Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 8.153 A Cuppa Joe

Coffee breaks rule.

After our 0530 jump-start spin session this fine last day of August, I had a chance to get caught up with an old friend. To say that we shared a cuppa Joe nails both the what and who.

My friend Joe has worked on the hill in DC since the Reagan years. He is prolific in politics, history, business and reform. He has also lost 55 pounds since we first met. a few years ago.

We talked a lot of politics this morning, a little on the issues but more on the candidates. He was in full-on debate mode so I fed him with honest questions to keep his big motor running.

It was fascinating. From tales of the voyage of the St. Louis, his parents' pilgrimage from the Ukraine, his work with Carter, Nixon and Clinton to his opinion on the state of the state (embarrassing), my only responsibility was to keep his cup full and my mind open.

I kept suggesting that the modern world is rife with complex issues, and that sometimes one needs to pick the lesser evils, consider the greater good, or simply protect the needs of the many.

He was surprised at my fence squatting. I never took you for a casualty of these wars, he said looking through me with piercing eyes.

It's not true?

Of course its true but to throw up your hands and declare that there is nothing we can do about it, is exactly what they want you to do. They win and you lose.

OK, I get that, so what DO we do then?

We ask two questions.

I encouraged his elaboration of questions with the obvious one of my own.

Which two?

What and How.

I resisted the temptation to play the fool and ask, what and how what, so I took a sip of percolated mud and waited.

What do we need to do? And how do we do it?

There is a touch of paradox there.

Only if you're in the middle.

Pause.

More coffee?

Sure.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day 8.152 Forgive Me My Sins

I distinctly remember the day.

I was in fourth grade. In a small Catholic school in Southern California (Not St Peter's on Kona). This will be painful and I wish I could just hit the delete button and bloviate about riding or racing or training or, bloody hell, even swimming, but I need to do this.

So then...

It was in our catechism class. We had to memorize  the basic tenants of Catholicism, a chore I was never very good at. It confused the heck out of me that all this could be explained by the simple memorization of complex concepts well above my understanding.

Who made me?

God made me.

Yeah, OK, thanks, that helps.

It got worse, a lot worse, from there. I just didn't get it. Nothing made sense to me. I was lost, confused and just wanted to go outside and play. I was good at THAT! I didn't have a terrific relationship with my maker but by God I could hit a baseball half a mile.

When we got to the forgiveness part it really sent my plane into a tailspin.

Let me get this straight - When I go to confession, an altogether horrifying experience in that tiny, dark space - one on one with the Pastor - and confess my sins, they are all instantly forgiven?

What if I did something worse, much worse, than my usual laundry list of evil doings: Talking back to Mom, cussing, being mean to my little sisters, stealing bubble gum from the Drug Store, etc. etc. What if I, as an example, stole a car or robbed a bank or stabbed Sister Finkel with a switchblade? Would five Hail Marys and five Our Fathers get me off the damnation hook?

I was told at the time that, yes, indeed it would.

WOW, I thought, already scheming a heist in the third aisle of the Hobby Shop, this is easy pickings.

It wasn't for many years, many sins and altogether too many memorized prayers as penance that I realized the missing component in all this sin and forgiveness malarkey.

Sincerity. You gotta mean it and vow to avoid the temptation to do it again. Whatever sin 'it' is.

We play pretty fast and loose with the commandments in this age of information. We kill, steal, bear false witness, covet goods and wives, dishonor our elders and make criminals of the poor. Without confession or sentencing.

This is the society and its code that we have built. Upon this rock we lie, steal and cheat for the sole purpose of a accumulating green cotton paper on which proclaims In God We Trust.

I started out this piece, it being Sunday, with the intent of proclaiming some my  sins, mistakes, omissions and flat out stupid mistakes that have haunted me since fourth grade. I made another one just yesterday.

Maybe a confession would repair my broke down karma.

Maybe complete catharsis and closure is appropriate at this point on this road.

Maybe I will remember this day as another point on the timeline of a soul still searching for answers.

And forgiveness.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 8.151 We are Watching

It will infuriate us in ways we couldn't imagine,
and WOW us in ways we can never predict.

The 'it' in reference here is a college football team. We are in game week after what seems like an eternity of other, lesser sports. And questions abound.

Who are we?
How are we?

These are trying, but fun times. Speculation and prognostication run amok down the artificial turf like rookies in Pamplona. These are kids and as talented and special as they are, they make mistakes. Often at the most crucial times. All part of the manic depressive life of a college football fan who lives and dies with his or her team.

Our coach has said that these kids, on their way to adulthood, represent the dumbest demographic. Although I agree, I think he said that with the same amount of affection that any parent might say of their teenagers.

There is hot debate right now over our QB controversy. Will we start a true freshman, throw him to the Pac12 defensive wolves, or play a junior who has been in the program for three years and looks like a linebacker?

The debate is also about winning. Of course. Win now or stockpile talent, culture and strength for the future? My spin is this: Do what you must to win today. Wins today, this season, prepare for future Vs.

The last time I checked there were over 200 comments posted about this.

My take is that the person who is ultimately responsible, to his team, his school and the fans (the media can take a hike) is the head coach, the CEO of this organization.

There is a reason why this coach is the highest paid employee in the state.

He makes those decisions.

We are watching.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 8.150 Three Keys

Stumbled upon a precious little gem this  morning…

…Expressing his resolve to continue writing, President Ikeda says: "Each of these efforts represents a grand struggle with the limited time I have to live this life. I am determined to pour all of my heart and soul into the task of saying everything necessary for the sake of future generations"
What an incredible commitment.

Additionally, atop the World Tribune front page, literally in the masthead, we find more printed treasure, called SGI President Ikeda's THREE KEYS to dynamically moving ahead in 2015:

1) Change Yourself First.
2) Never Give Up
3) Advance with Joy

Iprobably do not need me to make the juxtaposition from Buddhism to Indoor Cycling, but I will anyhow.

Leading by example, staying true to yourself, expressing the ideas, concepts and principals of the wisest that have gone before us is a noble cause, one requiring all the strength, power, speed, endurance and presence one can bring to this, and every, occasion. The sincere effort of this process creates change in yourself as well as in others. Those in your sphere of influence are attracted to this energy like moth to flame. Think for one moment about those that have transformed themselves. That change, dramatic and glowing, started with one. Did it not? Be that one. Be the change.

At this late junction (the cross-roads) we all recognize the sagacity in the never give up mantra. Never means never. Never ever. This pain and suffering will end. Keep pushing, remain present, recognize and do not try to suppress it. It is your ally and your mentor. Sometimes one can double-up and change one's self by never giving up. There is some thunder and lightening for ya!

The paradox of moving towards the light with a song in heart being a heck of a lot easier than breaking rocks in the hot summer sun, is a profound one. There must be a celebration of sorts in every step we take closer to our goal, be it enlightenment or enterprise. Keep on moving. March to your own bad-ass drummer in the direction of your rock and roll dreams.

The two big obstacles, the huge pot holes in the middle of his golden road are distraction and fear. Those two have taken down more good soldiers and innocent civilians that the gross mega-tonnage of every bomb ever dropped.

I wasn't paying attention, I was distracted and I was afraid is the shadow side of the be the change, never give in and advance with joy paradigm.

The face of the Spin Master is that of the Buddha.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Day 8.149 A Note from Carlos

It started with Castaneda way back in '70 or so.

I was a lost, confused, anxious freshman in college. I was the star of the baseball team, learning the harsh realities of life as an adult - I had just rented an apartment with one of my drinking buddies - working a night job after school and practice while managing the frustrating relationship with my gal friend.

