The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Pastor Dan Green spoke at church on Sunday morning. He's in charge of overseas ministries. Neither Carrie nor I enjoy Pastor Dan Green. I'm sure he's fine, but to me he's deadly dull, and Carrie believes he's a little misogynistic from previous comments he's made.

One thing I noticed about his talk, however, was that, for the second week in a row, from two different pastors, the call to service was hit, and hit hard. Last week it was the overt sermon topic, and this past Sunday it was heavily encouraged for us to get involved in the lives of the 'internationals' in Columbus via the church's 'international missions' program. (Why it isn't under Pastor Phil's community outreach program I don't know).

From there we went to a graduation party for Adam Cook. He had it with four friends at the church AC Chapel, or as we used to call it, South Campus. The mother of one of the boys, Zach Miller, had died Saturday night, and he wasn't there. But the rest of them were, and the mood was fun.

Adam, of course, was Adam. Carrie and I went with the Shindles, and when Adam saw us he squealed, ran over to us, and commenced to talking for about seven minutes straight. At his presentation table, he had a bunch of his artwork. He's really quite talented, and Carrie and I are discussing the possibility of commissioning him to do a charcoal drawing for our library.


Not much to say for the rest of the afternoon: Came home, took a nap, played with the phone some more, then went up to Mike & Margaret's house to get an early start on Monday.


Saturday was busy. Honestly, if I were writing this Saturday night instead of Tuesday afternoon, I could break this entry up into 3 or 4 smaller ones. As it is, I'll try to give as much detail as I can:

Got up relatively early, yet not early enough to go running Saturday morning.

We went to Christian's baseball game with Mom and Dad. Erin and Kayli weren't able to make it because Erin's in the middle of moving out of her mom's house and they were up until midnight or so the night before packing and stuff. But Erin's mom was there, and she seemed reasonably well-adjusted.

Christian's seven now, and the game was typical for one filled with seven-year-olds. Infielders who would rather chase the runner around all four bags than through the ball to the next baseman. Outfielders who wear their mitts on their heads. Something that I didn't realize was common for this agegroup now was 'Coach Pitch.' A coach pitches for his own team, while the 'pitcher' stands next to him and fields the ball during the play.

Christian's play was about average. He was one the outfielders who wasn't paying a whole lot of attention. Once or twice I caught him watching the game in the field next to ours. He didn't swing the bat with a whole lot of enthusiasm or speed, but when he did hit it, he had a surprising amount of power behind it, and he listened to the coaches well. He drove in the tying run and was advancing to third when his team's winning run was batted in.

Christian came home with Mom & Dad. We didn't stay too long afterwards, but we stuck around long enough to hear that Christian was doing well enough in school now that his teacher and counselor were suggesting the possibility of having him skip into third grade next year.

Came home. Did the grocery shopping on the way. Took a nap, got the remaining railroad ties we needed, then Carrie wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because she had only seen it once before and of all the Harry Potter movies to date, it's the one I can stomach the most.

She fell asleep about an hour into it, and I ended up spending the rest of the night playing with my new phone's functionality.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Well, you know I had to see this movie sooner or later. Carrie wanted to see it, so, with great trepidation and trembling, went with her, Drew and Dave. Wasn't expecting much of anything any better than the last two.And, in that respect, I was disappointed. In every other respect, I was blown away. Elements which were problems in the previous prequel movies are either addressed (such as the acting) or done away with all together (such as Jar-Jar).Sith is much more in the spirit of the original movies, with their tribute to the old movie serials of the 30s and 40s. However much of the political commentary that bogged down the previous two prequels is here in full force. If one believes that Lucas wrote this treatment and dialogue over twenty years ago, then one has to acknowledge that it is still strangely prescient with today's US political climate, with references to one man having too much power over a democratic body, safety and security achieved through force. Even the Jedi get caught up in jinoisms, shouting that they are fighting for democracy. Compare that with the pseudo-religion that envelopes the later films in their references to the Force, and one has to conclude that either Lucas is a brilliant storyteller or a liar.I choose liar, but that's just me.Still, many things in Sit are much better than they were in the earlier prequels. Acting in particular is much better, although I think that Lucas has gotten so wrapped up in the technical aspects of his vision that he had trouble communicating that with his cast. There isn't a performer in this cast who hasn't shone elsewhere in their careers, but in all of the prequels, performances are generally either stiff and wooden, or melodramatic and still wooden. That may be due to the large number of scenes which are shot entirely on bluescreens, leaving the actors to fake everything surrounding them, including whom they're talking to.The movie succeeds in spite of these complaints, and that's a tribute to Lucas' storytelling ability (not that it doens't still make him a liar) and the pacing of the movie. High action pieces and a simple-to-follow plot (as opposed to earlier prequels, which required written directions, a map and several flow charts to follow). If I'm giving the impression that I didn't like Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, that's only because I didn't. Those two movies could have honestly been cut and re-editted into one movie without losing any of the story. But Sith makes up for all of that. I give this movie my highest recommendation:Watch it in the theatre, more than once!

