Sunday, May 31, 2015

Inspirations for Running

So, I ran another mile, brought my time down a bit, to 8 minutes and 54 seconds. It's really hard though, I've got to tell you, because it's getting progressively hotter.

It would probably be a lot easier if I did my run in the morning, and soon I will HAVE to, or it won't happen, but honestly I've never been big on doing any heavy duty exercising in the morning, other than walking, or yoga, my drive to exercise doesn't usually kick in until the afternoon or evening. That's just how I've always been, though doesn't mean that's how I always must be, but just saying, I generally exercise later in the day.

Anyway, we had our first 100 degree day today. Sunday and Monday is expected to be even hotter, and hopefully, if the forecast is right, after that it'll be cooling down again into the nineties, which strangely enough, will feel cooler. My goal for running is three miles, with no plans of running further. Why? Well, I suppose it goes back to my childhood, where one of my greatest role models was Bruce Lee, and in his book Basic Training, he mentioned that he regularly ran three miles. So, it stuck in my mind as a good distance to run. Plus, I have no desire to participate in any races, and running for the health benefits, inasmuch as toning my muscles and improving my cardiovascular health, is actually only a small part of it.

Mostly there's two major reasons motivating me to run. One, for survival; for self-preservation. I may one day be attacked, or need to evade attack, and being able to run away, to run consistently for 30 minutes or longer, may save my life. Two, I'm kind of a high strung person, hyperactive "high energy" person, with an inclination to anxiety and depression and of drinking alcohol to alleviate those tendencies, and I have found exercise, such as running, to be a healthy alternative, tiring me out and triggering those "happy, feel good" endorphins, as a way of balancing myself out naturally.

So, we've got running as a tool to enhance one's ability to survive and thrive. But I will also add that I'm someone who is committed to living car-free. Which by the way, don't feel bad if you drive, I don't have a problem with you or anyone else driving, although I do in fact hate cars, but I do recognize their value, it's just not a value that I myself wish to personally partake in. This could change, but as it is now, unless I have to travel extremely long distances, I'm good getting around as much as possible through the power of my own locomotion: Riding my bike, walking, or running. So, being able to run, and developing my skills as a runner, can only help to serve and enhance my car free existence.

It's good for me to have some tangible goal. I would say I'm definitely a goal oriented person. It's what keeps me at my best. Keeps me sharp. Gives me a reason for living. Without goals, I sort of wither away, the quality of my life takes a nose dive.

So besides the running, need to work on those pushups too. Got to fit at least two dedicated days a week to making some significant gains in my strength, and pushups are probably the most tangible measure of progress in that area. Got the goal of the three mile run, and will have to stick to that 20 pushups goal, and that's good quality pushups, with good form, and my chin touching the floor.

That's all for now. Another fitness update, much sooner than you probably expected. Not what you were expecting, or hoping, am I not keeping you entertained? Well I'm sorry, it's all part of the personal growth, self-transformation memoir in progress, eventually leading to some great philosophical ideas and insights, I'm sure of it. You'll just have to stay tuned, and if you get bored you can always turn the channel, and I will fade away into oblivion, as will you, and that's fine, it's just words on a screen anyway, anything more is just an illusion, as is perhaps, all else. Such is life, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful or worth living.

Friday, May 29, 2015

14 Mile Bike Ride

Well, let's see, I'm feeling pretty drained. The day after the last post, where I mentioned I did a mile run in nine minutes, I ran a mile and a half in 15 minutes, a slower pace. Wasn't the time I was expecting, but it was hotter, and plus the ground I'm running on isn't level, there's a slight incline.

Anyway, despite my time being slightly slower than I was hoping for, I felt majorly stoked about the simple fact that I actually ran a mile and half, the first in many years, anything more than this I will be breaking new ground.

I thought my biggest challenge would be my lung capacity, but the day after my one and a half miler, my legs were sore, and I wasn't counting on that. So I took a day off, but yesterday, I went on a bike ride, was only planning on doing an easy three or four miler, but ended up riding 14 miles, stopping at my favorite desert oasis. Only took 30 minutes to get there, which is totally awesome. I'm thinking I need to go more often, because the hot weather is coming back, though we've had cooler weather than usual, but the hundreds are on the horizon, as in any day now, and sitting by the water at this park is the most comforting thing in the world.