I was also being pulled in the direction of drugs, music and the life hedonistic and irresponsible. Yes, I was morphing from star athlete to care-free hippie.

Life was hard, my dreams were fading and the Vietnam war was suddenly localized. I found a niche, a cause, somewhere to belong. I wanted to rebel, rally and rant. Looking back it seems natural that music would balance all the angst.

I was also taking a couple of Psychology classes and was fascinated by the scope of the subject matter. That doesn't mean I was a good student, I wasn't, but the basic introductional groundwork was being paved before my very feet.

One of our additional reading assignments was the aforementioned Carlos Castaneda's opus The Teachings of Don Juan.

It literally turned what remaining normality I struggled to keep on its ear. That's it - I'm outta here.

At CC's suggestion, I began to write my dreams in a journal. He said that they were powerful allies in the quest for spiritual understanding. He also stated (with conviction) that all this is a facade, that we are literally being duped by society to adhere to a set of rules other than the real. To be mindless consumers instead of beings of light more less. I bought into that with every hook, line and sinker that my emotional sporting goods store could supply.

Toss some Zen, Carl Jung and Jerry Garcia into that cosmic salad, and it's no wonder that hitting 2-2 sliders to the gap slowly went from thrilling to tiresome.

I went from wearing a college uniform with a giant red number on the back to tie-dye T's and faded jeans almost overnight.

Yes, over the night. I got real good at the art of the dream. A skill at which I continue to hone.

And last night was a zinger. I will summarize in the attempt to decipher.

I am walking on a part of the island that I have never explored. Didn't even know it existed. The asphalt had turned to rock, and then brick and finally an amber sand. We were looking for something. Suddenly I see a vacation resort. An oasis in the middle of nothing. One step is a beach and the next a Vegas/Nawlins/Old Europe type of vacation resort community. There are huge, inviting verandas, sprawling retail with luxurious condos overhead, a pool with splashing children and an open airy Mexican restaurant on the corner. The sky is so blue it hurts my eyes and I hear the hiss of salt water.

I ask the person I am walking with what we are looking for.

She smiles and crinkles her face in an 'I'm not sure' manner.

I am not sure either.

We continue to walk through the scene as the sun sets. It is now dark and we are standing in the cobblestoned street looking for a car. A very particular car. It is, or contains, something important. It is the reason we are searching. We find it. It is locked. I B&E. There is a folded piece of paper on the passenger seat. She is straining to see it as I unfold. This is it. Eureka!

Every cell in my body is crackling with electricity. After all this time - an answer. My partner is shaking with anticipation, leaning close to me. This is a beautiful moment.

Playing into the drama of the situation I S-L-O-W-L-Y unfold the paper.

And wake up to the marimba of my iPhone alarm.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 8.148 One Contagious Commodity

I would like to talk about motivation. Again. The road as proxy.

This is so important that I will risk tediousness and repetition in the attempt to further explore. And please remember folks that this is my way of thinking through. If I can get these fleeting thoughts isolated long enough, on paper, in verse, as prose or simply as incoherent verbal doodles, maybe we can stumble a little closer to the source. I want to try again to get it right.

In the lab, they use a tasty term called emotional contagion to better describe what we have long known to be true. Namely, that there is power in the pack. The group, team, class, unit or assembly's sum is much greater than its parts.

But it is the parts that matter.

Your part.

You, should you decide to play, have a huge responsibility. Remember the saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? This is that. YOU do not want to be that link. That might be motivation enough, but is is motivation by fear - as not wanting to do or be something is worse, much worse, than wanting to be it or do it. One is positive and the other anxiety filled double negative.

Example: Do you exercise because you do not want to get fat? Or do you compete as a celebration of the human spirit?

There is no doubt that we are motivated by others doing exactly the same thing we are doing, but better. Or faster. Or more graceful. Or longer. Or more commercially profitable. Or with more joy.  It makes me a better athlete just watching those who have accepted the awesome responsibility of achieving championship status.

I am motivated and humbled at the same time. Something stirs inside compelling me to seek similar. I want to go faster, climb stronger, swim more fishlike and run smoother simply as a result of being a teammate to those who embody these traits.

These lessons are caught - not taught. We learn by doing. We are motivated by those whose enthusiasm and élan are contagious. When played out this phenomena is more powerful than, well, a steam locomotive firing on all cylinders, to massively mix the metaphor.

It is like laughter. It is like returning a warm smile. It is team effort. I do not want to let the team down by my lack of luster. I must inspire and motivate my team, my class, my unit to achievement and success. I will ask the weakest link to keep the faith and carry on. Never give up. I got, we got, your back. Give me 100% effort and I won't cry if defeat is the outcome. Because that effort, presence and attitude is a higher, greater, sweeter victory than any final score could ever signify.

The emotional contagion means leading by example. Putting your game face on display in a focused and relaxed manner.

In other arenas it is knows as grace under fire.

One contagious commodity.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 8.147 The Mountain Canshouldwill

Cannot.

Should not.

Will not.

The difference between these knots are as obvious as those between a slipknot and a double bowline.

I heard my 12 year old nephew use the first one several times yesterday. Once while we were playing catch with the football and he was having a problem tossing a decent spiral. He said he cannot throw. I said yes you can and here is how. Now all we need to do is practice.

I heard my cardiologist tell me yesterday that I probably should not be overly concerned about my chest pains, dizziness or syncope. OK, thanks I appreciate that, but tell me please, what defines an overload of concern, sir?

I heard a person insist yesterday that their use of alcohol was not a problem, despite repeated instances of obvious irrational behavior, several of which led to suffering, pain, embarrassment and injury.

Yes, you can.
Yes, you should.
Yes, you will.

The reason you cannot is fear.
The reason I should not is because of accountability and recourse.
The reason she will not is denial.

Let us saddle up to the reality of riding this horse on this range. Up the snowy, cold, steep, windy, demanding and dangerous hill.  The mountain Canshouldwill.

Our mantra for the day:

Fear not joven, be free my soul, breathe the truth.

Please take ownership of this. It is yours. Your rodeo, your bull and your mountain to climb.

You Can.
You Should.
You Will.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 8.146 Most Important

The most important thing is the thing you are doing right now.

We discussed this rather esoteric concept this morning during a corybantic, but composed, set of hill repeats.

Consider that commitment you made merely to show up. You have purpose.

Purpose with meaning.

You decide to go - or not to go.

And then you are here.

That choice means, assuming that you are serious, that there is some value in the activity. We eagerly anticipate going out to dinner, seeing a movie, traveling to exotic, tropical ports-of-call. We all want to fall in love, be happy, own a nice home, drive a shiny new car and be proud of exemplary, obedient children.

But what about everything else? How about the mundane, the challenging, the tedious? How do we deal with the mind's relentless craving for 'other'. You know the feeling - the work is outside our zones of comfort; Too much effort required or too little excitement. We simply cannot sustain the focused awareness necessary to label the effort, 'our best'.

The mind offers an all-expenses paid vacation to the romantic destination of your choice. The Maui loop ride would be nice today. Before you realize what is happening you are mentally packing your bags, willing to face the humiliation of standing in line to remove your shoes and belt and then sit in a cruel and unusual position of solitary confinement for five hours, all because you can't handle the present moment. Aloha!

You have defeated yourself, gone one-on-one and lost as the wicked and wily ego claims another victory.

IF (full caps intentional) you make a commitment -  honor it by bringing your full attention to the dance.

IF (ibid) you are here and the time is now (as it always is) isn't there a degree of importance attached?

How much importance?

When we are doing hill repeats at 0530…

…they are the most important thing in the world.

