Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 4.120 Coffee on Stovetop

The wi-fi is out again. Interesting how that changes everything. Sure, there is a frustration factor, the minor inconvenience, but I am trying to hackchop a promo video and need access to information. NOW.

I have succumbed to the modern world of having the collective data of everything at my fingertips. All I need is a name. I know exactly where to find her correct spelling and current title.

I could call but that is too slow. They would put me on hold or I would have to leave a voice message. The ignominy!

I need the info this very instant.

So I will head down to the Starbucks and borrow some of their bandwidth.

This irks me for two additional reasons. One obvious being that it is a waste of time and resources, the other being Starbucks has been leaving a bad taste in my mouth since their inception. I might be the last reaming person on this planet who has spent less than $10 at any of their ten billion stores. The only time I go there is when somebody gives me a gift certificate…..

…or I need the wi-fi.

So this is how we'll play it today; I am sitting this very moment making my daily post, after that I will gather the info necessary to complete the video. I will dash home, add the text and render for YouTube. I will transfer the completed video to a thumb drive, return here and upload. All that will take about three hours.

Might as well get started. There is a lot of cable to pull.

At least there is coffee on the stovetop.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Day 4.119 Pipes

Part One. Over the weekend I did some horse trading. Gone is the vintage - but high maintenance - '78 Goldwing 1100. I bought it a year ago to test new camera mounting systems and thought I might use it for a few local shoots as well. It ended up doing hard tarp-covered time without the possibility of a roll.

From the Craig's List ad came an inquiry about a trade. How about my '98 Honda Shadow VT600 straight across? (asked Nick from Mill Creek)

After a day of negotiation, test rides and serious consideration, the deal was made. The glow of the Goldwing has faded to the blackness of the Shadow.

I still don't have a place to park it so yesterday I pulled this off:

Tossed Trixie (my fixie) into the truck (this after changing the rear tube), and sped off to the storage facility where the RV currently rests between assignments. Dropped off my bike and drove back to my brother's place where the Shadow was. Rode the Shadow back to the RV, ten miles or so (burning my leg on the exhaust pipe in the process as I was wearing shorts, dressing for the ride back and not the ride out). Rode the fixie back to my brother's, put it in the truck and drove home.

It was fun and I like the way it impacted only me. I didn't have to burden Dad or brother Michael for a ride. They are busy enough.

Part Two: Please check out this article on music and this one on music in training. In an informal poll this morning we learned that one can BOTH associate and a disassociate simultaneously. In this morning's set I heard NOTHING while going to max for 30 seconds, and heard EVERYTHING during the subsequent 90 seconds of recovery.

Part Three: Combining all of the above, the discussion came up last night about the use of bagpipes in Rock & Roll. Pleasing everyone (!) from moto to fixed gear riders, indoor and outdo cyclists and music lovers of all genres, the RCVman is pleased to provide you with the Rock & Roll TOP FIVE BAGPIPE TUNES OF ALL-TIME.

5) Sky Pilot, The Animals
4) Anthem, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
3) Copperhead Road, Steve Earle
2) The Third Hurrah, Jethro Tull
1) It's a Long Way to the Top (If you Wanna Rock 'n Roll, AC/DC.

There you have it. Use them in good health and for good times. Pipe on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 4.118 Zen and the Art of the DI

If indeed we use exercise as a stress buster, I failed convincingly yesterday. There have been countless studies suggesting the value of  a brisk walk, a therapeutic swim or a furious run when circumstances or situations reach critical mass.

So there I sat, facing the innocent group who had gathered pre-dawn to get in a workout.

I unloaded both barrels on them.

To a degree this is expected. Everyone knows that the typical spin instructor is a combination zen master and drill instructor with the primary directive of getting the recruits to over-achieve, go harder, last longer and attain a glimpse of what the dynamic triad of mind, body and spirit unification is capable of producing.

You don't do that by asking nicely.

I have a reputation for being loud. I yell. I cajole and as far as proximity defines, I am in their faces. Non stop. For an hour.

Sometimes I need this strategy to get myself to preform, 'come on, come on, you can do it'. Other times it comes as a response to stimuli. If I see someone slacking, they are going to know about its unacceptability.

Not because they are failing, but because it sends a powerful signal to others that half-ass might be a option, and that compromise is an acceptable solution when the going gets tough. This causes the chains of command to rust. And eventually fail altogether. The group lives and dies together, much as a baseball team or the third infantry division.

You have the power to motivate and inspire your peers. We must all assume the roles of leadership no mater our rank, rating or role. Often the most moving moments come from those who put courage on display, not raw power, speed or strength. It is about attitude, your focus and your willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. Our mission is to improve, no easy chore.

If all this effectively manages a modicum of our accumulated stress in the process, more power to us all.

But please don't make me scream to get that point across.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 4.117 The Target

If it is all in the definition, then let's redefine the definition.

I believe that there is a not-so-small distinction between work and play.

As usually I am using indoor cycle training as the metaphor. Is it work or play?

Those of you who have sat opposite the instructors riser in 'class' or the many who have sat alongside in our Multi-Rider facility have a very good idea as into which camp I fall.

It is work. Pure, simple, fist and foremost. What makes this review necessary is the fiscal responsibility I uphold in the attempt to be all things to all people. Lord knows I have run a few people off that weren't quite all-in with this level of commitment. The fiscal part comes from the contract between myself and the club where they pay me to lead the sessions. From their view it would be better, much better, to have a class full of students paying half-attention than a half-full class of folks giving their usual 110%. So it is also with the PowerBarn. I spend five days a week doing the same thing but with different tools. It's like I work for GM during the day as a parts assembler and moonlight over at Ferrari as a test driver. The days are for dough and the nights for show.