Here's some pictures from Wednesday's ride:





It was 95 degrees that day, and I only brought one water bottle. Nevertheless, it was a good day, not too many people there, and felt ten to fifteen degrees cooler by the water. I'm thinking that no matter what, I'm going to ride out there regularly, only need about two hours to make it happen, though one of these days I'll go in the morning and make it a whole day. Yep. anyway, I'm thinking, now that I'm in training mode, I either ride my bike, or run, with one complete rest day a week. We'll see what happens.

That's all for now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May Fitness Update

I reached a major milestone today, I ran my first timed nonstop mile run in over twenty years, clocking in at 9 minutes on the dot.

I hadn't even been training for it, haven't been doing a regular running routine, just running a quarter mile or so to the store here and there, but without any regularity - so you could say my nine minute mile is my pre-training time, which, although it's no Olympian accomplishment, isn't bad for someone in their late thirties whose hardly run at all.

The difference is though that usually when I jog the short distance to the store, sort of a spur of the moment impulse, I'm carrying a backpack and at least a quart of water, whereas on today's timed run, I traveled light, carrying nothing at all. Actually it's the first time I've run without my backpack in years, and it certainly made it a lot easier.

I think I can easily bring this time down to an eight minute mile, and if I keep it up, by the end of the summer, and maybe even sooner, I should be reaching my 3 mile goal, and doing it in 25 minutes or less. Yeah, I see it as extremely doable.

I'm very proud of myself, because I've been procrastinating about doing this for years, where there's always been some obstacle in my way, from sinus problems, the weather being too hot, drinking too much beer, to just not feeling strong enough, but am now FINALLY making some progress.

Although I have been walking at least a mile everyday for years, even doing a few 15 milers, and consider myself to be a relatively fit person, am slim, somewhat muscular, never been overweight, but just wasn't a runner, I attribute my recent success to my regular cycling routine, where I've been doing ten to fifteen mile bike rides two to three days a week for a few months now. It's the first time I've attempted a timed run since I started up the regular cycling, and am definitely seeing a connection, that it's helped improve my fitness in a big way. So, hurray for that.

I'll keep you posted. The next fitness update, next month or so, will post (hopefully) improved run times, an increase in distance, my first 1.5, 2 miler, 3 miler, we'll see; as well as whatever thoughts I have on the matter, such as how doing this has influenced other aspects of my life, the quality of my life, my state of mind, and plans for the future.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spontaneous Insights

Spontaneous insights, I used to have them all the time, but lately it almost seemed like they had stopped completely, until a few nights ago, when I was having one, it occurred to me that the insights haven't stopped at all, all that's changed is that I haven't been writing them down. And just like dreams, if you don't write them down right away, they are easily forgotten.

This blog has given me a reason to write. Okay, I was writing before the blog, but having a blog gives you that extra motivation to keep the writing coming. You tend to pay attention to things that you see as potential blog post topics, that you wouldn't otherwise give a second thought to.

Okay, so it occurred to me that I have spontaneous insights that come to me all the time, but it is only through writing that they ever see the light of day, as I'm not ordinarily inclined to talk about them as a subject of conversation. You could say that my creative dry spell of seeming not to have as many spontaneous insights or original ideas, coincides with my diminishing interest in writing and of having a blog.

I'm facing this obstacle of not being able to see any good reason for doing this, there's certainly no external reward for doing this, I get virtually no feedback, no financial payback, and it so often feels as though nobody else is reading. So if there's any reward it's something that I've got to create myself, a reason for doing this that fulfills myself, such as seeing this as good writing practice, and the opportunity to develop and explore ideas that perhaps wouldn't be realized anywhere else. And as such, seeing it in this way, it turns this into a valuable tool for self-transformation and intellectual growth, which, if you can maintain that perspective, is a good reason after all.

So the insight I have is that my creative self depends on writing. It is only through writing that these spontaneous insights are given a life. It is only through writing that I can explore ideas of a philosophical, introspective, imaginative nature. If I stop writing, I stop thinking. Sure, I think first, but I need to write these thoughts down for these thoughts to evolve.