THE MOST IMPORTANT.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day 8.145 Out of Jokes

I am stuck in transition. Between a rock and hard-rock. Locked-down by the knowing and the doing. I have told all my good jokes. It is ad-lib from here on out. Curtains part, lights illuminate the small stage, a snare drum rolls. Life is a farce and comedy is hard.

Cognizant of the importance of the decision I play the angles, trying to game the system. Usually that means finding a way to lessen the financial impact. NOT because it is the only way it will happen, but because I am sick and tired of paying for mediocrity.

Let us agree that this is truth. We are paying more for less. No joke.

Customer Service is a lost art in company with rotary telephones, chivalry and politeness. I wish it was otherwise. I long for the good old days of air travel.  Man we had it good. It was easy. Now it is hard as a rock, painfully humiliating, demeaning, stale as a joke you've heard a hundred times. Remember the days when we used to actually applaud upon touchdown?

I payed $17 for a veggie burger and $6.75 for a beer the other day. I was trapped in the only lounge at a tiny (by comparison) airport in Southern Oregon. Moments earlier I managed the ignominy (not my strong suite) of having eleven TSA agents fight over what item in my carry-on back pack represented the greatest potential for terrorist activity, my camera, suction mount, GPS devices or USB extension cable.

What is this?

That is an external media storage device sir.

What is it used for?

To store media sir, I reply trying to sound like anything but a smart-ass.

Please turn it on.

It must be connected to my computer to function sir, it has no power on its own.

OK. What about that thing?

Additional power supply sir.

What does IT do?

It connects to my camera to ensure power for seamless filming.

Can you turn it on?

Yes. Here. (Blue LED indicator lights show battery at 75% of capacity).

OK. This?

Adjustable camera mount extension. Gets the height, angle, X and Y axis where i want them.

Can you turn it on?

It is not a powered device sir, completely manual.

By this time there are four other agents watching the routine. There are no other passengers in the screening area. No wonder fares are astronomical with airlines making bottom line off the chart profits. The deck is stacked against us. I see a sign announcing that this is not a joking matter and to do so aloud is a criminal offense. I stifle a response to this absurdity, accepting the hypocrisy of our advanced civilization by chomping down on my lower lip.

OK, step through here please. With no Miranda Rights?, I chuckle in mute hilarity, choking a chortle.

I would like to but I have a small issue that needs addressing, Agent Williams.

AN ISSUE OF WHAT TYPE? Time stops, frozen with tension. Every agent gawks to see what the 'issue' is, cell phones, radios, walkie-talkies at the ready.

I have a pacemaker.

Not a problem. Over here.

Two agents snap to attention preparing the non-invasive Xray booth.

Not a problem?

None.

Easy for you to say, I say, jokingly.

Right, sorry.

I have danced through the mine-field. Laughing at the irony that prohibits it.

Suddenly I feel like a comedian who must pay a cover charge to watch himself preform. 

And I am out of jokes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 8.144 Out There

video
Somebody said, and not too long ago:

"If travel was free, I would never be home."

The extent to which I agree cannot be understated.

The humiliating degree to which 'they' have us by the balls is appalling.

I will give you examples, as if your need more, tomorrow.

Tonight I need to reclaim some of the rest and recovery lost from the last two days on the road.

They were great days, I had a blast. I love being 'out there'.

If it was free I would still be there.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Day 8.143 Almost Trumped by Smoke

I sit in the tiny Medford, OR (MFD) airport sipping a tasty locally brewed pilsner, waiting for my veggie burger. I should have done this off-site but I wanted to get here, sit, relax and debrief.

I has been a long couple of days. Yesterday was a wash. The smoke from the surrounding fires, contained to a paltry 10% this morning, pretty much diffused everything I was trying to film with a layer of brown haze. Not exactly the way one want to film a treasure as true as Crater Lake (shown at left from the Lodge).

After the futile attempt, I drove 100 miles to sleep at a place they call the Crash Pad. Owner-Operator Christina was elegant, delightful and sexy as all get out. I almost went directly into AFib the instant she smiled at me. I gotta knock this shit off or its gonna take me out.

Did not sleep well despite her cordiality and was up and running at 0345 heading back up to the Lake in the hope of a better day and some time-lapse video at sunrise.

Got it in.

If it process as nice as it looked live, we got ourselves a winner.

I just asked the waitress if she is a hard-line right-winger. She looked at me funny and laughed. No was all she said.

Then could you please turn that shit off?

I was referring to a live feed of D. Trump in Atlanta.

He makes a great case, without spewing a vowel, for gun rights.

Can't wait to get home.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day 8.142 It will be OK

You simply need to relax. It will (always) be OK.

I was thirty seconds late.

Sorry, sir, this is peak season and you need to be at Sea-Tac two hours prior to your flight.

That would have been 0500. Impossible when the first ferry pulls anchor at 0445. I am way too cheap to drive around or spend another miserable night at the Jet.

So I gambled. I got to a self-service kiosk with forty-five minutes before take-off. I am caring on all I need.

We'll get you a seat on the next flight.

But my connection in PDX?

You will miss that.

OK, I'll deal with that in Portland.

I can book you direct.

Really? What time?

8:05 tonight.

No thank you. I'll take me chances.

I get on the later flight. There is a head count problem. I had a slight chance of catching the connecting flight but now…no way.

They march up and down the aisle counting as they go. The agent comes aboard and announces that they need to do a roll call to figure out the problem. My first time for this.

Anderson? Here.
Beaty? Present.
Collins? Here.
Davenport, two? Yes and yes.
Fredrickson? Yo.

By this time I am hiding my face in my hands because I know that I will soon be "that guy".

And I am.

The agent runs to 16D and asks if this is my original flight.

No. But here is my boarding pass, remember me telling you the story ten minutes ago at the gate?

OK, thank you.

We get to PDX. 

I hurry by the Bombardier turbo-prop that is going to MDF. I think that I should just hop on because that is what happened in Seattle and I made THAT flight.

I decide to play the game and hustle to the gate. I tell the agent my story and that I do not have a boarding pass but I am booked (with frequent flyer miles) and I we still have five minutes.

She sighs deeply and opens a new computer socket.

OK, here you are, but hurry down to Gate Two.

I know where it is, thank you very much.

They are pulling back the stairs as I make a high speed right angle turn from the walkway.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, gentlemen, I am on that flight.

The ground crew look at each other and shrug.

OK.

And OK.

Medford, Crater Lake and Jacksonville, where I am spending the night, are surrounded by fire and smoke.

I shot 35 miles of Rim Road and am heading back to try again in the morning at first light.

It will be OK.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 8.141 We Have A Winner

Many a spin class I have asked for enhanced focus from the participants. I have on occasion, turned down the music volume to emphasize the distraction potential or, on a few very special and rare sessions, hammered the mute button like tenderizing abalone.

There is the argument that music IS a distraction, and that the pure, true and fearless athlete needs only the sound of wheels turning and heart beating. The theory being that a minor-key dirge during an up-tempo sweet spot attack will do more harm than good, limiting, dumbing down the output, intentional or otherwise. The beat becomes the goal when it shouldn't be, and we default to the safety our comfort zones.

I get that. I have spent many, many hours lost in the zen ozone (ozen?) of the groove zone with nothing to augment (diminish?) the suffering but my desire to rise above and improve by speed, power or fitness.

Interestingly, I am the first to reach for the volume slider when I recognize the beat, time signature or familiarity of a great tune. And there are many. As one example.

Somewhere between these extremes lies a place we all subliminally seek. We want the groove, we want it to be a dance, we want it to rock. We want the inspirational motivation of a classic song at high decibels. We also want the purity. The complete tuning out of anything the slightest bit distracting. I do not want to be in competition with ambient cacophonous noise. Same goes for screeching teens, squeaky wheels or complaints of any nature.