My dough is a currency called hard work. I am not here to entertain so you don't notice what changes are taking place with your mind, your body and/or your spirit.
You want mindless fun - there are plenty of places that specialize in it - go there. Please do not waste my time, the time of your peers, or your own in my house. Take it where it is acceptable to give 50%, to dummy-down or to dismiss the importance of our work. I would rather you have pizza, beer and The Three Stooges.

But should you decide that honest effort, hard work and focused dedication to an ideal (your health & fitness) are important to you - then come on in. And be prepared to step outside your comfort zone. One more thing: HAVE SOME RESPECT. For your teammates, the captain, the organization and yourself.

Now the clincher.

I believe that an all out sincere effort on the path of improvement - is fun. Guess I am a little weird that way.

It is same way that we used to motivate ballplayers. We recognize that winning isn't the only thing, that the willingness to do whatever is necessary to achieve that outcome is, and that result, victory, also happens to be a lot more fun than losing, is the full circle.

When your definition of fun comes as the result of hard work, effort, focused execution of a protocol and improvement, then you have it.

When hard work becomes play.

When winning becomes fun.

When you decide to do whatever necessary to achieve the results of the present moment.

Your definition is on target.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day 4.116 Another Sunday Shootout

Heading out for another Sunday shoot.

Last week was almost 500 miles around the North Cascades Highway. That video, still in render, looks great, steady, smooth and sunny.

Today we will try to get in 67 miles around Kitsap County to film the Viking Tour, a new event sponsored by the Poulsbo Rotary Club. One of the many unique elements of the ride is the sprint purse. Approximately 20 miles into the ride is a 7 mile timed 'sprint' with a $1,000 prize awarded to the quickest male & female rider. This is terrific, adding a professional touch to the family-ride casualness of typical cycling events.

Unlike last week, today we will ride and shoot under threatening gray skies. We need to hustle before the floodgates open in the early afternoon.

I will post pix of both later this evening, but for now I must pack, prep and get out to the start site.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Day 4.115 The Seat of Power

The metaphor was not lost upon me. It is the final episode of season two. District supervisor Ryan Chappelle has been sent to replace Tony Almeida at CTU. Tony & Michelle are still assisting Jack in the hope of finding the new Mr Bad before the new POTUS can drop a payload on the countries supposedly sponsoring the terror. Ryan has imprisoned Tony & Michelle for insubordination and maybe treason. But Jack (again) saves the day in heroic fashion and Ryan releases Tony. After a moving scene with Jack and Kim we switch back to CPU where Ryan is taking most of the credit for the success of the counter-terrorism victory on a phonon with the SecDef. We all know that medal should be presented to Jack and when Tony after being released comes back to his office, the directors seat is housing Ryan. Chappelle gives Tony the low-down brief and tosses a back door compliment his way for his efforts. Then Tony says:

"Look, it's like this, either you fire me or get outta my chair."

Mr. Chappelle closes some files, stacks them neatly in his arms, smirks at Tony and leaves.

It was a great scene, a perfect conclusion to an incredible season.

Oh yeah, the metaphor. The seat has clout. You must take 100% ownership of the seat. The seat is a symbol of everything right, just, moral and true. The seat has power. The seat is everything.

Just like what you sit upon when riding outside or spinning in.

Fire me or get outta my seat.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 4.114 Don't Worry Baby

I am not sure I can adequately re-tell this trivial event that took place Monday. But I will try.

I was given the opportunity to replace a cancellation at UW Medicine. This was a follow-on to my ER visit the Friday before. I was to meet with the head Cardiologist and two fellows. It was for 0830, meaning I had to jump through a few fire hoops to get there.

Taking great pride in my ability to mix minimum cost with maximum efficiency here is how it worked, all this a testimony to the power of community.

Monday, 0430. I wake before the alarm and prep for spin class. 0530-0630 Rock and Roll in the saddle. I had announced to the group that we would be breaking with convention this one day only as I HAD to be aboard the 0705 ferry to Seattle. I 'take' a five minute shower and Gabi at the front desk has my coffee ready and like an expert aid station volunteer hands it off to me on the fly. We spill nary a drop of the hot drip. Speeding down the highway I make a field decision not to park at RGs and trot to the boat, but instead to park in the four hour spots much closer. I will probably get a parking ticket for this but I can't take the chance of missing the sailing and besides my right hamstring is cramping.

I meet Rob in the galley with two minutes to spare. Rob has offered to drop me off on his way to work. He is a hotshot at Amazon and shows up when he feels like it, a situation I am sure is a non-issue with Mr Bezos.

By the time I get into the examination room I am a little gassed. I am greeted by a nurse, a tech, a specialist and the fellow. THIS IS ALL ABOUT ME, wow. I tell my pathetic story and sit waiting for Dr. Stewart the head of Cardiology. He is a busy guy. As I wait the only magazine available is Glamour, so I pull out my iPhone to test the new earbuds.

First song up from shuffle play is the Beach Boys. I am listening to Don't Worry Baby, hearing vocals, harmony and stereo mix like never before. Please remember that I have heard this beautiful song maybe a million times since it was released in 1964. It is so pure and serene that I fall deep into a peaceful sleep (on the beach in the sunshine).

I am startled awake by the doctors, who are both smiling down at me as I sit and snooze, the gloriousness of the music still caressing my soul.