What I mean by spontaneous insights are simply those thoughts that suddenly, mysteriously pop into your mind like a flash of lightning, that involve seeing or understanding something in a new way, seeing something from a different point-of-view, and grasping the meaning of something that never occurred to you before. It may not necessarily be anything extraordinary, or world changing, or even all that important, and it may not even be entirely original or innovative, in that other people may have had the insight too, but on a personal level it is new to you and that is what makes it special.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moonbow

You know, back in the early to mid nineties, I think maybe it was either '93 or '94, I remember having a dream of being down by the beach at night and seeing a rainbow over the lake, which to me looked like Lake Michigan, because that's where I lived. I never saw anything like that before. Not in a dream, nor in wakefulness. I have no conscious memory of seeing such a thing in a movie, or reading about it in a book, but I saw it in my dream.

Well, just found out today that it actually does happen. It's not a figment of imagination, not some sort otherworldly surreal only happens in dreams phenomenon. They're called moonbows, or lunar rainbows, requiring the elements of a full, or nearly full moon, and water. The thing is though that people don't, ordinarily, maybe not even ever, see the rainbow as a full spectrum rainbow with their naked eye, instead it appears like a white light, but only in photographs is the actual rainbow revealed.

But in my dream, I could "see" it as a vividly colorful rainbow, but again, what I'm seeing isn't seen with my actual physical eyes, but something else, my mind's eye. 

Here's a picture of a moonbow, via wikipedia, though in my dream the sky was much darker, more visibly nighttime, rather than dusk or dawn, as this picture suggests:


See, it's pretty fascinating, that because I'm not very educated in scientific matters, there's a lot of stuff in my dreams that I'm seeing that I don't understand, that seem totally out of this world, that perhaps I hadn't any prior explore to, but would be understood by scientists.

How is it that I saw something in a dream that I never saw before and had no prior knowledge of?

Well, of course, it could be argued that maybe I had seen it somewhere, in a movie or something, but just had no memory of it. Maybe, but what if I really hadn't seen it before, and the dream really was the first?

The same is true for other areas of knowledge, not just scientific, but mythological, historical references, that go completely over my head, that I'm unaware of their significance.

I think it's like a form of prophecy, or foresight, illumination, inspiration. But if you don't understand what you see, the significance of what you are seeing, you may dismiss it as unimportant, and possibly forget all about it. That's why you've got to write it down. I'm sorry to say that memory is failing me. So it is absolutely imperative that I write this stuff down, or I'm going to lose it forever.

Won't forget my moonbows, though. I've only had a handle of dreams that I still remember twenty years later, and seeing a rainbow at night is one of them. And because I saw it mentioned on some news program today, I think it was PBS, I had to share it. Well, that is all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Follow-Up

Do you have a blog? Have you been blogging for years?

Well, let me tell you, if you suddenly stop, without warning, without giving any farewell message, a reason for the absence, an explanation, and you just simply stop updating, and the weeks become months, and the months become years, and if you wait long enough, eventually the page will completely disappear, either because the blogspot (or whatever may be the case, wordpress, typepad, tumblr, whatever) goes out of business, or changes ownership, and the rules and regulations change, believe me, whether it happens right away or later down the road, if you have any kind of dedicated readership, you disappoint a lot of people. It's like, okay, guess you didn't really care about me, didn't care about us, didn't care about your readers. It's really fucking annoying. Yeah, eventually, as time goes by, you forget about them, as they apparently forgot about you in like a split second. For you, maybe it took a bit longer, a few years maybe, but eventually, the piece of shit that could have been a diamond, no longer exists.