There is a balance we seek.

Often I intentionally create a set-list that will offer examples of what we are trying to achieve. I will mash-up an hour of Motown, Blues and classical ballads. During all that wonderful harmony I ask for top-notch effort. As measured by watts. There is a fascinating synergy available for those that have the ability to combine these extremes.

Imagine my surprise and absolute joy this morning, when one of our regulars, an ultra-fit mother of three, had this to say when asked how she preformed our second week of Super Eights.

"I had to work real, REAL hard to keep my power up, because, and I know you did this internationally, there was no beat to spin to today."

We have a winner.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day 8.140 Fooled again (My Stage Win)

We won't get fooled again (no no).

As much a I like The Who, we will get fooled again.

Because we want to be fooled.

I am not speaking about politics (I played this anthem every day in spin class during the voting period prior to our foolish election of that guy before Mr. Obama).

We are human. We do silly things. We get fleeced. We elect village idiots to the highest office for the sole purpose of enriching those already in the top 1% of Americans. Fool me twice he tried to say.

Hollywood knows this, as does any good magician. I don't know, maybe even Trump knows it. PT Barnum and Charlie Chan did. Hunter and Garcia did.

It is the Hollywood fool, as tool, that I reference today not the Capitol Hill shill.

I had to take a couple of days off between season 2 and season 3 of 24 in order to digest it all. As you know this is my third consecutive viewing of all episodes of all seasons. I probably don't need to tell you why I am doing this again in detail, so here are the Cliff Notes:

1) Crisply written
2) Adeptly produced
3) Well acted, scored and edited
4) Relevant
5) Dramatic

It is the last of these that I detail today, The Dramatic.

We, as audience love to suspend belief. We love to get tricked and we adore the sensation of plausibility. I, perhaps desperately, want to see the heroic. I want to follow the lead of a person I completely trust and respect. I want to fight for a cause so important that I will do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. I also would really like to be a bad-ass.

Jack represents all of the above. In spades as card players like to say. He is everything we (or at least I) would like to be.

There is a fine line however. The jumping of sharks. Once you go TOO FAR, it is almost impossible to return. You cannot insult a sophisticated audience unless you are in the comedy genre. Your protagonist must become our hero, and therefore above the normal laws governing our definition or current understanding of reality. THAT is another fine line that all artists walk, How much is too much? Where will they stop buying into the premise? How outlandish, ridiculous, impossible or implausible can it get before the dreaded 'no way' reaction?

The current rage of Super Hero movies is a perfect example. Remember the first time you saw Super Man fly? Jackie Chan fight or John Wayne shoot? How about 007, Captain Nemo or Iron Man? Too much?

Jack is hanging, tied by his wrists, naked. He has info that the bad guys want. He is being tortured by a sadistic enemy combatant terrorist mercenary a-hole. Jack is being cut open with a heated scalpel. He will not talk. The bad guys cuts some more. Jack won't talk. We hear again that everybody has a breaking point. They hook up electrodes to Jack and pump 1,000 watts of hurt into him. No talk. They inject him with a pain inducing drug. Jack screams but says nothing else. They repeat this until Jack is dead. Then they panic because he is the only one who knows the location of the computer chip that incriminates the whole gang, including Mr Big.

So they get the handy AED and hit him with 360 joules. Nothing. The lead bad guy yells for his toadie to get the epinephrine. They shoot him up with 200cc's. Nothing. More joules, more drugs. Nothing. Jack is gone. The clock counts down and we fade to black. Jack is dead. I might as well start watching The Wire.

But we know he won't be dead be for long. We have suspended believe and love the drama that we missed something, that one small detail, that will allow Agent Bauer to return and thoroughly kick the asses of all those responsible. Not because they almost killed him, and he wants revenge, but because it is his job and he loves his country.

Next episode opens with Jack laying on a gurney. They give one more jolt and one more injection and Jack is back. We breathe a sigh of relief.

And than he does what he does. Not longer than five minute after all this trauma he kills all the hostiles, steals a car, makes three phone calls, re-loads, finds where the latest lead has led and speeds off in that direction.

All I can do is sit and watch, happy for the opportunity to be fooled, again.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 8.139 Cedar and Stone

It is a hot Sunday in late afternoon.

I sit on 'my' bench in the park, listening to the audio mix of gulls and jets overhead, people and cars on land and children screeching as they dip toes into the cold Puget Sound water. It is a harmonious mix and I sit cross-legged with eyes closed.

I have been trying to ease the discomfort in my legs and hips using a combination of self massage, Tylenol and Session IPA. The massage feels fine, although I wonder if it would be finer with another set of arms applying the pressure. The beers are cold and satisfying after our trail run. On the run I re-injured my left hip flexor and iliopsoas I am feeling very much like taking a long nap.

I read some, then stumble towards the shoreline, cross-tie walk a driftwood log of about twenty feet and return to my bench. I make a cheese sandwich and sip from my beer. I am feeling odd and I suspect the medicinal combination I have select for this ailment has, in synthesis with the meds I consume daily, created a unique and interesting sensation. Like being stoned out of my gourd.

I see a piece of cedar and pull my knife from pocket to whittle. I spot a smooth and colorful stone, reach to fetch it and sense something cosmic. I have unwittingly connected two powerful natural elements and they vibrate in my hands like an electric toothbrush.

Deep into Tom Robbins mode, I consider the connection between the wood, the rock and my soul. My breathing has slowed as has the volume of merriment behind.

I decide to conduct an experiment. A precise test of the human spirit and our ability to sense vibrational awareness - conducted to the strictest standards of the scientific method.

I will put my handiwork atop the smooth stone on the bench, take a seat at the picnic table some twenty feet behind and see who is attracted to this red-hot vibrating calling card.

The sun falling through the cedar trees at my back casts creeping shadows towards the laboratory.

I sit stealthily and motionless in wait, deep into the tao of the now, much like a mouser waiting for her mouse. Or like a moose waiting for his muse.

Without turning my head I hear voices from three o'clock. A group. Walking my way, two girls and maybe three guys. I guess college age. I hear one of the girls complain about the heat, and I think, I hope, that she isn't the catch.

Sure enough they walk towards my bench. It is hard for me to keep from smiling, laughing out loud because I am virtually guiding them in as an airline traffic controller might.

The two girls sit to the right of the bait. All three of the guys are wandering around looking for something to occupy their need to be doing anything constructive.

Finally one of the guys walks towards the bench and in a swift, thoughtless, feral movement sweeps my artwork and dazzling display off the bench and into the dirt. Then he sits.

Bastard, I silently hiss, raising to go take another log walk and decipher the meaning of this unexpected twist.

When I return they are gone.

I flip-flop shuffle to the picnic table, still analyzing the puzzling round-one results.

From four o'clock comes a soft crush of dried leaf and pea-gravel. Someone is walking my way. Someone petite and in absolutely no hurry.

I turn my eyes to the direction of the footsteps and they immediately widen. I gulp.

I have attracted a hippie-chick. She is beautiful and brown - modeling cut-off Levi's with the pockets showing and a tie-dye bikini top. She is alone. I go into tachycardia.

I watch her every move as she dances into my field of vision. She is going to sit on my bench. I consider calling 911.

As she sits I can hear a collective sigh from every angel in heaven. There is no other sound except that of my arrythmatic heart and a gentle sympathetic wind. I hear a butterfly pass. I now know what inspired Poe to pen The Tell Tale Heart.

She walks directly to the carved cedar, grasps it and returns to the bench, absorbed in close scrutiny.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 8.138 Hal on Wheels

Sufficiently advanced technologies are indistinguishable from magic.