I felt stupid and embarrassed. But they smile and nod. I think they knew what was happening. I was in a totally relaxed state. Somewhere I haven't been in a LONG time.

I tell them my story. They refer to notes. We run some tests. I get referred to two other departments for further testing. I feel better already, and prepare for the return trip home and most likely to face the parking ticket music.

I have been gone for well over twice the parking limit. I have already concocted my story to tell the judge. (Went in for a routine check up and got admitted).

I get back to the truck.

No ticket.

I put the earbuds back in.

Don't Worry Baby everything will work out alright.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 4.113 We Shall See

We started a new era last night.

It is the same-old-stuff (SOS) but with a twist, or perhaps better, a new spin.

I took over the Wednesday night spin class at our local club, The Bainbridge Athletic Club. I had to juggle our schedule at the PB to do so, but I think it will prove to be a good move.

I wanted to start fresh with this new group so we immediately reviewed the basics, the whys and hows, ways and means. There is only so much anyone can say about indoor cycling without eventually either burning out on cliched rhetoric or tip-toeing into tangential terrain. I have done both. To excess.

But last night was different. It was good for me to refresh as well. I tried my best to entertain, a huge requirement for the evening classes, not so much for the 0530 die-hards who expect simple hard work, and to educate as any instructor can size up a group pretty quick with experience. It is like walking up to a race and determining your necessary effort based upon who else has showed up. I have called it advanced dialect body language.

It was also an interesting night because the local press was sending over a photog to support an article they are compiling about our community cycling scene. I had to hold in my gut for almost ten minutes.

With all this taking place in real time, the juices went on high-viscosity red-light alert. It was mandatory that I hook the group fast if this is going to last, I thought going into phase one.

Phase one requires the exchange of concepts to consider as the body goes into overdrive. It is perfect environment to train mind and body together, to let go, de-stress and get the spirit and soul to join the parade. It can be magical.

Some of those concepts include:

Aggressive engagement.
Having a plan.
Leveraging the power of the group and the strength of others.
Pursuing the awesome experience.
Taking 100% responsibility for effort.
The willingness to pay the price for dreams.
Never giving up.
Never procrastinating.

Among others.

It was a great night. I think the hook has been properly set.

We shall see next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Day 4.112 Google it

Jack: The people that I deal with, they don’t care about your rules. All they care about is a result. My job is to stop them from accomplishing their objectives. I simply adapted. In answer to your question - am I above the law: no Sir, I am more than willing to be judged by the people you claim to represent; I will let them decide what price I should pay. But please, do not sit there with that smug look on your face and expect me to regret the decisions that I have made, because, Sir, the truth is I don’t.

There is our JBQ of today. Jack is on trial. He is being grilled by the hypocrisy of our system personified by a greasy, corrupt proxy for democracy known as a US Senator.

It is the malignant 'don't ask and don't tell' paradox of doing business in the age of terrorism. Jack gets results. He saves the world, or at least the US part of it, every season. How he gets these results is the issue. He bends the rules. He tortures. He finds and saves truth, justice and the American Way. He is the classic and tragic Greek hero in a modern setting. He is affected, has been hurt as mush as he has hurt, many times as result of the very actions he takes to protect the innocent. His pain is ours. We are lost and hopeless without him because we need his heroism, courage and commitment to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Without Bauer we don't have Jack.

Leading us directly into the repeating metaphor of our first week of Super Eights. It is like Season 10, Episode One. We are back and we have a score to settle with the terrorists who have kidnapped our fitness, holding our strength hostage and demanding an outrageous ransom.

The beauty lies in the simplicity. Go as hard as you can, 100% all out, for 30 seconds. Rest and recover as best you can for 90 seconds (that 1:3 golden ratio) and repeat 8 times.

I applaud the heroic participants in our session this morning. It takes balls. We break with convention. We go beyond. We do whatever it takes to accomplish our implausible objective.

The rewards are special. Without pressure you don't have diamonds. It HAS to be hard. You won't find these results anywhere else. Not on TV, not at Safeway not in an alley in Pioneer Square at midnight. If you Google search all the elements and rewards associated with this protocol; Speed, power, endurance, will, grit, focus, and the ability to truly appreciate and embrace these impossible profiles in courage…

You get Jack Bauer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Day 4.111 Three Fingered Jack's

More nostalgic than relaxing, my quick tour of the 'old stomping grounds' Sunday brought back memories faster than my rented Chevy Avevo could climb at 8%.

I was on a video mission to capture the spectacular route connecting Marblemount with Mazama for indoor cycling entertainment. That is, after all, what I do, RCVman being a titular moniker for both this blog and my livelihood. More on that here.

This route, SR20 in the North Cascades, Washington, is usually closed this time of year due to avalanche danger and snow pack. Not anymore. I was amazed at the alarming lack of white. Worse, or rather in perfect logic, was the water level in the Methow River. We are talking LOW here. Alarmingly low.

My mission is one of fitness and fun. I film so you can see.

Currently in download, render, compression and color correction, the media captured Sunday should be stellar. I have sampled a few frames and it generally sizzles. There was very little traffic, a few Harley guys (who always wave as they pass), a small road rally, a handful of RVs and the obligatory locals doing chores. I passed three cyclists in a little under 80 miles.


So I now consider it to be my mission to show this awesome route to the world. Yo World, you need to see this. Or as Hollywood is fond of saying: Coming soon!

After the scheduled route shoot I took a break in Winthrop. Walking out and back on the planked sidewalk I remembered the many days and nights spent here. That was over 35 years ago. I was a local, working heavy construction on the Chief Joe Dam in Bridgeport, farming my little 15 acres on the river, playing drums in a C&W band called Stan Sheets and the Fabulous Playboys (more on THAT later) and trying to keep my marriage alive.

