act. And that means a lot. To everyone. (This year I have had tons of practice following my football team.)

There will come a reciprocal time when we need all that from our family and friends. Somebody to stand with us in a time of weakness or despair. Not to tell a joke but by simply using the power of our presence to let our mates know they are not alone at this troubling, testing time. To say, no, convince them, that things will be OK. As they will be. No matter what.

It might be one of the hardest acts we will ever perform. The final scene when the curtains starts to close.

You know what happens next?

Applause. Bravo. Bravissimo.

A beautiful day. Don't let it get away.

(Oh yeah, and that football team? 38-21 tonight.)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 321.42, Diane

Ask for forgiveness.

Say thanks.

Say I love you.

I had to look it up. Google it, to be more precise. This is what the experts say one should say to a friend who is dying. 

And I now have another that meets the criteria.

Nobody likes this. It is hard. But it is one of those things in life that simply must be done. I would like to think we have a choice, but really, we don't.

Diane has been one of our regular spinners for a dozen years. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday she would dutifully show up, don her game face and go to work. She had a tremendous work ethic, a gallant style and a glowing spirit. And now she faces cancer head on. It is inoperable. Speaking with her husband today it seems that she is slipping into coma. So this visit needs to happen tomorrow.

I miss her already. Tomorrow I plan on putting a red ribbon on her favorite bike and have all the others sign a card that I will deliver, a chore which I will do, as the least I can do.

Ya know when they say that life is short? Her 71 total, and especially the last 12 years, came and went in the blink of an eye.

I feel moved to recognize that this will be something I must transcend, as we all age up. This mortality thing, an afterlife? our frail nature, cancer, hospitals, drugs. I am not a fan. But I am human and this fate awaits us all.

The ancients tell us that life is suffering. Surely they must be understating to lessen the emotional impact. One day we will all be here. What to say?

Ask for forgiveness.

Say thanks.

Say I love you.

The above picture shows Diane in black, left rear, racing with Bob, Laura and Tony in 2013. Ride on my friend, ride on.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 320.41, Ironman

Another shitty day. Light headed, hypo tension, chest wheezing, lack of balance
But we have a way to go. I am going to try another "easy"  2x20 session at a a lower than usual wattage setting. Why, you say?

Because that is the time, almost the ONLY time, that I feel even halfway decent.

Is it blood flow? Is it HR? Is it something other than physiological?


Had an update on the MWR job, looks like they might have an opening in December, a mere eleven days away. Surely I can hold on till then.

In an effort of extreme desperation I even looked at the Social Security benefits I could receive if I was to file now.

Didn't know that one can also hold regular employment as one is collecting SS compensation.

If nothing happens in the next eleven days, alright I'll give it the seasonal twelve, that trigger will be squeezed.

Hate to do it, but not a lot of options. My days as an amateur Ironman are also fading to black, much like hot asphalt on the Queen K.

I should have listened to Mom and stayed in school.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 319.40

I felt a little skeptical (see photo at left for proof that I can.)

Felt like shit since Monday night. Even this morning's session was 'testing' my understanding of 'listening to your body'.

My neck hurt, legs were jello and I felt like passing out was next. But we made it through. Then it was off to Silverdale for another blood draw, a visit to Goodwill and Trader Joe's and the long drive home.

Where I promptly turned the heater to high and headed into the bedroom for a nap.

It was not a good rest.

Afternoon shift and phone calls, e-mails, follow-ups and plans. Where to live and where to park the RV. Not to mention how to pay for it all.

By three I had to hit the road again and get a prescription filled before heading over to make Junior a snack after school (tonight was rigatoni with sauteed onions, green peppers and tomato).

While I was at the drug store I checked blood pressure. At risk it said. I repeated the drill with the same result. 126 over 87. WTF? I have never had high BP. Maybe it's the new meds. Maybe not.

Once at the PB I had a decision to make. Ride or not. After getting the others off and spinning I calibrated my CT and took off for a 2x20 set at a wattage number 15 below normal. The goal was to keep HR well under control, and if possible, under 112.

It was a good night, protocols met and second session completed.

