Monday, December 31, 2007

"Plato gave so brilliant and impressive a defense of this common human feeling, that the doctrine of the reality of abstract objects has been known as the platonic theory of ideas ever since. Abstract Beauty, for example, is for Plato a perfectly definite individual being, of which the intellect is aware as of something additional to all the perishing beauties of the earth. "The true order of going," he says, in the often quoted passage in his 'Banquet,' "is to use the beauties of earth as steps along which one mounts upwards for the sake of that other Beauty, going from one to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair actions, and from fair actions to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute Beauty, and at last knows what the essence of Beauty is."

--William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

I woke up this past Thursday morning feeling unmotivated and lazy, but I read a few lectures in The Varieties and felt a lot more creative and positive afterwards. Hard to say why. I think it's as simple as saying that in James I see somebody with a true gift for articulating ideas that generally defy description. If you think about it, a shitload of experiences are too complicated for an average person to describe. Maybe only a small fraction of the things we experience can be adequately described, with the rest being a sort of "dark matter" of observations, feelings, and ideas. William James seems to just camp out in the dark matter, explaining with unbiased lucidity how the general human condition translates into religion. I just feel elevated reading him.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

a cold front blew in around 3 pm and i had a pretty good run around town lake. about 6.6 miles without breathing hard.

a cute blonde who looked to be about 39 asked me a silly question about how far apart the cones were spaced on the austin high running track, not wanting the distance but my opinion as to whether the cones divided the track equally in half. i gave her an encouraging smile and said they looked to be spaced at opposite ends, indeed dividing the track in half. she said something about feeling like she was finishing her sprints too fast, and i said "no i don't think you're cutting it short." which was probably some subconscious way of saying that i wanted to cut the conversation short. and it awkwardly reminded me of castration. voila, i was soon on my way. it's interesting that i think that i like women to be bold like this, but when i meet the rare individual who is i am so afraid of being sleazy that i bolt in the opposite direction. some part of me wanted to smile and stay put, talking to her until i could at least be sure she was done asking her question. but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. i could have said "you know, i'm looking for a training partner," but i was really more interested in my own survival at that moment, staying poised just so. i sense extreme danger at the threshold of getting what i want. or perhaps she really wanted a second opinion on the distance between cones. the only sane option is to have faith that you made the right call, and play again at the earliest opportunity.

the picture is from an interesting modeling agency called uglyny which specializes models who don't quite fit the mold.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

If it ever happens that the computer seems to be "too much," the worst thing to do is demonize it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

world enough, and time

for the past few days my job has been to check on Elizabeth's cat. i finished reading Lonesome Dove yesterday. worked on my entry to the austin chronicle short story competition. ate a 78704 cheeseburger from phil's icehouse yesterday afternoon, with a vanilla shake. lay in bed for a "short nap" and ended up going into such a deep sleep that i woke up four hours later, initially not knowing my name or whose house i had woken up in.

i drove to the bank this morning to deposit a check. i found myself easily irritated by other drivers, which would suggest that i have "issues" or deep-seated anger. i think what it is is that a part of me has liked this down time so much that it's shone a spotlight on how much of a pain in the ass most people really are. the thought of becoming a recluse in my middle age doesn't worry me so much as the idea of being unfair to the collective "we". somebody had to raise the cow i ate on a bun yesterday, and i'd have gone hungry had this person shirked their ranching responsibilities to go write short fiction in a one-room log cabin.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ran the Santa Clara Pueblo 10k (June 30) in 49:45. A dirt road led us through the residential part of the pueblo (small adobe ranches, barking dogs, little gardens) and then out into a plain. Tall mountains on the horizon, cacti, grasses, live oak trees. I studied the depth of car tire tracks, trying to stay on the firmest parts of the road. The women's leader shadowed me for about four miles before passing. It was at around this point that the road led into sparse woods. A small herd of cows rushed towards me within their fenced pasture. I passed a boy who looked to be around 12. He had a fierce looking mohawk with a long mane, but turned to me and said "great job." As I ran back into town he was close behind. Bystanders cheered him on, making me feel conspicuous. At the finish line I heard my name and "Austin, Texas" called out on the PA, but all eyes were on the kid. Todo es bueno.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saving Lives

At the Town Lake Trail this evening, in the stretching area under mopac, a man tapped me on the shoulder and handed me his cell phone. "Call an ambulance," he said. He almost dropped the phone before I could take it from him. A few people tried asking him what was wrong but he could hardly speak. His hands were purple and twisted and his jaw hung slack. He was covered in sweat. The 911 operator asked me to ask him if he had a heart condition, he answered "nooooooo" with pained frustration. An ambulance came out of a firehouse within sight of where we stood. In less than five minutes he was on his way to the hospital. It was probably heat stroke.

It all felt so routine. I handed his cell phone to a paramedic and jogged off. Under different circumstances we may have stood there helplessly watching him die. It goes to show how when society works it isn't particularly interesting. Or no news is good news.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ran Round Rock Roadrunner Saturday. I placed high but did not meet goal. I blame 2 miles of woodchips and mud for the 12 second differential.