Three Fingered Jack's was, and still is, the featured gathering spot in the Valley. When anyone would visit from out of town or out of state, the first stop was Jacks. The beer was always cold (we drank Rainier in those days) and they built a tasty double-burger with local beef. I was carnivorous then, but I still remember. Fried onions. Dance hall music and 100 degrees of high chaparral just outside the swinging doors. We used to start days at Jacks and finish in Carlton, 30 miles downriver all on the Methow floating on inner tubes. We had one tube dedicated to beer, kept safely in a net submerged in the icy run-off water. There are a couple of rapids but for the most part it is floating and frolicking. We've done it in kayaks and canoes but by far the most fun was tubing.

And we had some fun.

Don't ask me about the marriage.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Day 4.110 The Streak is Over (long live the streak)

The streak is over. We made it 109 days. In legal parlance I will plead nolo contendere or perhaps the more simple, guilty with explanation.

I give you power to be judge and jury.

My case presented:

As the North Cascades Highway, SR20, one of the most scenic roads in the Evergreen State opened early this year due to man-created global warming (objection), and that I was officially "off" for the day, and that further, the sun was allegedly going to shine at a glorious Fahrenheit rate of 70 plus degrees, I decided to go video said highway.

After selling the plan to HQ they sent it down the hall to logistics. How the heck are we going get this in the can for the budgeted amount (zero)? AND be back in time for 0530 class in the morning?

Eyebrows raise and postures are adjusted as interest suddenly grows. I can almost hear the defense thinking 'this should be good.'

0430 wake up.
Park at RGs and trot to the 0520 boat, fully loaded in one backpack.
Walk to light rail station in Pioneer Square.
Catch train to Sea-Tac.
Pick up rental car.
Drive to Marblemount (118 miles).
Mount cams, connect to GPS, buy a coffee and hit record.
Shoot the 90 miles Marblemount to Mazama (see photo as Exibit A)
Shoot the 75 miles between Winthrop to Chelan.
Stop at the Subway.
Drive back to Sea-Tac via Stevens Pass in heavy Sunday traffic.
Take rail back to Pioneer Square station.
Walk to 2110 ferry.
Walk to RG'a and pick up ruck.
Drive home.

All that was almost five hundred miles, seventeen hours and sixty-six dollars and fifty-seven cents, including lunch.

So your honor, that is my story, sad but true, every word.

With the kind permission of the court I will make two posts tomorrow as repentative compensation, and solemnly vow never repeat my foolishness.

I smile when she says that having the streak snapped at 109 is punishment enough (the bloggers version of time served).

You may go.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 4.108 MOM it HURTS

OK, this:

"Suffering is necessary until you decide that suffering is unnecessary."

I have been using a variant of this in our indoor training for some time now. I have always liked the underlying magic of its simplicity.

Today we hammered out our weekly 90 minute set with a series of hill climbs. Considering the beautiful blue skies overhead and immediately outside, it was a wonder we had anybody riding inside at all.

But we got after it. I experimented with some new (old) tunes and the time passed about the way it always does. One second after another. With the kicker being that whatever mind-set we have at the time completely dictates the experience and its value. You may suffer if it is your definition or you may simply do what must be done and enjoy the ride and define your effort afterwords. Either way will all arrive at the top of the hill in a near proximity.

Did you have fun? Did it kill you? Were you present and aware of the compound changes taking place? Did you consider shooting the instructor?

You can suffer. Or not. It is up to you. It is very much like looking into the sun. It can be spectacular or blinding.

However (you knew there was going to be a however) I guarantee that if you transcend the suffering and look at effort, challenge and hard work as something other than an evil prank, your game will improve exponentially.

Or like we considered this morning, winning isn't the important part, the important part is taking pride in your progress no matter the pace.

These things take time.

Time is fleeting and the clock is running.

So you had better make it count.

Lose the suffering and embrace the opportunity of challenge. Witness the struggle lovingly and encourage continual improvement.

The unnecessary suffering will continue until you decide it is wasteful, counter productive and childish.

But Mom, it hurts.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Day 4.107 Don't worry

"Don't worry about what you don't know, worry about what you don't do."

This in reference to teaching. The context is that many of us wait until we feel adequately qualified or have the necessary credentials to share with others.

Everybody has the gift of uniqueness of experience. NOBODY has done all that you have, in the manner you have and with the resulting wisdom that you have.

One of the true beauties of social media is in the way we can communicate and share stories. If a small percentage of those stories is didactic, everybody wins. I have no idea what the codes look like in making this internet thing work, but I recognize the power of the medium. I can share stories, tales, anecdotes, victories, hopes, defeats, recipes and notes from the road. I find this as amazing as I find it awesome.

It doesn't matter what I know if I don't share. I do not have to be the greatest living blogger in America, knowing all there is to know about search engine optimization and advanced algorithms to share my thoughts, experiences and impossible schemes.

And yes a big part of this is therapeutic. I write because I wish to improve as much as I write to share. I get to outline thoughts and develop ideas. I get to journal. The content may not be a exciting as a Hollywood boiler plate, but nobody out there wears my running shoes.

Just me.

So I don't worry about what I don't know. I know what I don't know. I try every day to lower that incredible sum.

I do however, worry about what I don't do.