Afterwords one of the guys had some killer double IPA. I drank two small bottles of water and then sipped the strong brew. I was fearful that dehydration was partially to blame for the last two day's malaise.

Two Swiss cheese on dill rye's on the way home and now I sit and re-cap the day.

Had I made the best decisions?

Had I been an idiot?

Is this the cause or the cure?

I feel OK, and trust that with a solid eight hours of REM and another 40 grams of protein, I will be ready to start it all over again tomorrow.

Am I supposed to be skeptical all the time?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 318.39

Things can happen quick.

Oh yeah.

Nanoseconds or less.

Blink of an eye.

You get the idea.

I guess the key word here is 'can'.

Because as often as not, those same things can happen slow.

Oh no.

Years or longer.

Slow as molasses.

You get the paradox.

To be both fair and aware, if (as the wise ones say) if all we have is the now...

…then why does it seem like forever to wait

or like never, whenever not?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 317.38

One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Sullivan. It was a High School creative writing class in my freshman year. He was cool. Mom liked him a lot from tales her volleyball pals told her about him, and she was pleased (for perhaps my last time scholastically) that I got in his popular class.

Mr Sullivan was not your prototypical High School English teacher. Short, on the frumpy side and always wearing one of those sawed-off ties, he ruled his classroom on the premiss of exploration. He was fun. There wasn't the rebelliousness that pervaded other classes like religion (it was a Catholic School), history or civics.

Mr Sullivan would sit cross-legged on his enormous oak desk and read passages from the Lord of the Rings, creating fantastical images using his voice like a cello. His rendering of the Baggins persona colored my imagination like a Middle Earth Master.

He also assigned homework that I felt was sometimes excessive. Like three pages on Holden Caulfield's coming of age, how Dickens wove plots with charter development or what made EA Poe scary.

He would also leave us on Friday with a chance to improvise over the weekend, something we begrudgingly accepted. I always figured a way to fit in the assignment between baseball games and the beach.

One that I remember was his patented 'threesome'. On Friday just before the bell, he would slide over to his desk, snap open the top drawer and remove three items, holding them up one at a time to build the suspense. We all knew the assignment would be to create a story using the three, however strangely related or seemingly independent.

One time he first showed us a copper penny (oooh), then a wooden match (aaahaa) and lastly, adding the requisite drama, just a half-measure before the bell and the utter chaos of a scrambling exit, a pair of sun-glasses which he donned with a smile as we ran towards the door. (yeeeoooooooooh)

I remember looking back as I hit the exit and saw him standing at the window, hands clasped behind his back looking up at the morning sun. I could see his grin in the reflection of the glass.

It was my first taste of what would soon become something known as cool.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 316.37

Kona is on TV today. IM Arizona is today.

Through a series of inopportune events, some independent, some isolated and some illogical, I attended neither.

On the one hand I want to say, oh well, been there before, but these two represent a very serious shift. Simply due to the fact that I WASN'T there. And somebody else was.

I am not whining, I hold no malice or envy towards the competitors, media, admin, sponsors or volunteers. At its most banal, I needed the work, enjoy the challenge and feed off the energy that only long-distance triathlon offers. I have found nothing else that even comes close, and I have been to World Series' and Rose Bowls.

All this, blended with equal portions of less-than-perfect health, unemployment, temporary living arrangements and the coming of winter, whips up a nasty brew. One to which I look to add some flavor, something to sweeten and maybe even a maraschino cherry atop. (I can skip the cherry if necessary.) Today.

When else? When it gets to thirty below? When I have spent the last dime from thirty years of work? When the landlord gives me thirty days?

Had a dream last night about being back in Italy. I was pointing to a place, a nook in a Venetian restaurant where I once made long, rambling, romantic journal entries, and saw Marco, my Italian benefactor. We embraced and I asked about work (in my crude Italian.) I should have known from the wheel-barrow that he was pushing that times were just as tough in the former Kingdom of the Doge, as they are here.

He said they had work but all he could offer was the dollar equivalent of thirty bucks a day.

I was walking along the Arno, staring at the huge brown carp under the old bridge.

Wondering how all the wanderlust had turned so bleak so fast.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 315.36

Where do we go from here?