Rann-Thanagar War #1 (of 6)

Rann-Thanagar War is one of four mini-series being published by DC right now as a part to reinvigorate certain aspects of the DCU that have gone by the wayside in the past several years. This one focuses on the Cosmic, interplanetary mythos that has developed, featuring two characters that shared a title back in the day, Adam Strange and Hawkman. Unfortunately, having not read the recent Adam Strange mini, I was a little lost as to what was going on. Much of what goes on in this issue is prologue, setting up the fight to come as two cultures accustomed to battle war over one homeworld.The writing from Dave Gibbons is fine, but nothing special, knowing that he was essentially handed the beats of the plot from Dan Didio. Artwork from Ivan Reis and Mark Campos is suitably epic and gritty. Reminded me a little of Sgt. Rock from John Romita or Alex Toth.But I couldn't get over the fact that much of the story was filler. Yet I greatly enjoyed the ride and am anticipating the next issue. And, isn't that all you can really expect from an adventure comic?

Seven Soldiers: Guardian #2 (of 4)

Here's something you don't expect to see every day: A four-issue mini series where the story ends after the second issue.Grant Morrison's 'Seven Soldiers' is an experiment in every sense of the word. Seven minis featuring seven different characters who don't interact with each other, fighting a common enemy they don't all realize they're fighting, bookended by two specials that don't feature any of the seven.Without getting into specifics, The Guardian is the employee of a New York tabloid hired to be the mascot and icon of journalistic liberty. Nearly as soon as Jake puts on the helmet and shield, his wife is kidnapped by subway pirates who are racing each other to find a treasure hidden somewhere in a secret maze of tracks originally laid down by the Masons.It almost doesn't matter what the story is about, because this is all about Morrison's ability to come up with the weirdest crap and 'throwaway' ideas that other writers would stretch out for months investigating backstory. Morrison understands the true nature of super-hero comics better than just about anyone else working today, and he's able to capture that awe and wonder better than anyone else period.

Friday, May 20, 2005

'Why the Dispatch Sucks,' Reason #143

I'm going to post the entire article below, because eventually it will be archived on the Columbus Dispatch website, and I wanted an account of how stupid this is:

For Reds and Indians to contend, it would take a . . .
United front
Friday, May 20, 2005
Scott Priestle

Memorial Day is still a week away, and already much of the optimism that surrounded the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians this spring is gone. It appears the glory days of summer might not arrive. Is it too soon to think about football? We watched the struggling Indians offense batter a good double-A pitcher this week, so we know they have enough talent to win the Texas League. It got us wondering what it would take for the Indians to catch the Chicago White Sox or the Reds to catch the St. Louis Cardinals.

Maybe if we took the best each team had to offer? Maybe . . .

The following is our 25-man roster, based on how the players have performed through the first 6½ weeks of the season and how we can realistically expect them to perform the rest of the season:

OUTFIELD Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr., Grady Sizemore, Wily Mo Pena, Coco Crisp
Dunn is the prototypical slugger of this generation — a lot of home runs, a lot of walks, a lot of strikeouts and soon a lot of money. The latter does not concern us, so Dunn will anchor our lineup.

We like Sizemore’s hustle, and his talent is beginning to show. But he has to move to right field, because center field is Griffey’s domain as long as he is healthy.

Crisp provides speed and versatility off the bench, and Pena provides pop. When they are hot, either can bump Sizemore out of the lineup. When they are hurt — as both are now — we will dip into triple-A for Austin Kearns and Jody Gerut.

INFIELD Sean Casey, Ryan Freel, Jhonny Peralta, Joe Randa, Travis Hafner, Felipe Lopez, Ronnie Belliard
Hafner will be our designated hitter in American League parks. The Indians have been reluctant to use him at first base, so we won’t put him there, either. Casey gets the nod there over Ben Broussard, based on a longer track record.