I pray to have the wisdom and courage to so do.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Day 4.106 No big hurry

Sometimes I am inspired by the smallest thing. Something I hear, see, read, watch. Three minutes ago as I shielded my eyes from the blinding sun shimmering over the waters of Puget Sound, I heard a movement from a Beethoven opus. The mix was a magical one. Awed by the mountains and moved by the master, the moment magic.

I don't know why I can't hold the magic longer than I am currently able. Distractions, commitments, a cacophony of harsh reminders that work needs doing all conspire to take me out of the moment.

They drag me out by my feet as I scream in protest. STOP I just want to feel peaceful, calm and pain-free for another minute. PLEASE.

I am back to working standing up today as my right elbow is inflamed with some version of carpel tunnel syndrome. Arthritis might be hiding behind all this. I don't know but almost before the two Tylenol I popped yesterday had been absorbed I felt 100% better. That and a 2x20 set in the PB really did the trick. So much so that I over-celebrated during the last three episodes of Season One and now have a headache to accompany the elbow pain. So I now work standing to change the arm angle and wear a neoprene wrap. Makes it feel like a game somehow. Whatever it takes to stay there. In the game. Just like the good ole days, painkillers and rubber wraps.

All this leads to the quote I stumbled across last night (during the slow moments of the show I sneak in web peaks in case somebody should need me for something important, somewhere). The quote is this:

It's not about winning as much as it is about taking pride in our progress at any pace.

I think about that as I walk backwards from the window, the power and majesty of Ludwig's symphonic ode to beauty concludes with a climatic exclamation point and a timpani.

I consider my progress and the almost unbearable slowness with which it grows.

I look once more time at the sun and water, the Cascades behind, wondering if they perhaps feel the same way.

There is no big hurry.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Day 4.105 Simply needs to be

I am finding it hard to be original today.

This morning when the air-raid siren alarm went blaring at 0415, I did the same thing I do every pre-dawn Wednesday.

I get to my feet in the darkness, checking that my internal gyroscope is functioning properly and make my way to the bathroom taking sure-footed baby steps on the bamboo floor. I brush my teeth and gargle. I run the rotary electric shaver over my cheeks and chin. I gingerly navigate my way to the kitchen to boil water for coffee and drop one slice of potato bread into the toaster. As the water and bread heat I go back to the bedroom to dress. I like the efficiency of the morning multi-task. I look out the window and see the sound and stars. I know how the lighthouse feels.

After coffee and toast I take my anticoagulant and anti arrhythmia medication and head to the table to check the global news and any social media communications that cannot wait another minute. I look at the master calendar to see what chores await me later in the day and head out the door.

I am driving to the club. I am very dizzy. I have not slept. I feel like shit. I wonder if it is my heart or something else, something worse. For one nanosecond I see the number 90 bus coming at me in the other lane and wonder……

At the club, I try to add something to the community. To lead these fine folks in an hour long indoor cycling session to keep them healthy and fit. I think that I really should not be doing this, but it is the only thing that makes me feel somewhat 'normal'. IPA works too.

We get through the high-intensity set listening to Dire Straits, CCR and the Talking Heads. I keep a vigilant eye on my heart-rate monitor and make my focus the work itself, its technique and challenge. I make sure to drink often from my stainless steel bottle of citrus flavored electrolytes. I try to EQ the music but the ringing in my ears makes it more muddy than clear.

Afterwords in the shower I almost drop. The dizziness has returned and I put a hand on the tile wall to steady myself. I want to cry. Tears that have nothing to do with shampoo.

I dress slowly and leave after a few polite conversations with the staff.

I drive home and mix protein supplement with almond milk and drink in one gulp.

I go to lay down wishing for nothing more than a twenty minute reprieve from this unknown and frustrating abnormality.

Maybe scrambled eggs will help, I consider, after my futile attempt at sleep.

Maybe today doesn't need to be original.

Maybe it needs simply to be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Day 4.104 She did not

Three eggs scrambled into sauteed garlic. Protein supplement with almond milk. Two cups of weak coffee. Breakfast today. It was a good start, despite the relative blandness of the Joe.

Got caught up with some project related details, did an interview with the local paper and I am now ready to tackle the day. Like a pissed-off linebacker.

Number one big thing is a 10K in the park. I need to hurry because this sun break looks to be losing its battle with the wind and rain.

Once the 6.2 has been successfully traversed (I would really like to start seeing some time improvements) it is back to the West Maui Loop video I have been working on, set list mash-up for tomorrow, the ongoing search for affordable housing, the ongoing search for sustainable employment and then the highlight of the day, another session in the PowerBarn tonight.

After the PB is the entertainment/wind-down nightly routine of a few episodes of 24 paired with two glasses of whatever sale-priced Australian shiraz remains. Last night I even popped some white corn with asiago cheese, red pepper flakes and black course ground pepper.

That is kinda it.

My routine.

Sometimes I wish I was a homeowner again with a mortgage and a 9-5 job to support it. Sometimes I wish Liz had said yes way back in 1970.

Other times I am happy I am not and she did not.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Day 4.103 Great Start

Bauerism of the day (to be henceforth referred to as the DJB - Daily Jack Bauer quote):

Jack: (To Rick, the kidnapper of Kim, who has now changed caps and is helping the Bauer Three escape from the evil compound of Gaines, under heavy fire as Rick nurses a gunshot wound that JB has examined and determined to be non life threatening as the slug passed straight through without shattering bone or slashing a main artery): "Part of getting a second chance is taking responsibility for the mess you created in the first place."

House of Mirth WOD (Work Out of the Day): 15 seconds standing at double-shot power (twice your body weight) followed by a 45 second seated recovery at 7/120 (flat and super fast). 3x12 with a 5 minute break between sets.