So said Mr. 2001 A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clark. With kudos to Stanley Kubrick, who, although uncredited, I am sure shared Mr Clarke's understanding of science and magic, It is time to look a little closer at the brilliance of this concept.

I think about this every time I fly. I am sitting in an aluminum tube with fixed wings, sipping a cold beverage, taking notes on my computer, at over 500 miles per hour. Surely the airline industry recognizes this and adds a 'magic tax' to their basic fare structure.

Cellular telephones. No cords, cables, rotary dials or party lines. I can be (almost) anywhere and talk to (almost) anyone I choose. The sophistication of the latest phones, including wi-fi, bluetooth and GPS, is truly phenomenal. Seriously borderline magic. If the carriers weren't so over-filled with greed (I must buy a two-year contract?) I would answer every call with hocus-pocus instead of hello, but every time I pay my service bill I feel like I have been sawed in half.

Computer tech. Off the charts magical. The things we can do these days, that we couldn't dream of doing five-ten-twenty years ago are just as amazing as making an elephant disappear. In my little genre of video editing, I can do as much as my imagination allows. Yes, Final Cut Pro non-linear editing suites are a grand, my G5 (going on six) was almost three large, and my cameras, storage units and peripherals another couple of K's, for me to 'compete' with Hollywood, at home, with a zero budget, is like pulling a daily bunny out of my beret.

My bike. I have said this before and I will most likely say it a few more times before I am done, but the bicycle is arguably the most magical of all inventions. With it's (relatively) simple technology, utilitarian design ever increasing range of use, and zero fossil fuel consumption, it gets my vote as 'most magical'.

Granted all of the above take some human connection to be considered complete, but that is part of the magic, too.

They need our consciousness and awareness to properly reach the lofty goal of magic.  The case can be made, therefore, that we are all, those of us who fly, surf, chat, edit and ride, magicians.

These magic words being said, I will never name my bike HAL.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 8.137 The Sugar Cops

There are a couple of basics that often get overlooked.

Caught between the rock of diet and the hard place of exercise, two elementary, yet omnipotent elements demand your attention.

Air and water.

All well and good you might respond but what about fuel and thermal regulation?

I counter your inquisitiveness thusly, did you know that your body stores fat to satisfy both of those concerns? Should you so desire, you could run TWO MARATHONS (or one Ironman) using only your stored energy, further, should you need less insulation (that layer surrounding your center) all you have to do is keep at it. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Try that without air and water and you will quickly join the ranks of those of us who know the eeriness associated with a bonk.

You can get by without an expensive bike, a wetsuit, $200 running shoes, a gym membership or, dare I say, a CompuTrainer, but trying to maintain a serious exercise regimen without breathing or hydrating is much like trying to eat soup without a spoon or driving your car blindfolded.

So breathe and drink up. Use your nose and drain the hose.

In between deep diaphragmatic breaths, chased by satisfying sips of cool, clean water, we do need to fuel. Fuel bats third, right after oxygen and hydrogen2-0. If we are shooting for optimum health, fitness, body mass index and improved performance, our choices of fuel are crucial.

I have been experimenting with this for thirty years. I have tried everything from a spinach and peanut butter diet to ketosis, low carbs, no carbs and all carbs. I have used high protein - low carbs and low fat - high carbs. I have supplemented. I have gone off grains, off dairy and off meat. I remain to this day off meat, but that is for a different reason altogether, and for another post altogether.

Through all that experimentation I have come to one conclusion, air and water aside.

You might say that we have found the enemy. And it is us. The us that likes sweet things fried in saturated fat.

If you would like to experiment along with me, I am starting today, here is the protocol:

Breathe right. Drink often.

And no sugar. (I am hearing the Guess Who)

No sugar tonight in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea.

None.

Should you decide to take this ride, please know that a referee sits on a moto WATCHING.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Day 8.136 The Frugal Videographer

Just finished booking next week's film trip to Crater Lake.

This was a tough one. Please remember that I have lost my travel expense benefits and everything is now out of pocket. I am a no-frills kinda traveler anyway, but this new situation forces me to go pro.

Contributing to the challenge are the time constraints. I have what they call a small widow of opportunity. This is not a vacation as much as I could use one.

The united confederacy of rental car companies are in full-on price gouge mode. It is peak season so that means supply and demand issues. As in they are demanding our limited supplies of cash. I usually rent a car if I am traveling on the West Coast between Canada and as far South as the Bay Area. It is a pain in the arse for a couple of reasons, the most obvious being driving time, and this coupled with summer road construction and a rash of wild fires between Seattle and Medford forced me to consider alternatives.

Bus is too long and not applicable to my schedule.

Train is even worse.

I don't have the time to ride my bike and the Honda would rip my lower back to shreds by Portland. Maybe even Centralia.

Flying was out of the equation because even my go-to airlines were following the RACs lead, asking a $400 ding for the RT. Geeze, this is Medford not Madrid fellas.

I was set to drive the Ranger, bite the bullet and camp. Eight hours down, film, sleep in the truck bed, rise early, film again and drive the return eight.

But then something clicked. Twenty hours of drive time is a lot. True, I could finish the listen of David James Duncan's marvelous The River Why on audio CD, but (clicking sound increases in volume) with the road closures and fires, not to mention the health of my back, what is my time worth? I am capturing the video as media for our brand (you DO remember Real Course Video) so this could be a profitable excursion. So get real cheap-skate. (Clicking now at Geiger-counter intensity).

I go back to work. I book an 0700 flight (tight one from the Island) using 30,000 of my Alaska Air frequent flyer miles for $11.50.

Medford apparently hasn't received the memo on price gouging so I get a car for $25/day.

Airbnb has this cute as heck room in a Christina's cabin for $50.

Toss in a tank of gas and a couple of French Slams at Denny's (substitute the meat for hash browns) and I am gold for $226.50.

Air - 11.50 (plus 30K miles)
RAC - $65
Room - $50
Gas - $50
Food - $50

The frugal videographer strikes again.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day 8.135 Southbound

We resumed our infamous Super Eight's yesterday. I will give you the protocol again in case you have chosen to forget, which a a lot of people do.

These are done indoors on stationary bicycles, the more data collected, the better.

Warm up for twenty minutes with occasional increases in power and alternating positions (standing and sitting). Make sure you are hydrated and fully committed to the drill. The latter is crucial for a successful session. We definitely want to HTFU on these.

Pick a gear/cadence ratio that will provide you with optimum output as measured by your RPE, rate of perceived exertion. If you have access to power and heart rate data, they are useful in obtaining our goal:

30 seconds all out. Seated as hard as you can with as much focused energy as you are capable of generating. That is the goal.

Rest and recover, backing down gear and pedal speed, for 90 seconds.

Repeat 8 times.

These absolutely kill. You might never make it past one. They are not for the faint of heart Or lung, or leg.

You will be asked to keep the level of maximum intensity at 100% for the duration of the sets. You will fail. These are almost impossible to maintain at max 8 times. Your power will decrease as muscular and cardiovascular fatigue increase. We affectionately refer to this natural phenomena as power 'heading south'. This happens to everyone. From Chris Froome all the way down to me.

The important part is your effort. When your power is on the bus to Tiera del Fuego, or boarding a 737 for a mach-one escape, you must be strong and keep your effort (RPE) on high alert. You have to keep your output at, or near, 100% as long as possible. This is a huge test of your physiological acumen, or what is known as mental toughness.

A great one-two punch. Power up, confidence up, toughness up, strength up. T-count up.

We do these demanding drills once a week (0530 on Wednesdays) for 8 weeks, and then take 8 weeks off. 

The 8's have been shown to increase testosterone by more than 2,000%. A great organic way to keep your body running at optimum levels.

