Friday, January 26, 2007

A Clutterd Head Must Spit; Watch Your Shoe!!

Only if I could truly see might I fully understand the freedom that lies just outside of my outstretched fingertips. I am not so sure freedom is human. That does not, however, stop me from pursuing true and sincere freedom of mind, for there, I believe, is where true happiness lies.

Time is Money. Nonsense. Time is art. Better. Time is Time.
It sets the limits of our accomplishments, joy, and sorrow.
It is the shackles wrapped around the ankles of our happiness.

You are my travel companion on our journey to
the insight, hindsight, forsight and nonsense
of my psyche. Thank you for coming along.
I welcome your company and companionship.

Head much clearer now. My scholarly pursuits do not allow much time for random expression. This blog is more than likely to morph (is morphing?) itself into an avenue for that release. Maybe I'll start another blog for that type of writing and reserve this one for the details of my day to day life. We'll see.

School is good. Training is good. I have been able to pick up my running mileage a bit after forcing myself to train at a slower pace. My swimming workout is getting easier and I will be increasing yardage soon. I miss my bicycle and will be forcing myself to spend a few minutes a week spinning indoors. In just a couple of weeks I will be paying close attention to my running mileage in preperation for the 1/2 marathon in Cleveland.....May will be here before I know it.

Beginning this weekend I must spend some time doing some research of envirnmental justice in order to complete a couple of research papers on the subject. Looking into EJ (as it is known to those "inside" the movement) I have become more interested, I must admit. I was aware of dirty industries (i.e. oil refineries) being located in poor, largly black, neighborhoods. But I had never considered the rights of native americans when a chemical company contaminates their water on the grounds that the political soverignty of the indian reservation releases them from the liability that they would have under U.S. law.

I was reading up on this subject yesterday afternoon, looking out of the window onto a frigid, blistery, 15 degree evening in Cleveland. It was hard to tell if the snow flurries were falling from the sky or if the 30mph winds were just blowing around the snow that had already fallen to the ground. Looking through these frantic, dizzying specks of white I could see the awe inspiring Trinity Cathedral across the street, it's stone artwork stretching towards the violent winter sky. I took a sip of my black coffee, took in the motivation, and I read.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The true cost of freedom, wealth, and cheap energy...

Just the other day I was listening to the radio as is typical. Talk Radio. NPR. A day's worth of this programming tends to bombard me with facts, which I tend to like. Until I hear a fact like this one.....

24,000 civilians died in iraq last year due to millitary intervention.

I immediatly wrote the number down, so that I could include it in my blog to give us all some food for thought.

I looked and looked at the number in awe,


Then I looked at that number and what it was describing,

24,000 civilians.

That is almost 66 people per day!!

Do you remember the terrible sense of loss we all felt after 9/11?

The death toll was nearly 3,000.

Can you fathom 24,000 deaths in one year due to war.

Can you try. Try and imagine what it would be like to live in this environment.

Imagine the New York City streets riddled with gunfire and car bombs, day in and day out.

This is Baghdad.

This, my friends, is the ugly hand of terrorism.

We need energy independence in this country.

Tell someone.

Newfound importance of the daily schedule...

I will navigate through the snow today on a 70 mile round trip commute to Cleveland State for a class on economics and another on the study of logic. Saturday I started my on-line class on race, culture, and urban life. Between work and school I am not sure where I will find the time to train as much as I'd like, blog, or drink beer, and believe me, I enjoy all three.

Yesterday I logged a 4 mile run through the cold rain and felt pretty good, although my lower back has been having some minor problems of late. My Sciatica is acting up a bit and the back of my legs send a strange senstation from my ass down towards the heel of my foot from time to time. Yoga is the awnser. No time is my excuse. Yoga is not a priority is the truth (although the sciatica tells me it should be).

I plan to check out the rec center on campus today as I set out for my little half mile swim. My tuition is paying for a brand spanking new rec center that may or may not be finished yet (I'll see later this morning). I don't believe it has a climbing wall. I thought every university built a climbing wall in their new, state-of-the-art, multiple million dollar, fitness center these days. It seems to help recruit the trendy "eco-athlete" of the day. The climbing wall is for all the people that listed hiking in the interests section of their application to the university and if I had to guess there are a few of them.

Here's a funny story. I played football in high school. I ran into the father of another CFHS football alum. We shake hands. Before telling me that his son is pursuing his doctorate, he tells me that the tags on my car are expired. Huh?? You notice shit like this? Are you serious? He was. They have been expired since August and although I am not sure how I forgot to renew my registration I know that I will have a brand spanking new sticker on my liscense plate today. I also know that I will be driving through the snow up to Cleveland after I visit the State of Ohio BMV. I also know that I must get a couple of things done around the office here before moving on with my day. I guess that means my budget of blogging time for the day is filled. I think I may find out in the near future how little sleep I really need to stay healthy. I always thought I needed 8 hours of sleep every night, but that was before I had 8 days worth of stuff to do each week. And without blogging, beer, and bike rides I might lose my sanity...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Rainfall Daydream

Another Friday at my old familiar desk. It has been quite cluttered for the last month or so. New additions to my office space from the holidays as well as small pile of receipts on the far right side impede on my work area. My new co-worker looks at me from the far right side of my desk, next to the calculator, and his head bobs everytime the desk is bumped. If I turn and look over my left shoulder, there is a wall of windows, and today they look out to a gray steady downpour that is reminescent of London, or the San Franscisco Bay. My mind begins to drift to the enjoyments of a 50 degree January day that is full of sunshine....