This morning in class I referenced an article on the 'Blue Zones' of the planet where people have a substantially higher rate of reaching 100. Here is the abbreviated cliff-notes version of how they do it:

1) They move their bodies a lot.
2) They eat local, practical and organic to 80% of 'full'.
3 They hang in support groups that embody healthy habits.

I also mentioned this morning that I love Mondays. Mondays are the Spring of weekdays. There is hope, there is rebirthing and there is the opportunity for a fresh start.

Good enough for me.

Hang in a support group that embodies healthy habits. And listen to what JB says.

Great start.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 4.102 So it Goes

I am listening to a recorded version of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five. Ethan Hawk is whispering the narrative. I have the volume up close to max and hang on every word as I navigate the slick highway, gray from a light rain. I remember the novel. I remember thinking how much I liked KV's style as I listened. It is, in both print and spoken word, gloriously absurd.

Perhaps that is why I like it so much. Connecting outlandish situations as witnessed by an objective, unbiased observer. and Billy Pilgrim can travel in time.

Sometimes I think I can too. If getting smacked between the eyes with the harsh memory of a silly adolescent misdemeanor can be called time-travel. True time-travel must have a physical element, I think, because real time-travelers actually take their bodies with them when they move between the then and the there. I just get the memory part. My body is always here.

Once upon a time I was patient to the skills of a hypnotist. She did past life regressions and thought I might be 'fun'. She put me under and orchestrated a meeting between me and my former self. My former self was alone in a high school locker room after a particularly tough defeat. The now me walked in like a newspaper reporter and started in with some questions. The then me wasn't in the mood but soon warmed to the oddity that there was something 'different' about this session. I/he couldn't put a finger on it but there was a bond, some connection, a warmth between us. Compassion and empathy between two apes of different color.

We are the same person, one the dejected 'now' star and the other the former star 50 years later. The elder wanted to help the younger get over his anguish and shame. He wanted to say, don't worry everything will be alright. He wanted to console, to advise, to befriend. I will always be here for you slugger. I know what you are going through. I know it hurts. I know how deeply important this is to you.

But it will be OK. Just take a shower, put your lettermen's jacket back on and go talk to Liz. She is waiting outside and she will tell you the same thing I am telling you now.

It's going to be OK.

So it goes

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Day 4.101 Lyrics

Once again I wind up with my cycling shoes stuck inside the pie hole. It happened during our regular Saturday 90 minute spin session at the Club. I am the host. It is a direct-drive dictatorship although at times I allow a fleeting glimpse of democracy as contrast. The premise is pretty simple: You show up ready to go, focus on the effort at hand and work hard. I mentioned this morning that anyone who came to our DGWO (dang good work out) seeking ordinary, average or mediocre had come to the wrong dojo.

Butt was kicked. Names were taken. There are no prisoners.

Yet during one endorphin fueled climb (one of many) I made the commitment to write lyrics like Dylan. Yes I would I cried.

So now I am stuck. I blurted a promise and now I must do or die.

Luckily I didn't say when I would finish the drill, so there is that. I have started however, and ask for a continuance in order to present my best work. Bob would go.

In other news, I am working on three video shoots:

Viking Tour Pre-Ride Video on April 26
Santa Fe Century
Viking Tour Ride
Chelan Century

It has turned into a be beautiful day here in the GPNW. My work is almost done.

Time to write some lyrics.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 4.100 On the Bus

Amazing that we are at Day 100. One hundred days into the year. We are moving fast. Is stuff getting done?

I can't even remember my New Year's resolution. With a combination of jest and relief I feel comforted by the knowledge that should early onset of Alzheimer's appear even earlier than expected, I have a record of what has been taking place that might (or might not) have accelerated (or delayed) the alarming loss of memory that has been taking place. At least I think it has been taking place. I am not entirely certain.

To illustrate to myself the value of this I took a quick look back at posts from this date and their content. It has obviously been a wild ride on a runaway train (wreck).

Here they are with themes and topics.

2014 Hang in there dude!
2013 Gone Phishin.
2012 Quit negative thinking.
2011 Tall stack.
2010 Albany & TJ 1/2.
2009 The Competition.
2008 One with Everything.

Like I say it has been a wild ride.

I think choice comes from awareness. I think sometimes the big lessons come from pain. I think our spirit seeks change but our bodies don't. I think time is speeding up (maybe as a result of global warming) and we are left with something both finite and fleeting.

The time we have left. We are 100 days into 2015. Yikes!

Time to get on the bus.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 4.99 On Viking Time

Seemed like a big waste of time.

Dropped my truck off at Les Schwab to have new shocks installed and then walked to the accountant to have my taxes done.

Those two chores took six hours.

But I did have breakfast with Dad and made the obligatory Thursday visit to the clinic for a blood draw. My INR is still low and they want to up the dosage again.

After all that I had just enough time to burn the April 2x20 DVD and now I am ready to head out for the PowerBarn for our last evening training ride of the week.

After that I will do some protein, make a sandwich, down a couple of glasses of shiraz and watch another two episodes of 24 (First Season). I had forgotten the superb sound and video editing that they made look as easy as JB getting info from a bad guy.

That is my rather boring report from today. I hope to add some pizzaz to tomorrow's post.

At least I get $34 back and my truck tracks like a Caddy.

Time well spent.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 4.98 Truth & Beauty

As you know I am a sucker for a tight (and sometimes trite) phrase. To meet this criteria the object in such phraseology must embody two elements; Truth and beauty.