Randa wins the third-base job by default over the slumping Aaron Boone. We prefer Freel as a utility player, but he has been hot lately so he starts ahead of Belliard at second base. Peralta starts at shortstop based on his current power binge of five home runs in 11 games.

CATCHER Victor Martinez , Josh Bard
Switch-hitters. And Martinez can’t continue hitting this poorly, can he?

STARTING ROTATION C.C. Sabathia, Kevin Millwood, Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Jake Westbrook
As with Randa at third base, the Indians starters get the nod by default, with only Harang representing the Reds.

Sabathia, Millwood and Lee have been solid. Westbrook has either been very good with lousy luck or just plain lousy. Still, we will take him over the trio of Eric Milton (pow), Paul Wilson (bam) and Ramon Ortiz (boom).

BULLPEN Bob Wickman, Arthur Rhodes, Ryan Wagner, David Riske, Rafael Betancourt, Kent Mercker
Wickman and Danny Graves keep the ninth inning interesting. Wickman has been on a roll this month, and he hasn’t bad-mouthed any fans, so he is our guy.

Rhodes might be the best of this bunch right now, and the youngster Wagner could be by the end of the season. Riske and Betancourt have been automatic for the Indians.

Mercker gets the nod over Scott Sauerbeck as our left-handed specialist by virtue of being a Dublin native. We got love for the local boy.

In the end, our hybrid club should score a few more runs than the Indians have scored and allow fewer than the Reds have allowed, but only the outfield stands out. It still doesn’t look like a World Series contender, so we still like the Cardinals. Unless we can swing a trade for that Pujols guy.

Hey, it’s our dream . . .

Now here's the thing: Columbus isn't a large city, and outside of the OSU Buckeyes and Columbus Suck Jackets, there isn't a lot of local sports. However, because we're almost in the middle of Cincinnati and Cleveland, almost everybody has a favorite sports team. My point is that there's a lot of regional sports news to cover on any given day. Indians, Reds, Buckeyes, Browns, Bengals, Crew, Clippers, Cavaliers, etc.

We've got a lot of sports.

Now, why would the above story have the lead on the front page of the sports section?!? It's about FANTASY FREAKIN' BASEBALL. It's a 'what if!'

And it's not like it's been a slow news day. The Indians just lost an outfielder for several months due to injury. Another arrest by an OSU football player just got the NCAA involved in our program. Congress is grilling all the major sports commissioners, and we have a write-up on FANTASY BASEBALL?

I just don't get it.


While Carrie was at the gym, the truck window was busted out and someone stole her purse and laptop.

I can hardly believe it. I mean, I knew that the truck would be a bigger target than either of our cars (no pun intended), but I didn't think it would happen so soon.

Of course, at least part of the onus is on her for leaving her purse and laptop in the truck in the first place. I don't consider myself paranoid, but when I go to the gym and I have my XM receiver with me, I tuck it away where it's less likely to be seen.

Except today, getting out of the car, I left my cellphone inside.

Maybe I should go get it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Meloncholy Baby

Robert Parker is not only one of my favorite authors, he's one of idols, but only with one of his recurring characters, Sunny Randall.Like Parker's most famous PI, Spencer, Randall operates out of Boston MA. Unlike Spencer, she's a woman, and also unlike Spencer, she relies much more on her friends and family.Her ex-husband is finally getting married, even though they never stopped loving each other. Sunny is so upset about this, and she is so confused about the realization that she doesn't understand why she seems unable to live with other people, that she decides to visit a psychiatrist on a regular basis. She also picks up a new case, about a college-age woman who believes she is adopted but whose parents won't admit to it.The main plot--the young woman--moves along briskly with Parker's usual flair for dialogue and quick, sharp characterization. But it's the style of his writing that really pulls the reader along. The plot, while fine, does seem a little looser than his usual efforts.The thing that struck me the most about the book, however, is how open-ended it is. While the mystery of the young girl's parentage is 'solved,' no arrest is made at the end of the book. It's impending, but it hasn't happened yet. And Sunny has an ephiphany about herself and her family that is a milestone, but not the finish line.While 'Melancholy Baby' is a solid story with typically snappy Parker writing, I can't shake the feeling that this story--either elements of it--isn't over yet.


Found this trippy little blog called PostSecret. People send in homemade postcards with a secret they have never told anyone. A lot of them are dopey ("I will always love her," or "She never gave me a chance") or self-indulgent ("I had gay sex at church camp three times" or "There is reason to believe I was a pre-honeymoon baby... and evidence that my mother still has not forgiven me for this"). A handful are starkly beautiful ("I still haven't told my father I have the same disease that killed my mother"). But each of them tells a story.