I have condensed the article by Dr, Mercola to list his 9 ways to increase your T levels (should they need raising).

These are a terrific way to miss that Southbound bus or get bumped from the flight, very good things in this context.



1) Lose weight
2) High Intensity exercise
3) Zinc
4) Strength Training
5) Vitamin D
6) Reduce Stress
7) Eliminate Sugar
8) Healthy Fats
9) Whey protein supplement

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 8.134 44g

I take the usual route, entering the Safeway through the produce section. I scan the price of avocados, mushrooms and spinach. Appalled at how capitalism has fostered this outrageous inflation, I indignantly pass without a purchase.

I take a left after the potatoes and onions price check and walk past the meat department. My grandfather was a meat cutter, owning his own shop in Venice, CA for many years. I pass, but stop to have my blood pressure checked for free. I heart affordable health care.

I have returned to fish consumption after two decades of abstinence. Tuna mostly with occasional salmon. I felt that the clean protein and omega-3s would augment my dietary recovery process without inflicting too much damage to the infrastructure of our precious rives, lakes and oceans. I do not want to contribute to the carnage if I can possible help it. On-sale are two six-ounce Bluefin steaks for eight bucks. They claim to be caught in the wild on single line mono-filament. One of these with rice will soon be called dinner.

I move on towards the bakery, stopping at the milk cooler. I have been buying a chocolate protein drink for a dollar. They contain twenty-one grams of protein. Not a bad benefit to cost ratio. I check the price of eggs and simply shake my head in response to being healed hostage by the Chicken Farmers of America. It is even worse when I get to the cheese. They seem to be colluding against us. I head to the bakery section.

I buy two plain bagels, mostly for the bag.

Exiting, I scout the beer sales. Cheap hops at premium prices.

I am at the self-service checkout, a routine that I can do as fast as anyone. My net purchases consists of one bag of frozen tuna steaks, one protein shake and two bagels. I am out the automatic door, eleven dollars poorer.

As I am riding the Shadow today, enjoying the summer at seventy-two miles per gallon, I lose the luxury of dining and driving. So I rip open the protein shake, containing the twenty-one grams of precious protein and drain it in one gulp.

I am synching the helmet strap still holding the empty bottle in my hand. I look at the label and almost have a stroke. On a moto this is known as a two-stroke.

That twenty-one grams of protein came with forty-four grams of sugar.

I set out this morning after class to make an earnest attempt to isolate why I slept so poorly last night.

Forty-four grams!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day 8.133 is Non-Negotiable

There are few things that are non-negotiable.

Not to worry, I am not using this as an opening segue for another 24 review.

We all know that we (The US) do not negotiate with terrorists.

That being confessed, here are my top three, interestingly enough, one from each of the big three category.

Mind. Body, Spirit.

I will use my mind every day in some creative way. I will write, I will manipulate media and I will read. This is not negotiable.

I will exercise. Usually twice but often three times per day. This, perhaps above all, is not negotiable.

I will meditate. I will be grateful for what I have and love what I do. I will stay present for as long as possible and try (really try) to lose what remains of my egotistical clinging and attachment to outdated paradigms. This is non negotiable, unless it becomes a natural progression towards enlightenment to lose this attachment too.

This is where the paradox lives. Is it vandalism to tag a wall with loving graffiti?

I shouldn't have to negotiate this. It is mine by birth. I saw a quote the other day that made me laugh, 'We are all born ignorant - but one must work hard to remain stupid'. The journey is the goal. We are here to do, to err, to experience and to grow.  I think it is important that we find some happiness and joy as that process unfolds.

Sadly, there is a huge percentage of our current population that have forgotten how to move. Economics aside, the dynamic diet & exercise duo can overcome a lot of other maladies. This is your body. You get one. Take care of it. Nurture it. Use it. Go ahead - overuse it. Let it rest and recover and get back at it.

I have no idea why we shy from acknowledgement of the importance that the soul plays in this miraculous mayhem. Possible because of the religious connotations. Maybe it is because no one is really an expert and that only way we are going to find out who is right is to die. How sad to face the fact that when we die it might be too late. That is then.

What is now is awareness. Your ability to stay focused and balanced. To recognize that perfection is not the goal. To be happy. To be peaceful. To help others.

Everything else will take care of itself. How could it not?

I find comfort in the fact that I will not negotiate with anyone attempting to change my approach.

Time to go for a run.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day 8.132 Ring tone

I board Alaska flight 190 in Los Angeles, destination, Settle. We have a stop in Oakland.  It is August of 1995.

With all due respect to those of you who fly first class, the boarding process must be embarrassing for you. You sit there sipping champagne looking past the serfs with blank condescending faces doing everything imaginable to avoid eve contact.

I sometimes smile right past you, sometimes stare, sometimes greet. Depends mostly (in the post 9-11 world) on how roughed up I have been humiliatingly screened by TSA.

On this flight as we stand like ducks in a row, overloaded with carry-on waiting for tiny women to dead-lift overstuffed suitcases into overhead bins. I look at the gentleman sitting in seat one, row one. He was wearing a black leather jacket and as he raises flute to sip I see a couple of football sized championship rings on two fingers of his left hand. I cannot tell if he is looking back at me because he is behind a huge pair of shades.

'Hello Mr Davis, congratulations of all your success', I say, omitting the 'I am a big fan' white lie.

I have no idea as to how he will respond, but since we are both at rest in the same space, at least be cheerful and courteous, I think.

After his slight nod of approval, I continue, 'And an outstanding selection with your first draft pick this year, sir'.

The cat out of the bag is Husky tailback Napoleon Kaufman, taken as the 18th overall selection.

Al looks around to see if there are any NFL spies listening and using the two fingers carrying rings branded with the onyx and diamond Raiders logo, he begs me to come closer.

Eyes widened by his intent, I bend slightly to catch his drift.

'Kid has got a rocket strapped to his ass.'

The line moves and I must go.

'He does, I've seen it. Have a nice flight sir.'

Al smiles, nods, turns to look out the window.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 8.131 This Time as Duty

I am doing this not so much as a favor, but more as duty.
As you know, a devastatingly brutal (or insanely comical) series of events has led me full circle.
The brother that first came here seeking refuge is now the brother offering it back to me.
I have set up an operations center in his garage. It is cozy and comfortable and I am content.
Comfort and convenience however is not the mission. The assignment is to sell the house.
We all agree that finances, or lack thereof, are at the root of the problem.
The house, the 2002 construction of which I videotaped from lot clearing to ribbon cutting, is their last remaining major asset. Their money problems are compounded by every typical and tragic issue facing the doomed middle class today.
They are ready to sell the dream to rent some piece of mind.
It is stressful. There are deep-seated emotions. There is the responsibility of an innocent twelve year old boy.
As far as I can tell, acting as unbiasedly as possible, there is only one way out.
Sell the house, move on.
At least that way they can clean up their financial obligations, get out of debt, remove the tension of debt collection, bite the bullet and start anew. And hopefully with a few dollars in pocket.
I can speak from experience that there is cathartic peace in that.
Simple it down. Relax. Review and resume. Carry on. Grow from the experience.
We decided that we would test a for sale by owner campaign first. In the hope of saving a couple of large in broker fees. I know the drill. It is a pain in the rear, but I can oversee the crossing of T's and dotting of I's.
Yesterday I assembled the Craig's List post to launch the campaign. Here is the link should you, or someone you know, have interest. And a short video.
The bittersweetness is beyond ironic.
I am literally working myself towards homelessness. Again.
This time as duty.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day 8.130 I like Saturday best

I have always looked forward to Saturdays.