Gearing up for a trip to New Mexico and San Francisco June 27-July 7.

6/27 - Arrive AM in Albuquerque, pick up car
6/28 - Astronomy Day at Los Alamos Lab ("We're the bomb.")
6/29 - Healthy Heart, Mind and Soul 10k in Santa Clara Pueblo
6/29 - Los Lobos at Taos Solar Music fest
6/30 - Taos Pueblo
7/1 - Santa Fe
7/2 - Santa Fe
7/3 - Albuquerque
7/4 - Fly Oakland
7/5-7 - San Franciso at chez Greg

Still a lot of planning to do....

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Roundup Recap

Governor Perry thanked the troops while standing beside a person in a chicken suit (Pilgrim's Pride frozen chicken was the main race sponsor), a horn blew, and before I had really woken up I found myself zig zagging through people in a mad rush down Congress Ave. Need to get better starting position next time.

Ran it in 50:50, or at an 8:11 pace, which is 40 seconds better than a month ago, but about 3-4 minutes behind the folks in my running group.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

ran 11 miles today with the paul gonzales group. paul didn't make it today, though. i made a map of the route with the highlights.

running in the texas roundup 10k next saturday.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Recipe: Indian Food

Here's a recipe which I think rivals anything you'd get at a typical Austin Indian resturant. It's so simple I thought I'd share.

2 lbs. of central market ancho/coriander marinated chicken breasts
olive oil
yellow onion
red pepper

Slice chicken breasts into chunks.
Saute chunks until cooked. (use a big pan)
Remove chunks to bowl, leave some drippings in pan
pour sliced vegetables into hot drippings
saute until soft
put chicken chunks back in, stir

serve over jasmine rice.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Town Lake, 6.7, 54:55, 8:12

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Ran the Capital 10k in 51:29, which seems just about right. Thanks to Julie and Matt for getting up early to meet me at the finish line (more photos).

I've taken it easy this week. Matt and I attended a 12-hour cop marathon at the Alamo last night. Electra Glide in Blue, Police Story II, Sudden Impact, Freebie and the Bean, and the new movie by Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright, Hot Fuzz. There was a funny Q&A after the film, with Pegg, Wright and Nick Frost decked out in brand new Sheplers black cowboy shirts.

Freebie and the Bean was the surprise hit of the evening. Thrilling car chases and an edgy, urbane script (with "somewhat lacking" political correctness and Alan Arkin and Valerie Harper playing a married Mexican-American couple with six or seven children). The movie was probably both too hip and too insulting to broad demographic swaths to achieve the popularity of The Blues Brothers but it is a very fun movie.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ran the Mopac to I-35 loop on the trail (6.9 miles) in 58:57 or at 8:33 min/mile. The running group is really helping. I also bought some New Balance 1061s which are like velvet shock absorbers.

The 10k is in less than 3 weeks. My goal is to break 50:00 minutes, or maintain an 8:05 min/mile pace.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Back to the Roots - Threadless, Best T-shirts EverI've become addicted to this site where people design, discuss, and produce T-Shirt designs. The insecure kid who felt his best in an Echo and the Bunnymen T has not really grown up; I can see myself wanting a horsey run the 10k in.

Ran mopac to congress and back tonight. 4.5 miles. 42:10. This is 20 seconds slower than I ran it two weeks ago, but I felt like I was running faster tonight. Not sure what happened.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I've been preparing for the Capitol 10k which will happen March 25. I joined an "Intermediate/Advanced" running group that meets near the Austin American-Statesman building on Saturday mornings. The group leader, Paul Gonzalez, led a 6.5 mile run east to the Longhorn Dam this morning.

I was prepared. On Thursday night I ran from my house to Mesa Blvd., and then took that to 2222. Once there, I found no sidewalk or shoulder, so I had to return the way I came, over steep hills.

My legs were totaled yesterday, but they had regained some bounce by this morning. Three guys new to the group trailed behind for awhile and then disappeared. We started with eight and finished with five. A tall, younger guy wearing a nylon superhero shirt that said "shoot me in my breastplate and I'll bleed", Paul, and I led in a tight pack at what felt like an 8:30 pace the last two miles. I loved feeling that I belonged in the group. I kid you not.

It's possible that I can break 50 minutes in this race, but I need to eat right, train consistently, and not injure myself. I guess my blog will take on the boring aspects of run-speak for awhile. I was watching a bit of the XTerra off-road triathalon this morning.

Monday, January 01, 2007

With great reluctance, I put my 2006 "Warhol's Desserts" wall calendar into retirement. The introduction to the calendar says that in 1959 his dessert illustrations were included in a "delectable cookbook spoof called Wild Raspberries." It reminded me immediately of the Amy Sedaris book, I Like You, a bestselling cookbook spoof which Claire received for Christmas.

You can see that Sedaris (or her graphic designer) borrowed from the style of Wild Raspberries. She rocks.