Truth and beauty.

It is not 100% necessary for the veracity to be altruistic. But it must apply to, and have relevance to, something important. To me. I am quite sure that when you hear the 'no pain - no gain' axiom, it is followed by a cringe. But it is true, SOMETIMES.

Likewise it is not absolutely mandatory that the zinger in question is a bona-fide beauty, as agreed to by the ruling majority. Fact is, all it really requires is a certain degree of cuteness slightly above the norm. After all, a weak tweener looks like a frozen rope in the baseball scorebook. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder (the eye-chart of triteness!)

Can we then say that truth is beautiful and beauty is truth? Yes, I believe we can.

So let's try some out for size and see how they fly. (boy after a hard day at the office do I love to mix a pitcher of metaphors!)

Play for the name on the front of your jersey, not the name on the back of your jersey.
    Two for two, a walk-off dinger.

Separate the wheat from the chaff.
    I have been using the 'separation factor' a lot of late to illustrate our training need to go where others won't. The chaff stops at the start of the out-of-comfort zone yet the wheat pushes past (to become - or win some - bread).

Show them how the cow ate the cabbage.
    Lead by example bovine truth and green-leafy beauty.

Let sleeping dogs lie.
    Might as well, should you disturb - they won't tell you the truth anyway.

Make the process a big part of your personalty.
    I really like this one. It is the 'enjoy the ride' of being here now. It is truthful and beautiful. Be the process.

We have a winner.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 4.97 Insanely Iconic

At 7:52 last night I was finished with my work. It had been a long day, pitching potential clients and editing video sandwiched between two cycling sessions. That is the clean and sober part.

But like a junkie I returned to the scene of the crime looking for a fix. Something to take me out of the mundane, away from reality, my problems, weakness' and fears. It was down time and I wanted to get up.

At 7:52 last night I slipped the DVD into the tray of my Power Mac, slapped on the Sennheiser headphones, replaced the task chair with my favorite comfort chair (originally Mom's) and started over.

Season One, Episode one, Midnight to 1am. 24.

It came back to me in a hurry, the reason I like this dramatic imitation of life so much. It challenges me. It identifies my weakness, opens wounds and swabs them with salt. More than anything I like the idea of Jack Bauer. I like his impossible commitment to implausible morals, the insanely iconic. Here is one example:

"You can look the other way once, and it's no big deal, except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time, and pretty soon that's all your doing; compromising, because that's the way you think things are done. You know those guys I busted? You think they were the bad guys? Because they weren't, they weren't bad guys, they were just like you and me. Except they compromised... Once."

I am now listening to Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About when I Talk About Running on CD in my truck. Not only is he one of my favorite authors, he absolutely nails many of the reasons I run. Here are two samples:

“In most cases learning something essential in life requires physical pain.”

"That was the rule. Break one of my rules once, and I’m bound to break many more."

Noticing any similarities?

I don't know if I can make it all the way through every hour of nine seasons of what I consider to be, perhaps, the case for TV, but I might. I might never run another marathon, but I might. Don't bet against it. Don't compromise and don't break any of your rules.

Welcome back Jack and hello Haruki.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 4.96 Jacks or Better

Jacks or better to open.

I don't remember the exact date, but it was somewhere in January of this year. I found a complete set of DVDs at Goodwill. $1.99 for the entire first season of 24. Little did I know.

I became interested (and since developed a knack for understatement) in the Napoleonic Wars after my initial viewing of Master and Commander back in 2004. Peter Weir's epic production from the series by Patrick O'Brien starred the swashbuckling Post Captain (at the time) Lucky Jack Aubrey, brilliantly portrayed by Russell Crowe. I later found that Mr. O'Brien had written almost 30 books on the same subject all whirling around the exploits and maritime adventures of Jack and his counterpart Dr. Steven Maturin. Less than little did I know.

Here we are in April of 2015. I am sad, depressed, lonely and forlorn.

I finished the final season of 24 last night, Live Another Day. The heroic Jack Bauer being taken by the dastardly Russians to Moscow for what we all know will be a painful (and perhaps final) stint in some Soviet stalag. For the remainder of my days I will feel empowered and moved by the character so perfectly portrayed by Kiefer Sutherland. The guy had balls.

Almost simultaneously I finished listening to the collected works of Patrick O'Brien as rendered and read unabridged on tape, CD more accurately. All this made me feel like a captain of a 32 gun frigate as I drove my 4 cylinder Ford Ranger around town.

They are both gone now. I am done. It is over. The Jacks have left me here to carry on. As they might. I have, I feel, a responsibility to emulate. To copy. To live up to expectations. To honor their (however fictions) courage, conviction and compassion. Good writing is the nail to the hammer of good acting.

Thank you sincerely authors and actors. It was a wild ride, whether at CTU or aboard the Surprise. In LA or Malta, NY or the Galapagos, DC or Port Mahon, London or Mauritius.

I am going to miss you guys. I hope I can carry the torch in some small way.

Jacks couldn't have been better.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day 4.95 Choice

I keep an open book on the table.

The table sits in front of three huge bay windows.

The windows look out upon Puget Sound.

Sailing on these gray waters are cargo ships.

The cargo ships are towed to port by powerful little tugs.

I refer to the open book as I traverse back and forth between my work station and the kitchen.

On the stove in the kitchen I keep a French Press carafe of coffee.

The coffee seems to help me through the day.

On this day, I read a passage from the open book, bookmarked to page 154 of Richard Bach's autobiographically metaphysical opus, Running from Safety.