This one is my favorite:

Imagine having the ability to start your life completely over. Imagine having to do that. Taking the disaster of the 9/11 attacks, and using that to just... disappear.

I don't know who this person is, or what kind of person he/she was before or after the attack, or why they felt the need to runaway during the attack. But I hope they were able to make the most out of their new life.

3-Day Downtown Deer

I work downtown. I have to drive on highways that go directly through downtown every day.

There has been a deer carcass lying by the side of an elevated highway for three days now.

Three days.

I don't know which is more surprising: that a deer would be able to make its way all the way downtown before getting hit, or that it's been this long and the city hasn't cleaned up the carcass yet. I know that Columbus--while it isn't a large city--covers a lot of acreage and is seen as a sprawling city. It's easier to find green in Columbus than it is in a lot of other places. I've even seen deer living in small city parks, and thinking at the time how difficult it would have had to be for the deer to arrive in the parks when they're surrounded by middle-class neighborhoods on all sides, unless the neighborhoods grew up around the parks.

That's the kind of place Columbus is. A lot slower pace than other 'big' cities. More green. Maybe not as clean as some, but easier to get to places that are clean, so you don't necessarily feel trapped.

I just want to know how that friggin' deer got there.

Young Christian

I mentioned on my Prayer Blog that we got some good news about Christian from my mom yesterday. He's doing much better in school since going to a counselor regularly (I don't know if it's a school counselor or a specialist in a private practice). He had been acting up severely, getting violent and bullying the other students. Around December he was in danger of being expelled. Carrie and I were preparing ourselves for the possibility of having Christian taken out of his home and having to make a play for custody.

But that didn't happen, and I'm finding myself a little disappointed by that. I guess I even more for him than I realized, because now I have to let go (at least for the time being) of the idea of taking him under my wing.

The good news is, along with his behavior, is that his grades are sky high. Carrie said that Mom said that 'they' (I don't know who 'they refers to, either the school administration or the counselors or just Erin's warped mind) were talking about having Christian advance directly to the third grade next year, or at least putting him in a third-grade reading group.

Mom said she was very thankful to see that Christian was taking after his uncle more than either of his parents or other relatives. That felt nice.

But I still worry about him. He has so little structure in his life, and so little discipline. I could see him easily losing control of himself and taking the worst parts from both parents.

But it's still nice to see he's doing okay now.

"...And on the Fourth Day, He Cheated."

This morning both Carrie and I woke up a little late. She wanted to go into the gym because the road running was bothering her back. I told her to go ahead, but that I'd better stay on the road.

I got to running, and she passed me in the truck. When the truck was out of sight, I turned around and walked home. I still ran about a mile, give or take 1/10.

I think what I'll recommend for the rest of the month is this:

Monday: Curve
Tuesday: 4-Way
Wednesday: 3.1 miles on treadmill in gym
Thursday: 4-Way
Friday: Curve
Saturday: 20 miles on bike
Sunday: Rest

Then, at the beginning of June, I can ramp it up a little more, so that on Mondays & Fridays I'm running to the 4-way stop, Tuesdays and Thursday I'm running from home to the 4-way and then to Curve, etc.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Marital Fight Simulator

The next time I think I have an opinion. I'm going to remember this:


Saw that at Talk@Newsarama earlier today, right before Carrie and I got into another stupid argument that came down to 'we can't afford it right now.' And, of course, like many times, she does have the better point.

I need a new adaptor for my XM radio to function in her car. I was thinking if we cancelled our current subscription, we could BOGO two new receivers with car kits. That way we could keep the hook-ups in each vehicle and switch them out, and have the other one for inside the house. It turned into some big miscommunication (which tend to happen more when she's cramping--she gets cranky, which makes me cranky, which makes it very difficult for us to communicate effectively).

Again, she was right, and I was able to find the part I needed for $30, so it really became a non-issue. But when we do get into these discussions, I always seem to be the one backing down. I'm not saying she should back down more. If she's right she's right. But sometimes it just seems like she needs a lot more convincing to accept the possibility that she's wrong than I do.

We Pee More Before 8AM Than Most People Do All Day.

Carrie and I only ran a mile today, to Curve and back. But we ran it at a faster pace. She said that I was running much faster than I was yesterday, and I had pretty well outstripped her by the time we got to Curve at the same distance apart we were yesterday.