In the early, formative years the irony centered around the end of the school week and two glorious days of freedom. The irony being, of course, that what should have been the formative was actually the painfully rebellious and what should have been the adventurous and explorational, was the formative. I worked hard on the weekends, slept through arithmetic and geography.

In my teens, Saturdays were about baseball and the beach. By 15 girls and music were added to the mix.

By the time I was legal to purchase and consume, Saturn's days became more Saturn's nights. This created some problems. Sunday's, as an example, were s-l-o-w days and I became a master of the nap on couch, pretending to watch professional athletes play war games on TV. Heck, I even golfed for a while.

With the introduction of the adult responsibilities of a real job, even a career, a steady girl, soon to be wife, a mortgage, two cars and three horses, Saturday's became just another day to either make money or make hay. Usually both.

The career aspect saw a lot of Saturday's as travel days.

Later, we are into our 40's now, Saturdays became fun again. Softball tournaments and triathlon, biking and running, adventure travel. Weekends at the cabin in the woods with lovers of all things poetic.

Then came Husky football. What a Saturday: Preparations, packing lunches, ferrying across with a boat full of purple and gold, ready and rabid fans, The pre-game rituals, the contest itself, the lingering into Sunday afterglow. Please remember at this point that we saw some great Husky teams in the 80s and 90s, one of them, 1991 to be precise, a National Champion. But they were all fun. With the exception of the occasional loss to the Cougs in the Apple Cup. Heck we beat Oregon on a very regular basis.

Now my Saturday's are colored in a shade of gray. They still make my heart beat a little faster an add an imperceptible spring to step, and I try to fill each with challenge and value.

Now the highlight is often the morning's 90 minute spin session. We have a committed and enthusiastic core group that looks to these sessions much like a tailback looks for daylight. Much like a shortstop twisting a deuce, Like turning a passion from hobby to profession. Like a successful competition. Like a come-from-behind victory. Like a sunny, summer afternoon at the beach. Like a well deserved day of rest.

I will always like Saturdays best. It is best effort.

Especially when that 90 minutes is over.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Day 8.129 First Friday Notes

Answer to yesterday's flash quiz is below.

First Friday notes:

1) The GOP is a joke. And not a funny one. These bigoted blowhards have big bucks and truckloads of political equity. There remains people who genuinely buy into their befuddling brand of bias, hypocrisy and fear mongering. If you are reading this and in the 1% that manipulates the strings on these pathetic political puppets, please drop dead (but not before funding my latest project - one that promises to keep your indentured domestic work force healthy and distracted).

2) Tomorrow is the first day of the 2015 college football session. I am a happy guy. The UW Huskies are 500-1 longshots to win the NC. With a wager smaller in size than my bi-weekly renumeration from professional spinning services, should the Dawgs sniff out some Coach Pete magic and snarl more and wag less, I could retire comfortably in the colline d' italia or Kona (pic) for the remainder of my days. Assuming they will end somewhere between 2008's 0-11 debacle and the NC year of 1991, I will enjoy watching these young, talented, yet inexperienced, pups morph into menacing Mountlake duck-mauling mammals. WOOF!

3) I finished watching (third time) the first season of 24 last night. There is a very simple reason why. It is good. I went almost 30 years without watching TV. That was network TV, you know - crap. Lots has changed over the course of that three decades. You already know this. I will plead indifference to my many good-intentioned friends who insist that The Wire, Game of Thrones, West Wing or Breaking Bad is superior entertainment. You may be right. You probably are. But I don't care. Much like The Godfather, Lord of the Rings or the Bond franchise, I am a student of this specific game. After watching all nine seasons twice I am now, at last, seeing the fine line of belief suspension stretched thin. They aren't perfect. There are painful moments of tortuous dialogue (Sherry Palmer, Terry & Kim Bauer, Victor Drazen) from which not even Dennis Hopper could escape. But in every scene, every time, Jack saves the day. The fun is in the ways and means he carries out the impossible task du jour. Jack has morals. He is loyal. He is a good soldier. He is fearless. He is flawed. He will do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. I like that.

4) Doing a photo session today of the house in which I currently live. To put it on the market. It is my brothers place. He worked his butt off to buy and build. I wish it could have been a 'happily ever after' home, but it was not to be. I will link the FSBO Craig's List post once I have all the pieces together. Another longshot.

Answer to yesterday's flash quiz: Nothing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day 8.128 Name That Thing

No rhyme and no reason.

That I can deduce in comparing my notes, logs and files with the print-out.

Yesterday was my ten month check-up with the UW cardiology team. Data was downloaded from the pacer, an amazing technological function in and by itself, but staggeringly important when considering the facts.

The smaller than a mouse device not only samples and then corrects, the electronic nodal conductivity keeping my heart (yours does it automatically) beating in sinus rhythm, but records it as well.

You want a flash quiz to illustrate the robust complexity of all this?

The MEDTRONIC MVP pacemaker is set to keep my HR above 70bpm. Without it, Bradycardia and my preference for endurance sports training and racing, would send that rate plummeting down to the high 30's. That is an additional 40 beats per minute at metabolic rate. I have no limits on the top end, and have seen my max go from post-op 142 to 150 since returning to 'work'.

OK so here is the quiz:

Let use 70 as the metabolic number of beats and add an average of 100 (three hours yesterday were at 130), to get the daily beat count. I am going to guesstimate it at 90. That totals 2,160/day.

For the sake of adding some complexity, atrial fibrillation, especially chronic, makes the math almost impossible to calculate, accurately. Because it is not regular. Even at a resting HR, in a controllable situation, the poor bastards stricken with it can see fluctuations ranging 50 or more beats. It is not uncommon to see tachycardia a-fibbers go from 80 to 210 in a few seconds. Yikes!

So let's round it off again to a manageable 2K.
That is 14K a week and 56K a month.

Making data collection more interesting and dynamic is the fact that each of those 56,000 beats is recorded in four ways, the uptake, the peak, the rate of recovery and the time of recovery. So each beat has four parts.

Giving us some 224,000 data bits in any given month.

I am getting tired just thinking about all this. And I my have omitted few important details altogether.
Regardless, the pacer records it all. When we download it (I chose to do it without anethesia and cognizant - a trick I learned from Jack Bauer) the chart looks like sound waves compressed from a Mussorgsky symphony to one inch of screen space.

Yet the talented cardiology team can read it like we read comics in the Seattle Times.

In the time since the last download I have gone into a-fib a total of 7 times, with the longest lasting 4 hours and 44 minutes.

My log and records confirm that I was doing the same thing each time this cardiac event took place, research I find fascinating. So then, with or without rhyme;

Name that thing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day 8.127 Full

0400 Rise & Shine
0530 Spin set
0845 Spin set II
1220 Boat to Seattle
1345 Appointment at UW MED (more on that tomorrow)
1845 Spin set III
2040 Three commutes by moto. The streak is alive!

And I? Barely. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day 8.126 Gotta Do This

Gotta do this.

I keep thinking about time. Time passed, current time and time remaining. There are things I would like to accomplish prior to whatever happens when my heart fades (or reverse crescendos) to its final beat (a transition I rehearsed last night).

There is not a damn thing I can do about the events of the past. Except for tweaking the way that I look back upon them. I can, and I will, give my best effort to keeping focused and present today, now and right here. Time remaining? That is the fun part. And I feel I have an obligation to my soul to maximize the value of whatever time remains. To procrastinate is to die.

I really don't like the 'bucket list' concept. It is too morose and too trite for simple tastes. And mine ARE simple.

I do, however, LOVE the idea of doing what I want to do. Living with abandon. Getting out and mixing it up with life. Setting a course for the winds that fill my sails. If I go off-route, run out of food or scrape a knee, so be it. I like the adventure. I like the freedom and I like the challenge. There is really no such thing as being lost is one listens to the compass of the soul. True North.