"You never asked for change, you never asked for what you loved and you never found it, you never hurled yourself into the world that mattered most to you, never fought dragons that you thought could eat you up, never inched yourself out on cliffsides clinging by the tips of your skill a thousand feet over destruction because your life was there and you had to bring it home from terror!  Choice, Dickie! Choose what you love and chase it at top speed and I your future do solemnly promise that you will never die from so what."

I sip the coffee, look out the window at the tugs on the gray water and return to my work, enriched.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 4.94 Meaning


Meaning well.

Meaning to.

As you may have deduced by now (going on 2,500 posts) I am big on meaning. As one of my artist friends was fond of saying, "It HAS to have meaning." The first time I heard him say that, it was in response to a giant outdoor mural we were pitching to Nike. As we negotiated a price for his immense talents, I thought, 'Wow, 100 square feet of color, energy and emotion painted on the side of a skyscraper in downtown Seattle, should be meaning enough.'


He didn't care about the commerce, he didn't want to negotiate a price and he definitely did NOT want to be attached with anything remotely resembling what he called, 'traditional, boring, patronizing and sanctimonious quasi-art as commercial endorsement.'


Do I need to tell you how much I liked this guy?

I had no idea of how it was to play out. Meaning? Meaning what? Meaning how? Meaning who? We create the campaign, find the space, assemble the team and get the sponsor to write us a check. Meaning 101.

(sound of the 'wrong' buzzer)

Somewhere deep down close to the cellar of my soul I wanted to know what this meaning stuff was all about. I wanted to see it, smell it and taste it. I had an idea but its germination was still many moons away.

But it was a start. Being in the presence of someone who has the knowledge to excel and the wisdom to motivate is outrageously inspirational.

And I was.

Fast forward thirty years. Now it is ALL ABOUT MEANING. Everything. Every act, every day, every decision, every choice is predicated by asking that simple question, 'Does it have meaning?'

Before every session I have a little chat with myself. Should there come a time or a day where my energy, focus or mission is in doubt or running short of optimum, the question that gets me back to the power of the present and fills my sails with a gale of hope is the one where I go brutally honest to ensure that there is big meaning attached to the chore. Otherwise, guess what? Your meaning to may be meaning well, but it ain't the proper definition.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 4.93 Patience

A long day spent being patient.

As in, actually being a patient.

On the advice of my staff I checked in the ER at UW Med early this afternoon. The usual stuff: Chest pains, hypotension, sever dizziness and a new twist, this sensation of being tazed. Please don't misconstrue, I have never actually been hit with a tazer, but I am quite sure that if and when I am, I will have an idea of what it feels like. Same with a stroke.

So they told me to go the the ER.

Being a good patient, I followed orders, albeit after I treated myself to a German pancake, scrambled eggs and hash browns breakfast at Elmer's. I figured, what the hey, might as well splurge a little before the splurging comes from a cup with a crooked straw.

Six hours, EKGs, blood and urine tests and visits from three specialists later, I was discharged with the follow up instructions to call the cardiologist, the office of whom suggested earlier that I visit the ER.

As has happened in the past, I felt great while resting comfortably in the plush digs of this outstanding facility. But on the ferry ride home, I got tazed again and almost couldn't walk off the boat.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? I asked no one in particular, venting.

I feel better now after some rice and beans (and two mucho frio Negra Modelos). But we need to get this thing figured out.

I am running out of patience.

At least the sunset was nice.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 4.92 Sarcopenia

At some point in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass and function, a condition known as age-related sarcopenia. People who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass per decade after age 30.

Sound vaguely familiar?

There is a cure. Do not go gentle into that good night. Add more to your agenda. Don't give up.

More lifting, more moving, more stretching, more quality.

Words to live by.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day 4.91 You will be rewarded

I probably should do something sneaky and stupid today, it being April Fools Day and all. But I will resist the temptation and carry on in the traditional manner you have come to expect and appreciate. 

There is some good news I would like to share, mostly because it gives me renewed purpose and hope, two ideals that I relentlessly hunt.

As you know the crowdfund campaign (getting a free RCV for a $25 contribution to cover expenses to - and hopefully from - Pucon, Chile) was a total flop. Of the 5K I estimated this trip would cost, we raised a weak 28%. This is totally my fault and I again would like the sincerely thank those of you who saw the underlying reasons for this endeavor and participated.

Really it was to create something out of nothing. It was an important project to provide entertainment value to thousands of people who cycle train indoors. It was also a way for me to be a job creator. One job: mine. I made enough mistakes in this campaign to fill ten shipping containers. Conversely, I learned enough to sell those containers and walk away with a profit. Strange, eh?

Although the contributions I cannot collect, through this experience the wisdom taken from the effort enabled me to negotiate a new agreement with my main client, contributor, partner and benefactor, resulting in a total reworking of our financial structure and compensation package.

Put another way, I am back to work. The watched pot has begun to boil!

I have agreed to assuming all the up-front risk. Meaning that if I spend 2K to get to a classic destination of global renown and it rains non-stop while I am there filming, I am out the dough. No reimbursement and no expense report to file. Just an Amex bill and a sad and soggy memory.

I will take this risk. Gladly even. I have worked many a day under treacherous conditions, with extreme pressure, in the danger zone and without a net. Nothing changes there.

Matter of fact, I rather appreciate the opportunity to throw in with the cosmos. I like the drama, the margin of error at zero.

In other words, I cannot fail.

Thanks again to everyone who had my back, placed a small bet on me and showed some faith in something other than a sure thing. 

You will be rewarded.