I drink a lot of water in the morning, and I do a lot of peeing as a result. I peed a total of at least five times this morning by the time I got to work:

  1. When I woke up.
  2. I drank a big glass of water before we took off and had to go again
  3. After the run, before I got in the shower
  4. After the shower
  5. When I stopped to get gas
  6. When I arrived at the office
I'd say I've easily processed a half-gallon at this point. Probably more (and, no, I don't want to prove it).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Noo Shoos

Walking from my parking lot to the office this morning, I walked past a pair of shoes, just sitting there on the sidewalk, side-by-side. They looked like they had been deliberately taken off and set there, and a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup wrapper had been tucked inside the left one.

The shoes weren't new, but they were nice: Rockport walking shoes.

I've been working downtown a couple of years now, and I've seen some things. I've seen random shoes and socks that look like they were tossed out of the window of a moving car. But nothing like this. This looked like performance art. I even had to back up and take a closer look at them this afternoon on the way back to my car, if they're still there.

The Things You Notice When You Don't Drive

So, like I mentioned in the last post, I rode almost 14 miles on the bike last night. It was quiet, and generally, all I could hear was the wind as it rushed past my helmet, my continual panting and the shifting of my gears. But I heard other things as well: the running river, trains in the distance, etc.

You notice things you don't when you're zipping past at 60 MPH in a fully encased machine like a car or truck. Like this morning, on our run, I really noticed the sunrise in the east, the pinks and oranges painting the horizon, clouds dappling in front of the sun. Pastel mists rising from the fields, and barns & farmhouses being outlined and highlighted in shadow. If it weren't for the powerlines in the distance, it would be really beautiful.

Or last night, on my ride, I noticed cars that were for sale in front of their owners' homes. I had a chance to take some good long looks at a couple of quaint country churches as I past them, and thought about what their congregations might be like, or their services. What kind of community outreach might they have, when the world is encroaching on them and passing them by at the same time.

But the thing I remembered most distinctly were the gnats that were swarming on Pollack by the river. The sun hadn't set yet, so I was able to see the little black dots darting around before me them a mere second before I tilted my head down and heard them smack into my helmet.

They sounded like pebbles.

Monday, May 16, 2005

81 Minutes

That's how long I was on the bike this evening. Unfortunately, I don't know how far I rode. I think it was about 14-15 miles, but I thought I was taking a substantial short cut. I'll have to drive it sometime in the next couple of days to make sure and I'll update that here.

Edited Tuesday, May 17, 8:43 AM
So I drove the truck the same route as I rode last night. It clocked in at 13.9 miles. That gives me a rate of 5:49 per mile. That's not bad. And there were a lot of up & downs to begin with. And I had run that morning. That will equal 116 minutes for 20 miles. Not great, but again, not bad.

Last of the Whining

I checked out the results board for the race yesterday.

I finished last because I quit. But I didn't finish last in the first leg. I didn't even finish last in my class. If I had stuck it out and gotten some rest for my legs, I could have actually made some time up.

Oh well. Live and learn. Since Alum Creek is so close to our house, I'm going to run the actual race path a couple of times between now and Jun 19. Sven wants to train with me to if we can get our schedules meshed.

Shin Splints

So this morning at 5:30 we get up, get dressed, and run 2.6 miles, from our house to the four-corner stop and back. Takes about a half-hour. Carrie was able to do it all with a shuffling jog. I had to slow to a walk several times because my shins were frigging killing me. Something about the motion of jogging really hurts my shins. Feels like there are muscles that are being shredded in there. The pain is relieved a bit when I open up my stride a bit more, but I can't keep that longer jog up for very long before I run out of juice and my form is thrown off even more when I go back to a shuffling jog.

Carrie is going to want to keep this routine up for as long as there's daylight at 6AM. I can't find a schedule online, but I expect to have daylight at that hour until at least early September. IF we can keep it up that long, in addition to other workouts (I plan on hitting the bike this afternoon when I get home, for example), we should both be in pretty good condition by this fall.

Carrie's the one with discipline. Once she has something in her head, she doesn't quit. She is either too afraid to, or she just doesn't know how. Once something gets locked up there, it stays there. So, I'm basically locked into running 2.5-3.1 miles everyday from now on.