Yeah, I've been reading blogs for a few years now (okay it's been over a decade), and it really annoys me when blogs I like just suddenly stop, without warning. No update. Nothing. They just stop posting. Okay, unless you fucking died, that is not right. Yeah, it annoys me also when they actually do give a warning too, because if you like their writing, and they're still writing elsewhere, but they don't tell you where, you feel a bit cheated when you aren't included in their latest endeavors. Whatever. The point is, I don't want to be one of those people that does that. Although, arguably it is quite possible that there are few people left reading this who actually care (and no this is not a desperate cry for attention, actually I'd prefer it if you don't comment on this) but uh, it just occurred to me that when I go, I don't just want to leave you hanging, I would like to give some kind of farewell message, or ideally some sort of followup, a link to something better, like a book I wrote or something. That's what I'd like to do. Thanks for your time.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Scary Spider

Been awhile since I posted a picture of a spider, the last time was a tarantula sighting (I'll have to add the link later). Well, last night around elevenish, I go to take the garbage out. I live in an apartment complex, so that involves walking around the corner to a dumpster. My neighbor just moved out, so I was kind of lingering near their apartment, seeing if they left anything, if they are completely out, or what. They had a weight bench that I had my fingers crossed that they were going to leave behind, but of course it never happened. Oh well, would have really been too good to be true.

As I'm going back, headed to my door, I see something moving, something almost shiny looking, metalicy, glistening in the covered parking light. It caught my eye. Although I didn't have my flashlight on, I could see something moving in front of me, something fast, and as soon as I turned my headlamp on, yes I wear a headlamp on my ordinarily 30 second trip to the dumpster, at first I thought it was a tarantula. It was certainly almost as large as one, but without the thick hair, the legs were skinnier, but the circumference was just as large. My second thought was that it was a tropical spider from either Florida or Brazil, stowed away on some grocery store cargo of bananas, or something like that, at which point my arachnophobia was kicked into full gear. And that is what I thought it was until tonight, when I think I identified it as a wolf spider. It has a poisonous, extremely painful bite, but is not deadly, at least not ordinarily. If you happen to get bit on the face or neck, it is advised to seek medical treatment, otherwise, wash the area, apply ice, and stay calm, and you should be alright.

Anyway, last night, it was like right on top of my door, this huge spider. My cat is on the other side of the door, and I'm afraid that if I open the door, the spider is either going to run into my apartment and attack my cat, or it's going to run up my leg and attack me. I've already had a next door neighbor have a complete psychotic breakdown outside my door a few weeks ago, with about a dozen cops, firemen, and paramedics, showing up at the scene, I don't think my screams about this spider after eleven o'clock at night would have made a very good impression with the rest of the neighbors. So I decided to retreat to the patio, climbing over the wall and everything. And that was my night. Very scary. It was a first. The second largest spider I've ever seen in my life. Just had to make a record of it.

Here's a picture of it:



The picture is a little bit misleading, it looked a lot larger in person, seriously. If you were to encircle it with a compass, it would easily be the size of an apple, or fit in the palm of a hand. Like I said, it was like a tarantula with skinny shaved legs. And it looked like it was really fast, and ready to pounce. The good thing is is that it alerted me, reminded me to not become too complacent sitting out on the patio at night, to be on the lookout for this thing, as it may live in the area and come back again.

So, thanks for the warning.

Monday, May 4, 2015

My Sunday Ride

Did another ten mile bike ride today, another Trader Joe run. I try to go at least once a week, even if it's just to get a six-pack of beer. The ride is good for me. The more I do it the easier and less far it seems.

It's kind of an interesting ride, I pass by a lot of pros, as this city is a popular training destination, I pass by bicycling tour buses from Quebec, Canada all the time. You can tell who's a tourist by their skeletal white legs. Because if you live here for any length of time and wear shorts everyday, I don't care if you are naturally as white as a ghost, you're going to get a brown tan fast. Anyway, I get passed up by these super fast pros all the time. Though as a consolation to myself, I remind myself that my bike is probably twice as heavy, I'm wearing a backpack and have a rear rack and loaded trunk, and they don't, they are as super light and fast as can be. Yeah, they're probably fitter too, but believe me, no matter how fit you are, riding a bike that's twice as heavy than the other person's is a significant handicap for anyone.