We go where we want to go. We be what we want to be. We do what we must. We do what has to be done.

Al through it all we stay present, aware and joyous.

What else do we have?

We can hide in the shadows of denial, we can pretend it doesn't matter, we can assign blame and judge others.

Conversely we have the option to grow, to shine our lights and sing our songs.

Never we we told (to the best of my knowledge) that all this was going to be easy.

Thing is, it GETS EASIER, as we practice it. Repetition is the key, the same way that we practice free throws, 5 yard outs or double plays. The exact same way we spin the pedals, run uphills and swim countless laps in the pool

You, we, us get better as we repeat the thing we are trying to master.

Stay with it. Hang in there. Face your fears. Do that thing that fills your soul with challenge and rewards the effort with continual improvement and reward. No matter how small.

Take to time to listen. Hear the conversation. Heed.

Tough day this morning, heart all over the place, rugged protocol. I still feel 'off' but OK. I think I will make it through the game.

Huskies in an upset in the desert by the same score we beat them last year in the rain and wind in Seattle, 31-13. Woof.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 314.35, Rainier Beer

Applied for another job today. Here's how it went:

Found a post on Craig's List announcing FOUR IMMEDIATE OPENINGS.

Considered the position, scope and impact. Took that answer and matched it up against supply, demand, here and now.

Having my answer, I cold-fired the Ranger and took off to visit company, a short drive North. But not before doing a last minute grooming and wardrobe upgrade, of course.

It is heart warming to step into a lobby and see a floor to ceiling trophy case. Especially when the top shelves are filled with what appeared to be a complete collection of both Rainier and Olympia beer bottles. Below that a  picture caught me eye. The 1954 Rainier's championship softball team. Appeared to be a co-ed team.

I made my way towards the front desk where a woman sat and stared into a computer monitor for just a bit longer than polite. I am in no hurry today I thought as I prepared my announcement that I was here to accept one of the four positions, and that she would most likely be the recipient of a HUGE Christmas bonus as a result of the hire.

She reached into a cabinet drawer file and plopped a ten page application on the counter, adding, 'and you must include a three-year driving abstract with the completed forms,' without making eye contact.

I am back in the Ranger planning my next self-employed, free-agent, independent contractor brand make-over.

Driving home I think of a quote from the recently read Edward Abbey' epic Fool's Progress.

EA said (something to this effect because now I can't find it among the 400 pages) that he would NEVER settle for a job he didn't like in town where he didn't want to live. This after informing his adoring audience that he had a 'strong liking for pretty girls and a strong dislike for regular work.' My kinda guy.

I take the application and head to the DMV, punched, but still standing. As number 118 I wait patiently in line for a half-hour. The record is $13 and I pay cash. It contains details of a speeding violation issued in 2011 as I made my way to Coeur d' Alene for an Ironman shoot. Officer, I was keeping up with traffic, not impaired, with ten mile visibility in this perfectly maintained rental car.

Sign here.

I fill out the ten pages and attach the document. I drive back up the highway, park in the same spot and enter the lobby.

I glance again at the photo and beer bottles.

She looks up. 'Can I help you?'

Yes, I was here an hour ago and have the paperwork ready for the open position, I can start Monday.

Including the driver's abstract?

Yes. Seems I had a speeding ticket in Grant County three years ago, my bad.

Ha, she shouts I got one there in 1954 on my way to the softball championship in Spokane, that is the biggest speed trap in the state.

So it's not a problem?

Heck no.

I taste the refreshing, crisp taste of Rainier Beer and smile.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 313.34 Quassy revisited

And now a word from our sponsors.

Revisiting the REV3/Challenge Lake Quassy Olympic Distance Triathlon.

It has been awhile. I filmed this spectacular course near Middlebury, CT over a year ago. It remains one of my favorites. Beautiful, warm swim, stunning semi-technical bike course and a demanding run.

We just received word that this event has been selected as the USAT North East Championship race for 2015.

It is most deserving, with congratulations to the REV3 folks.

For those of your that own or have access to a CompuTrainer, you can ride the course in its entirety and prepare for the race with a Real Course Video.