I roll the bright yellow bicycle known as Amaterasu over to a tree and grab the air pump to top off her tires. Then, I check her drive train to be sure she has plenty of lube and not too much dirt is stuck to her chain. And I roll her wheels to be sure they are centered between the brake pads and that the brakes are working well. Finally, I bounce her on the ground to listen for any clunks or rattles before mounting her and setting off towards an unknown destination.

Out onto the road and today I will head northeast towards Portage county. It is near 3:00 and as I travel travel through the busy suburbs of Stow and Hudson I find myself constantly cursing at the cars full of teenagers and mini-vans driven by stressed out mothers as they make their way around town. In just a couple of miles I will catch the bike path which will land me onto the rolling hills and country roads that I set out to find.

As those of us from Northeast Ohio know, Portage county is much different from the suburban Akron-Cleveland corridor that I grew up in. It is full of 2 lane country roads, pick-up trucks, small farms, many bogs, marsh's, ponds, and lakes, as well as a bunch of horses and a few cows. It's rolling hills are perfect for a nice spin on the bike, although some of the roads are a bit rough.

I knew that it would be dark by 5:00 and I have yet to mount a headlight on Amaterasu so at 4:00 I turn towards the setting sun to head for home. Although the scenery is still as beautiful, for some reason as soon as I turn towards home much of the sense of adventure that a spin on the bicycle provides is gone, until the next ride of course.

I catch the bike path as I loop back westward and pick up the pace as the terrain flattens. Just before the sun sets I jump off Amaterasu to take in the scenery. I set the bicycle against some brambles and take a good look at her, a 1991 Trek 1200; my first road bike. We are in love, or, at least I love her. Her 16th birthday is coming up this spring.

Arriving home I concoct my usual post-ride snack. I pull out the blender and toss in some rice milk, a bananna, frozen strawberries, a touch of maple syrup, 2 ice cubes, and a scoop of protein powder. I watch as the pile of fruit becomes a deep red liquid and drink it down as quickly as a frat boy consumes his "natty light." Now, I must get out of the sweat drenched clothes and shower as I'm starting to feel a chill.....And I must shake my head and blink my eyes and remember what I'm sitting at this desk to do. The pile of papers in front of my won't let me forget, I must get back to work.....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Exhale and Begin Anew

Here we are in 2007. I am taking the perspictive of change; progress to be a bit more specific. Nothing is as it was in 2006. Tomorrow is January 3rd in northeast Ohio and it is going to be 50 degrees and sunny and I will ride my bicycle. This is the upside of global warming. For the sake of not sounding like a doomsday environmentalist I will mention that some folks will name the cause as El Nino, which seems to have been effecting us in the U.S. since I graduated from high school.

Uh-oh, I've gotten off track....maybe for 2008 I should focus on order. 2007 is about going further. It is about evolving. It is about running the Cleveland Half-Marathon. It is about completing my first triathlon. It is about going for a nice little 200K spin on Amaterasu.

2007 is about traveling up to Cleveland regularly to work towards a degree that will land me in a new career. Wait....did I just say career?? Not long before 2007 I would have scoffed at the idea of a career. Vagabond's don't have careers. The truly hip don't need careers. I didn't need a career. I made the decision that, "I would rather have a life than a living." Progress for me is combining the two.

Now, on to the events of the day that brought about the afformentioned thoughts. Despite a cold rainy day over 600 folks showed up for the Great New Years Eve Race in Stow. The course was an out and back 5K that was nothing but hills. I somehow managed to PR with a 21:21, even though I have not been running over the last couple of months and was the epitomy of bad health over the holidaze. My most wonderful friends Paul and Julia joined in on the run as well as both of their fathers. I would not own a pair of running shoes if it weren't for these folks!!! Daisy Duc placed second in her age group, even after a 13 mile training run earlier that morning. I'm glad I got to with her and Joey a happy new year.

After a delicious supper of fine meditteranean cuisine it was time to begin celebrating. The beautiful Ursula invited me to join her and her new roomates for a drink. Over a sip of Cabernet, vintage 1976 (I was not brave enough to go for an entire glass) we all made our resolutions for the year. It was a very uplifting moment, indeed.

Then...downtown for drinks....then fireworks....then the first party for a drink.....then another party (and drink).....and another party (maybe 2) and drink (or 2).....then......

I was welcomed into the new year by a spectacular sunrise.