3.29.2009

i can run again!

About a month ago, I developed tendonitis in my hip—which a) I didn't even know was possible; and b) makes me feel really really old—caused by lots and lots of running. So, I took about a month off (and a shitload of Advil®) to see if it would get better on its own. Finally, I couldn't take it any longer and decided to try and run again yesterday. I only ran three miles and it was on the treadmill and I didn't go any faster than 8 min miles, but still! I ran! I was half expecting to wake up this morning and not be able to walk, but mostly it's ok. It feels a little tight and there's a tiny amount of pain, but nothing near like what it was before.

Then, today, I proceeded to eat a block of cheese the size of a pygmy goat, you know, to negate any forward progress I'd made.

Anyway, I'm going to try again tomorrow and see what happens. Wish me luck.

3.26.2009

this is what i did today


A spec piece for an online comic about the demise of The Rocky Mountain News. Hopefully, they'll think it's good enough to a) actually pay for it; b) publish it; c) commission me for more work. Keep those fingers crossed and slaughter some color pencils for the Illustration Gods.

3.21.2009

sorry. i can't help myself.

I haven't talked much about basketball this year, because everyone got so sick of me talking about it last year, but we're now in the throes of March Madness and I have to say something.

After the first two days, my brackets are pretty hosed. This year, I filled out a 'head' bracket and a 'heart' bracket and apparently my heart was thinking more clearly than my head. But not enough to put me too high up in Doug's pool.

I do have one question though: what's with all the opera sleeves the players are wearing this year? Do they really help them shoot better? If so , how come everyone doesn't wear one?

I kind of hope Western Kentucky wins the whole thing.

I did manage to do something productive this weekend and retool my personal portfolio website. I've been meaning to do it for quite a while and I figured since all I was doing was sitting here watching bball games, I probably had time to do something useful. Check it out if you want. And if you know anyone who needs some graphic design help, feel free to point them my way. Thanks to all who gave me feedback along the way.

Mishap of the Day: I ran to the gym to boulder today so that I wouldn't miss too much basketball. I've been working on this Int+/Adv- problem that has a wicked heel hook into a one-armed pull-up that I haven't been successful at. Well, today I succeeded in completing the move but somehow managed to pull a muscle in my ass at the same time. Awesome.

Mishap of the Day/Pt 2: One of the calluses on my ring finger ripped off and now my finger is a raw, bloody painful mess.

3.16.2009

portraits of famous people, wk 8, lisa hannigan

lisa hannigan

Better known for backing Damien Rice on his two albums, Ms. Hannigan finally released a solo compilation of her own called See Sew. It's gorgeous.

3.15.2009

another long walk up a large bump



Friends Ann and Dylan came to town this weekend to finalize their transition to New Mexico. It was two days of fun, frivolity, Friendsgiving, and yesterday we got to go hiking. We went up the venerable Grey Rock. Much of the time was spent discussing the pros and cons of Facebook and Twitter, but we also enjoyed a nearly perfect day of sun, cool temps and (surprisingly) very little wind.

Mark, an aphorism is:
  1. A tersely phrased statement of a truth or opinion; an adage. See Synonyms at saying.
  2. A brief statement of a principle.
I was close, but of course I made it more complicated than it is. It's weird what comes up while you're walking up a large hill.
LinkI strained a tendon in my hip a few weeks ago while running and so I haven't been pursuing many cardio endeavors lately. I thought hiking might be ok since there's not too much pounding, but I forgot about coming down rocky terrain. It hurt pretty bad yesterday by the time we finished, but this morning, after about 2 million Advil®, it seems ok. Once again, getting old is for the birds.

3.13.2009

going chartreuse

I try to live as 'green' as I possibly can. With some exceptions. I reuse plastic ziploc bags. I ride my bike as much as I can. I wash my clothes in cold water. I use CFLs. I don't buy things that come in plastic bottles—instead I take my Nalgene® bottles with me and use them for water or fountain soda. My recycling bin is much more full than my trash can every week. If it's yellow, I definitely let it mellow. I bought a small house so that I would have a smaller carbon footprint. There are lots of things that I do that aren't environmentally friendly, but I do what I can and still remain sane.