And while you're at it, pick up my second fave of the RCV series, the New York City Triathlon. Both the East Coast events were filmed (dangerously but successfully) in the pack bringing you as close a  perspective as possible without actually being there.

Ride one and see for yourself how RCVs from CompuTrainer put you in the riders seat.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 312.33, A DGWO

Lurking in the shadows of our need to control, under the hood of complex rhetoric and posing as experience and wisdom hides a simple reality.

You can bring in all the technology, use all the tools and listen to a thousand voices.

The same message is delivered (not necessarily understood) every time, every day.

Here it is, bottom-line, no sugar coating, in black and white, fundamental and basic:

What we are after in anything attempting to address the physical is the relentless search for a DAMN GOOD WORK-OUT.

That's it. I don't care about specificity, training blocks, cross-fits or tri-athletics, what my body (and therefore my soul) demands is intensity.

How hard, how long and how fast.

As we are fond of saying, 'you are an American, you have freedoms' (Thanks Veterans), 'that you may put into play in any way that both excites your body, satisfies your soul and allows a meditative calming of mind.'

IOW a DGWO. A dang good work-out.

The rest will take care of itself. As standing atop a volcano at 10,000 feet will take care of your blues.

I hate to be blunt, but them's the facts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 311.32, With a little help

I am back.

In a complete change of tone, offering a touch of Yin to balance the abundance of Yang, I present the following pledge:

I will accept whatever comes down the pike as a part of the process of my enlightenment.

So know what universe? (God, or whomever is in charge):

Bring it on.

You cannot beat me if I refuse to fight. I will bend in your wind like a willow, but not break like a dead and decaying coastal cedar.

My acceptance is my salvation.

Thank you for the honor of this challenge.

I may not be worthy but I am ready. With a little help from my friends.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 310.31

“Discontent, blaming, complaining, self-pity cannot serve as a foundation for a good future, no matter how much effort you make.”

Eckhart Tolle

Mr. Tolle is right.

I have been giving this premise  lot of thought. The more I consider it the clearer its message becomes:


As much as I appreciate the message, the execution is another matter altogether.

It has been borderline impossible the last few weeks to maintain a positive attitude. I have sunk into despair many times, pitied my pathetic plight and considered options which only a suicide bomber could relate.

I tried several times yesterday to prod my longtime pal in Hollywood into offering me a job. I metaphorically groveled and metaphysically whined. I am broke, on medication and living in an RV for cryin'-out-loud.


There is not much to hang on to.

I guess I have me. My base. My core. My relentlessness. I will hang.

If I am not going to quit, and I am not, then the very least I can do to feed my soul is maintain a vigilant effort. There has to be value in that.

It is officially thirty days since the pacer implant. There seems to be little negative side-effect of the Amiodorone, as there was the first go-around over a year and a half ago. The first time it lowered my HR to levels that limited blood flow to brain much like a beaver's prized dam limits the flow of the river.  This time, with the pacer (with beaver-like gumption) regulating and restricting the rate at +/- 60bpm, that doesn't seem to be an issue. I still feel dizzy at times, fatigued at others, with sleep sometimes coming only after hours of reading, but at least I can work-out and occupy my mind with the task of physical output.

In that I give plenty of effort. Or, as some say, Media Parking Only.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 309.30, the correct answer

You would think I'd be used to it by now.

I am not.

Definitely not.

Not no-how, not no-way.

It isn't the losing that hurts so much, it is the effort that counts.

Or lack thereof.

You try your best, you sell-out, you never give up and you keep as much hope as you can for as long as you can. You stay in the game until the final gun sounds, the clock reads 00:00.

That did not happen yesterday.

Emotionless, lacklustered, uninterested and unwilling.

And that was just in the first half.

Sure there were injuries to star players and the dismissal of another. It was a tough week and the visiting opposition, a ranked team with a talented QB, weren't going to roll over and concede.

Not hardly. We got creamed and we didn't care. I am deeply saddened by the coaching staff's inability to prepare their team for battle. It is no wonder these kids preform so ineptly as a team. There seems to be no leadership. A season that started out so enthusiastically is now on the ledge. We could lose out after wining the first four.

I guess there is hope. Stranger things have happened. But if they don't care, why should I?