The challenge is keeping myself emotionally in the game. There has to be equal (approximate) elements of mind, body and spirit.

It is very simple. Go and do. And so it goes.

The latest:

Crater Lake, Oregon.

The rim ride is 33 miles from Park Service HQ.

Depart Seattle (BI) Wednesday, August 19 @ noon.

425 miles (4.5 hrs) to Eugene. Paint town purple and gold in a nice way. Motel.

Thursday, Aug 20 drive from Eugene to Crater Lake (2.5 hrs)

Ride the rim. (clockwise)

Post ride, drive to Medford, OR (1.5 hrs) Dinner and Motel.

Friday, Aug 21 Drive from Medford to Crater Lake.

Ride the rim (counterclockwise)

After second rim ride Friday, depart CL for Seattle (6.5 hrs) Home by 1900.

Epic adventure for intrepid Argonauts and all PBers.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Day 8.125 Then There Is

A few years back we conducted a protocol that spanned an entire quarter. Three days a week for three months.

I called it The Mountain.

It was a focused and consistent progressive indoor cycling experiment. We started fast and finished strong. Wherever those places were found on each athletes physical fitness timeline - a rough way of saying - do your best, where you are with what you've got - we began. In earnest.

The outline is a simple one that I borrowed from a famous Zen proverb. So popular, in fact, that it became the lyrical accompaniment for a couple of rock tunes. Here is the hook:

First there is a mountain,
Then there is no mountain,
There there is.

From Donavan P. Leitch to the Alman Brothers, and of course, the Dead, we have long pondered the meaning of these sparse but juicy lines. Sometimes we ponder with folk, sometimes with the blues and often with rock.

My take is this (with apologies to DT Suzuki): When we begin an endeavor there is challenge. We are not sure it - whatever IT is - can be done. Think marathon or Ironman or Grand Fondo here. That is the uphill struggle associated with its accomplishment. It can seem Sisyphean At first. We begin, committed to the process along the path.

Soon a strange and wonderful, miraculous and magical thing happens if you are dedicated and disciplined enough to keep your eyes on the prize. Suddenly one beautiful day, the mountain is gone. The run, ride, swim or challenge is gone. You have flattened it out through your hard work and your powerfully positive attitude. You now see the results of your labour. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are elated with this new gratifying topography. There is no mountain. You have earned the flat.

I would love to announce that this is the end of the story. But it ain't. Because once you have earned the flat, removed the mirage of the mountain keeping you from your goals, climbed it simply because it is here, adapted mind, body and spirit to the obtainment of your lofty goals, and flattened the course figuratively, metaphorically and metaphysically, you face this:

Another mountain. A bigger challenge. More work. Smarter work. Work with a smile, teeth grinning vice grinding. Your heart knows this as well as your spirit. Don't worry, it won't take long before our head figures it out too. And THAT my dear friends, is a major moment.

When your head, heart and humanity (mind, body and spirit) are all in harmonious alignment, YOU CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS.

First there is a mountain,
then there is no mountain,
then there is.

What are you experiencing today?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Day 8.124 Laundry for Free

I am doing laundry.

Not a chore that I enjoy.

It is Sunday afternoon, we started the day at 0600, drove 50 miles, offloaded our bikes, rode 36 challenging miles, 17 up the ridge the hardest, got stuck in open bridge traffic (again) on the way, but made it in one, smelly and fatigued piece, home.

And then this.

I have nothing clean to wear for our 0530 spin class tomorrow. I go through 15 kits a week.  If I don't do it, nothing gets cleaned. We do not fold.

Amazon.com's drone service notwithstanding, I have few options.

I collect quarters from my change tray, grab the dirty clothes bin and head out.

This moment I am 16:10 into the wash cycle.

I come to this laundry mat for a couple of reasons. It is still relatively cheap (2.25 per load) and whoever the owner is, he, or she, has decorated the walls with images from a tropical paradise, roughly six degrees south of the equator, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. God Bless.

Every time I come here to sit & spin I look at the murals and drift back to those good old days.

Fifteen years has gone by, but not a single one of those days has passed without some reminder of that incredible experience.

There was purpose, there was effort, there was teamwork, there was camaraderie. We used to say, One Team - One Mission. We were the footprint of freedom. We rocked.

It was my job to balance the military tension with R&R. That meant morale, welfare and recreation. That was my job. Provide for the troops. Try to keep them in the gym vice on a bar stool.

And I loved every minute of it despite the oppressive and relentless scrutiny of a division known as Navy Quality Assurance Evaluators, whose only job it was to grade the way that I managed, and later directed, the entire department.

This grade so that the American taxpayers could rest comfortable and secure in the knowledge that DOD dollars were being spent well.

In this case, I believe that they were.

But I still miss doing laundry every Sunday night for free.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Day 8.213 WOOF

I will tell you something now that you probably already know.

When we started this internet literary fiasco over eight years and 2,300 posts ago (an era now recognized the good old days), I had a plan. Not perfectly crisp and in the focused cross-hairs of my altruistic vision, but something new, different and for me anyway, disciplined and autobiographically exciting - in a non hedonistic manner of course.

I was mentored in college by a creative writing teacher who suggested that when struck with writer's block, go with what you know.

At the time, the early seventies when we called blogging journaling, that advice would have seen me limited to a very few items.

In 1972 all I really knew was baseball, music and girls. Almost sounds like a Beach Boys chorus.

My 1973 the list had been pared to the latter two. My baseball career was officially over. I had walked away.

In 1974 some interesting items joined the parade. Travel, adventure and literature. That is not to say that music and girls lost their priority ranking, more that they were now augmented by life on the road. That magical augmentation.

In 1975 I got married. I was on my way to winter in Mexico after a year in the orchard.

In 1979 the marriage was over. I might try to explain the what and whys at a later date, but today is reserved for something else.

We had moved back to Southern California, to enter the auto parts business with her family as a last ditch attempt to salvage what was so obviously a fait accompli.

I flew back to Settle on the day Mt St Helens erupted on May 17, 1980.

I have been here ever since with stops in Rome, Paris, OZ, UK, Spain, Cyprus, Mauritius, Norway, Alaska, Alabama and Asia. I also spent the better part of the nineties on a coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

In 1984 I went to a University of Washington football game.

It change my life.

In 1990 my girlfriend, whom I adored, called me one-dimensional. She insisted that my entire existence was about sports. But I'm in the sports publishing business and being caught-up, ahead of the curve-ball so to speak, is what makes me good at what they pay me to do, which is how I am able to pay for this expensive French dinner and $25 bottle of Bordeaux, darling.

She came up with a solution.

If you desire to continue in this relationship (we made eye contact and nodded affirmatively) then you need to move a little out of your cultural comfort zone. There is art, language, ballet, gastronomical celebration, water skiing and horticulture all waiting for you. And me too, she said, not wanting, I think, to end her opening  remarks in the category of weeds.

To say that I was amused with her assessment and subsequent good-natured ultimatum, would truly be understatement.

My sweet angel, what dost thou suggest?

You can keep one.

One? One what?

One team. In one sport. All others are toast. We will replace your considerable time spend in fandom with quality time of the trail of culture. Together, you and me.

But, but, but, but, but……..

No buts.

I took a deep breath, wondering if it might be my last inhale of freedom and exhale of independence.

I heard a voice inside plead and beg. I looked in her sky-blue eyes and saw that she was as serious as death and taxes.

Ugh, well, OK.

Which team?

NOW? I have to choose now? Can't a do-up a report and take all this just a touch slower?

I don't think so. Needs to be now.

Well.

You in?

Yes.

What team?