Recently, I've started reading Mother Jones—a decidedly liberal leaning 'news' publication. I haven't bought a subscription yet largely because I feel like I'm uselessly killing trees with every magazine I read. I don't keep them, you see, I just toss them into the recycling when I'm done.

This latest issue is a lengthy treatise about why organic food and the environmentally-conscious lifestyle maybe aren't all the hype machine has pimped them out to be. And, while I realize that theirs is only one voice in a sea of billions, it's hard not to take some of their points to heart. But the problem is, it's made me start thinking about every. single. thing I do and how every single thing I thought I was doing correctly and was good for the Earth, may not be all that great after all. Like did you know that buying locally isn't necessarily all that great because local farmers combined together actually produce more carbon emissions than the large-scale farmers, even though the large-scale farmers have to ship their goods a further distance? And did you know that the production of bio-fuels ends up being more harmful to the planet's indigenous species than regular petroleum extraction?

All of it really makes my head hurt. I mean, obviously there are some practices that are better and more sustainable and, of course, I'm still going to recycle my chip board. But I don't like thinking that I have to start conducting a lengthy interview with every farmer I buy from every time I go to the farmer's market. And, I'm sorry, but if I have to start listening to oral arguments from every concerned party about whether buying a certain brand of toilet paper right now is good for the planet or not, I'm just going to stop caring altogether.

In good news, the stock market is up!

3.12.2009

just call me tim the tool man

1. It took two tries and at one point I was practically wearing gloves made of caulk, but I managed to strip out old caulk and put in new caulk around the base of the toilet and nothing spews water when I flush it. Know what's one of the grossest things in the universe? What's underneath old toilet caulk.

2. I have steam heat. That comes through registers that are mounted on the walls near the floor. They've been looking kind of...run down ever since I moved in, but I was always afraid to do anything about it. And never really knew what to do. The other day I was at Home Depot getting supplies for No 1, and I discovered spray paint. It worked like a charm on the one register I've painted so far.

3. I bought bulk yeast the other day at the grocery store and tried to make a loaf of bread with it yesterday. Um. Bad idea apparently. The dough didn't rise. But I tried to bake a loaf with it anyway just to see what would happen. Inedible doughy brick of heaviness is what happened.

4. The door stopper for the front door came out of the wall about 20 years ago and nothing prompted me to do anything about it until I noticed that the front door knob as made a little dent in the trim around the closet door. So, I filled in the hole with wood putty and repainted and put in a new door stop.

5. Next up on the list: paint outside trim, remove last ugly planter from around front yard tree, paint pantry, paint back door and replace back door lock, sand and stain and varnish spots on the floor that have been scraped by furniture and dog toenails.

Anybody want to come help?

3.10.2009

portraits of famous people, wk 7, m ward

m ward

I started listening to his latest, Hold Time this week. It's pretty good. And I'm way behind on the one-a-week aspect of this thing, so hopefully you'll see some others soon.

3.08.2009

most of you will care about this not one iota

Earlier today, my friend Kate linked to an article by a very popular, very awesome professional climber about how weight lifting has helped her climb better and it made me want to blather on about my experiences with my own weight lifting routine.

Before I started climbing I was a pretty avid weight lifter and runner and biker. Living in Kansas, there weren't too many options for outdoor fitness, so you took what you could get. Once I started climbing though, (about three years ago) I felt like weight training was getting in the way, so I quit lifting and focused solely on scaling rocks.

Then about four months ago, I had a pretty awful bike wreck and couldn't use my hand very well, so I had to stop climbing and I needed something else to do to keep in shape, so I started lifting weights again. Once my hand got better I wanted to start climbing again, but I didn't want to stop lifting (I have to admit solely for vanity reasons), so I developed a routine that would allow me to do both. And what I've discovered is that the weight lifting has actually helped the climbing. The key is to not train so hard on the weight lifting days that you can't do anything on the climbing days. Since I started doing this, I've definitely seen improvements in my bouldering grades and also a little in my climbing grades. My endurance could still stand some improvement, but I think that will be helped this summer when we take three months off of the lifting.