Because you have to.

I believe is the correct answer.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 308.29; Redemption

It is early and I don't have the time to tell the whole story. However;

The wind blew a cold and relentless rain sideways. Braving elements we sat, unprotected, to watch the Dawgs gnaw the Bruins to a slow death and a National Championship. It was November 10, 1990.

It turned to pain, to agony, to suffering, to hope, to a prayer and then just as quickly to agony again. We lost to a team we should have beat badly.

I have been thinking about that game for twenty-four years and have a few ideas, but nothing so solid as to make a case.

Today we have the chance at revenge. To atone for what the giants that fought before us failed to do. We can win.

But today we are not supposed to win. By all rights and measurements UCLA is the better team.

In 1990 the Huskies were the better teem and would go on the next year to claim a National Championship.

But on that day the best team, the victory and its spoils went to the team that had just a little bit more than their opposition.

Luck, will, stamina, chemistry, fan base support, a fumble here a missed block there?

All we have is this day. We have prepared well, we have weathered distraction and obstacle along our path, but the opportunity for greatness lies inside every one of us. As a team, together, fighting our best for a single cause. One outcome. Today:

Breathe, relax, focus and do what must be done. Let us be great.

Redemption today in a glorious and GREAT 27 - 21 Husky victory. WOOF!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 307.28, Five Days on the Road

It was brought to my attention that my Post: Day Number… is slightly shy of an accurate count.

Here were are on November 7, officially the three hundred and eleventh day of this wonderful year, and I am only on post number three hundred and six (seven including this.)

Seems I have lost five days, misplaced them or been the victim of time theft. And while I prefer to see it as the latter, it most likely is the former.

I could go back and do some research but I am going to take the honorable way out and simply double the dosage until we get back in agreement with Father Time. Or with the fact checkers at the publishing company that produced my mini day timer.

And just so you know, I have my day timers in storage going all the way back to 1987. Sometimes I leaf through them to see what I was doing on any given day ten, or twenty, years ago. Silly, I admit but often entertaining.

As an example, on this day twenty-six years ago I was agonizing over what to get my GF at the time (still one of my faves) for a Thanksgiving present. I think that says a lot in itself. The note in the small space simply stated, think outside the box.

If I recall I ended up getting her a beautiful sweater from Nordstroms (in a spectacular box) in a mixture of her favorite colors, olive green and burnt umber (with a touch of orange.) She wore it magnificently and it made me smile every time she did.

I have fond memories of those days. Sometimes fanning through the pages of year's past reminds me of the importance of creating good nows, so that they, too, will one day become dates with which to retrospectively warm my soul on chilly autumn afternoons.

Of late here has been tough rows of hoeing. Backbreaking emotional work. Keeping the weeds and blackberry brambles at bay as I try to prep the soil for winter and the coming spring. Things have been changing fast. Good decisions are critical from here on out.

I think if I can light the way with a smile, some compassion and a little more awareness, we might find those five days somewhere. After all they were part of this road too.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 306.27

Seems like just yesterday that we were full of piss and vinegar.

Launching an exciting new product, a delicious blend of technology and exercise physiology.

We called it Real Course Video.

I brokered the original deal.

We had the World Triathlon Corporation, owners and operators of the Ironman brand as partners.

I was the guy.

The future was nothing but blue skies from now on.

I traveled the world shooting video and collecting GPS.

We sold a ton of product.

I should be happy, right?

We failed.

We allowed the younger, smarter, more aggressive and better financed to lead the next phase.

And they never looked back. They didn't care about their predecessors, the R&D, the countless hours we spent in creation of the product.

Why should they?

So today I look back on all the sweat on the floor and think:

We blew it.

No, I blew it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 305.26

This amazing saga just keeps getting better.

Better or worse.

Depending on your half full/half empty outlook.

As we heard this morning, it HAS been a long strange trip.

I was rejected.

I lost $500 earnest money. I should have known better.

Contingent upon approval.

The hospital turned me over to collection because I went to the ER while my application for financial assistance was being processed.

They ran a credit check.

Guess what showed up?

Gal said we just can't be liable.

I said that is a hard line considering I just paid cash for the unit.