Anyway, I ride my ten miles, but for the seasoned bicycle commuter, ten miles is nothing. Some people commute by bicycle 30 miles a day, five days a week, and sometimes that's only one way. I've read about it. I've never done nothing like that though. But if I were to do that, I think it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to contend with traffic, if there were separate bike paths, like they have in the Netherlands, then I think I would feel differently about it, it would become a much more appealing option. Because for me, other than the heat, the biggest challenge is the traffic, the danger of getting hit, and the pollution from the car exhaust. Otherwise, the distance itself isn't a problem at all. I find that after the first five miles, the pedaling becomes almost effortless. Actually, by the time I'm coming home from my ten mile round trip, I feel like I've gotten a good warm up, and could go further. But because I have groceries, usually, I call it a day.

On the way back, stopped in ranch country, took a picture of my bike next to a couple of what I believe may be Desert Ironwood trees. [Edit: Though in retrospect I think they could be Desert Willows. I'd have to get a closer look at the leaves and flowers to be sure.] Desert Ironwoods have pinkish purple flowers that bloom in late April and May, which I've learned are edible, and in June they turn into seed pods, similar to Mesquite seed pods, which are also edible. Maybe tomorrow, or if not, sometime this week, I'm going to go on a little expedition to pick some Desert Ironwood flowers, to eat. Firstly, I will make sure that it is absolutely without a doubt the right tree, by looking at the shape of the flowers and the leaves and the bark, and if it is, I'm going to taste the flowers. I'll let you know how that turns out. And in June, I'm going to pick some seed pods, and taste those too.

My goal is to become an expert in identifying every plant and animal within sight, and knowing whether or not it has edible or medicinal properties. Just a little side project of mine. Not a career objective, just a hobby.

Meanwhile, it's getting hotter and hotter. Yesterday, it was 96. Today, we had a cool down of a high of 90. This upcoming week, we're having a further cool down of highs in the 80s, with the slight possibility of rain. Before you know it it will be in the 100s again. I hate it, but got to make the best of it. I am finding refuge in my wild plants identification project. Getting outside, getting acclimatized to the heat. Also dedicated to riding my bike all year round, even when it's 105 degrees, you betcha (spoken in a heavy Wisconsin, borderline Chicago accent). Also, am going to become a runner, even if it kills me. The key is to limit the beer consumption. That's been a major obstacle, because I like it so much, which is fine, just got to make due with less, like I do with everything else. 

That's all for now.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Delusions of Grandeur

I have absolutely nothing to write about. Yet, looking back in the past, at the early days of this blog, most posts began this way, where the idea came to me, once I just started writing. I wrote, until an idea worth pursuing surfaced.

Well, what does it matter. The blog will be deleted, and then what? It becomes lost, a memory of a dream, easily forgotten.

---

Yeah, I could have published that. Actually, I did, but you know what I mean, it's not the final word. In fact, many posts began that way, until I had the sense to press delete. Later, usually, I come back to the draft, I realized that I was just having a bad day. The bad days, become good days, then bad days, and good days again. The good and the bad being determined by the whimsical fancies of changing brain chemistry, cosmic rays, or fucking asshole people abrasively grating on my nerves.

Yeah, speaking of which, I'm planning to read the collected works of the unabomber. I told my grandma about it, and she was worried that reading that book would flag me as a potential terrorist. She didn't exactly use those words, but that was her meaning.

No worries. No possibility of it. Terrorism is, I feel, operating under the same mentality of the status quo, dressed in military clothing. You're not fighting the enemy, you're becoming one of their ugly cannon fodder foot soldiers, giving them a reason to exist. In other words, you're playing the same game, of cops and robbers, and you can't win. The cards are stacked, the game is rigged.

I mentioned my interest in the matter being comparable to a person pursuing a career in criminal justice, researching serial killers, and just because they are reading about them, doesn't mean they want to be like them.

Anyway, one thing that struck my attention when previewing the unabomber's work, is his obsessive use of the word leftist. Reminded me immediately of a person who used to comment here operating under the moniker of crow. I suppose people like that, with extremely high IQs, and associated with the far right and deep ecology, are already being monitored. Mostly a bunch of deluded wackos, usually living on the fringe, out in the backwoods of nowhere, or in the city living a double life, who think they are superior to 99 percent of the human race, and whose ideas wouldn't survive a day of face to face contact with ordinary people. Only in blog land, online forums, and in obscure books that no one reads, do they thrive.

When I read his work in full, I will have more to say about this. Just had to get these preliminary notes out there. That is all for now.