I've even convinced friend Doug that all of this is a good idea. Ha ha sucker.

Here's our routine:

We rotate through a two days on, one day off routine. This gives us more flexibility than say a 'lift on M W F and climb on T TH routine.' That way if one of us has something going on one day we can just move everything to the next day. So we have a 'climb, then lift, then have a day off' routine. Which we repeat. And repeat. And repeat, ad infinitum. I think it's important to have this rotation rather than a 'lift first, then climb, then a day off' routine because this gives us three days between climbing days and a full 48 hours between lifting and climbing, so your muscles have sufficient time to recover from the stresses of lifting. This gives us at least two days of each lifting and climbing in a week's period. Usually I use my 'off day' to go on a long run as long as I make sure that I take one full day off a week where I don't do any exercise at all. Then I'll also run on the lifting days and some of the climbing days.

We focus solely on upper body weight training since we feel like the running, hiking and climbing we do is enough for our legs.

We also focus less on how many sets we do and more on total number of reps, making sure we increase the total number each time we lift. Then we increase weight once we get to 45 total reps.

Ok. I think that's enough of all that. Sorry for boring you. If you weren't bored and want more specifics about the exercises we do, let me know. I can talk about this shit for days.

3.05.2009

nobody died


Yesterday I led my first hike for the Sierra Club. Before the fated day, I had started to get a little annoyed with all of the logistic crap that is required to drag a couple of people up a hillside, but the actual hike ended up outweighing all of the consternation. It actually ended up being a lot of fun.

Three things made it a successful outing: 1) the weather was fantastic with sunny skies and temps in the upper 40s. My balding head even got sunburned; 2) it only took us 4 hours total, including pre-hike talk, lunch and post-hike high-fiving, and 3) everyone returned with all of the limbs they started out with and most importantly no one died!

3.03.2009

at least the stock market is up today


I met with my financial adviser yesterday hoping that she might be able to quell the growing level of dread I feel every day when I look at my stock ticker. Her advice: ride it out, stop looking at your stock ticker and maybe start shopping at Wal-mart instead of Whole Foods.

A friend said yesterday that we have to get used to this. That this is now the way life will be forever from here on out. That we needed to live more frugally anyway. And, while I mostly agree with her, I'm sick of wondering every day if this is the day when I have to finally buckle down and cancel cable TV. And then hating myself for whining about maybe having to get rid of cable when there are millions of people around the world who can't even afford electricity let alone worry about whether they will miss the latest episode of 'Lost'.

I miss the heady days of the early Oughts. When I didn't have to spend two days wondering whether my $7 would be better spent on a new Nalgene® bottle or a burrito for lunch.

3.01.2009

betty crocker ain't got sh*t on this brotha. yo.

This weekend I was Suzy Homemaker. I had one successful project and one that was an abject failure. Which would you like first the good news? Or the bad?

My front door is rather...splotchy on the outside. Ever since I moved in, I've been wanting to do something about it, so this weekend I decided it was time. I went to Home Depot and bought everything I thought I would need: sandpaper, stain, brush, varnish. I brought it all home and started with what I believed should be step one—sanding. And, I sanded. A lot. See? Here's evidence:

(For those of you not in the know, my hair is not blond.)

And then I stained and varnished and stained and varnished and I hate to say it, but I think it looks worse than before I attempted to do anything to it. It looks even splotchier. Maybe I didn't sand enough. It seems like the stain brought out more of the discolorations in the wood. I don't know. I've hit the brick wall in my knowledge of home improvement projects.

In other news, remember my attempt at baking bread a couple of weeks ago? And my dissatisfaction with how it wasn't quite right for sandwiches. Well, a few days ago, I had the bright idea of making smaller rolls with it so that I could use those for sandwiches OR snacking either one. And this is the result:


I haven't tried it out yet, but I think they will be perfect.