Sorry, she said.

I called the realtor back and pleased my case.

No return call.

Have we become that callus a society?

Or is it me?

Either way the sun will rise tomorrow and I will have another chance to prove my mettle.

I am thankful for that.

.26 note: I am in second day on the new arrhythmia med, amiodorone, and it is wicked. In the same way that things are better (or worse).

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day 304.25, beer and a map

Tomorrow it appears that I will be a property owner again. At least I will be paying taxes.

Believe it or not, I found a place (you can imagine it any way you like for now) for 13,000 USD. I was laughing this afternoon on the highway about 99% of the CARS costing more than that.

Further, not believing it myself, I offered 10K cash.

Guess what happened next?

In the morning we meet at the realtors to do the deed. This assuming I pass the background check and employment criteria.

The easy one is that one must be 55 or older.

OMG, what have I done? This ain't no beer and a map ride!

In real estate jargon the new site is what they like to call a 'charmer with possibilities'. Which always sounds to me like a cobra in a wicker basket.

Whatever. I need a place to hang my hat. I need a place to set up video editing shop. I need a place to call my own. However humble.

This satisfies all that.

Especially the humble part.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Day 303.24

Well, today wasn't one of the best. We did our normal 0530 spin session for which I intentionally dialed down the intensity factor to match my perception of personal capability. To little apparent avail. It hurt and I hurt. I knew I was in AF going in, but what happened after really got me reeling. Came as close as ever to passing out from hypotension. Merely going from a sitting position to standing caused me to reach for support and hang on for dear life. I had to get back home (back RV) asap after that and lay down. Take a nap at 7 in the morning.
But nothing helped. I laid there and felt my heart try to jump out of my chest cavity, spasms in arms, legs and shoulders. Pings in neck, jaw and temple. I kept my heart rate monitor on and it was telling me what I already knew: Somewhere between 92 and 212 was the truth.

So I go down and try to get the meds and they are still trying to figure it out. No luck. I talk again to the nurse, she says she has been working it non-stop all day. I set up the new remote monitor machine and because I am on cell only now I can't send EKG info because I don't have a land line.

I take the machine to my sister-in-laws (she is a nurse) and ask for help. We get the data and send it off in less than five minutes. Two weeks of HR data downloaded from the chip in my pacer.

They call back in twenty minutes to tell me that I am in AF and need to take my medication.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day 302.23

Admiration and respect.

They can go a long way together. Like the moon and the mountain.

Without a doubt they make me better. Even if for a minute or two before I revert to my patented default slow, fat and lazy mode.

Why is this?

I think because being the superior man is hard. Takes a lot of work, with no coffee breaks or down time. Always on, always ready and never arrogant.

I was on the receiving end of some of that today. Witnessed another outstanding athletic performance.

But it's what happened after that really made the day.

The kind of stuff that separates the Pros from the Joes quick.

A chat. A talk. An honest and sincere inquiry. I was asked how I was doing.

I shared my frustrations, some of my challenges and all of my fear. It was received with concern and compassion, even a few milligrams of empathy.



Admiration and respect went a long way today.

Way past the finish line.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Day 301.22, Twice!

We made it through TWICE today!!!!!

First was the ridiculously hard 90 minutes in the House of Mirth (the room in which we spin) . And the second was the Huskies come-from-behind victory over the hustling Colorado Buffaloes.

The protocol: 30 seconds in a sitting-standing-and sitting again segment followed by five seconds of explosive power and then (and only then) a 30 second break before upping the resistance setting one notch, and repeating from 15-21. Ouch.

The we did them for for sixty seconds. More ouch.

And then for two minutes. Mucho ouch.

Almost immediately afterwards the Huskies and Buffs kicked it off from Boulder's Folsom Field. We played like bison shit for the first half but managed to endure and power-up to an explosive 38-23 victory.

Thereby setting up our jaunt to the home of the Dawgs next week in the PowerBus to watch the purple and gold clad local eleven tee it up with the Bruins from UCLA. Should be almost too much fun!!!!

So there is your two for two. I am a happy (albeit tired) Husky tonight.

Yes, I am fan of indoor cycling and college football.

See you tomorrow.