I'm thinking Carrie should run one of these triathlons with me. I doubt she'd be up for the one next month at Alum Creek, but the one in August at Delaware State Park, that's mostly flat terrain. She should be able to do that.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


In a nutshell, it was okay. Fluffy fun for the femmes. Don't know if I would call it a 'date movie,' because it didn't deal with the romantic relationship between Jennifer Lopez's character and whoever was the lead male in the movie. That relationship was established pretty quickly. The main thrust of the movie is the relationship between Lopez and (duh!) her future Mother-in-Law, played by Jane Fonda, who hasn't been in a theatrical release since 1990.I didn't think the movie wasn't as bad as Roger Ebert thought it was, but it wasn't good, either. It's the kind of film that I'll forget I ever saw in a couple of years, unless I run across this entry (which is kinda the point). On my movie scale, this rates a "Sunday afternoon in syndication."

...and a movie.

Okay, now that I've gotten that over with...

We saw Monster-in-Law last night with the Shindles and Vance, like I mentioned before.

In a nutshell, it was okay. Fluffy fun for the femmes. Don't know if I would call it a 'date movie,' because it didn't deal with the romantic relationship between Jennifer Lopez's character and whoever was the lead male in the movie. That relationship was established pretty quickly. The main thrust of the movie is the relationship between Lopez and (duh!) her future Mother-in-Law, played by Jane Fonda, who hasn't been in a theatrical release since 1990.

The movie wasn't as bad as Roger Ebert thought it was, but it wasn't good, either. It's the kind of film that I'll forget I ever saw in a couple of years, unless I run across this entry (which is kinda the point).

On my movie scale, this rates a "Sunday afternoon in syndication."

One of the Best Songs of all Time:

Burning Love by Elvis Presley.


Right now I'm wearing the T-shirt of a race I couldn't finish. Hell, I couldn't even get started.

It was a beautiful day for racing. About 60F degress , blue sky. Generally upbeat mood (it was kind of hard to tell what the mood was because Carrie and I only got there a few minutes before my age group took off.

We had to get up at 5:30 to get there on time. Carrie drove. I was a nervous wreck. Everything was rush rush rush.

The course itself started on a 2.25 mile professional racetrack in Marion, OH. They're actually having races there this afternoon, in fact.

Beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous. I line up with the others in my age group, and we take off on the first leg of the race, around the pro track. I quickly became the last in my age group, and as other waves of racers passed me, they sometimes shouted encouragement. Women mostly. I don't know if they felt sorry for me or not.

I had to stop and walk at least twice on the track. That was my first cue that I was going to have trouble. No, no that's not true. My first indication that I was in trouble was that I was the only one there who didn't look like he was ready for it. There were a handful of others who may not have been regular triathletes, but they were still in much better shape. But after we took off, and I saw how... unlevel the track was, I started... not panicking, really, but I couldn't breathe, and I just saw all these inclines and declines and everything, and wondering how I was ever going to be able to do this.

So I walked part of the way. The first transition put us back on the track for another lap. I still couldn't catch my breath, and I was still being lapped by the 'age-groupers.'

On the way to the track, Carrie and passed a couple signs on the road saying that the road was being used as part of the bike leg. These were more than just little foothills, some were pretty substantial hills.

By the time I was finishing the race track bike lap, my legs were already killing me, and I still had 25K yet to go on the bike before returning to the track. All on these hills. On the track I hadn't had to get off and push, but if it came to that, I'd be done for anyway. I knew that unless I could catch my breath, I'd never be able to make the leg, much less the final footrace leg.

So I didn't even try. I pulled back into the transition area and pulled the number off my chest, got Carrie and left. The race started at 7:20AM. We had left the track area and were pulling out of the facility by 8:49AM. I was done.

That crumpled up number, 198, is hanging on the wall in front of me as a reminder of what I have to overcome before the Alum Creek race in a month.

Looking back, could I have toughed it out and finished the race? Maybe. I just realized that I pulled out of the race about 8:20 or so, maybe a little later. The track closed to bikes at 8:45. Seems like a lot of time, and it may have been. And I may have not been the last one on the track, but I was darn close. What I would really be racing wouldn't bethe other racers, but the deadline. Let's say it was 8:30. I know that I can do around 15 miles in about an hour, on a flat surface. The bike portion was a little over 19 miles, but didn't close until 11AM. That gave me two and a half hours to get through it. Since I never saw the route, I don't know how I would have done, but If I'd allowed myself a chance to recover, I might have been able to make it through. That would still have allowed an hour for powerwalking the last 5K if I needed to.

Carrie says she's proud of me for going out there and trying. I think she'd probably be more proud of me if I'd finished. It's just logical, and Carrie's all about the logic. She drove me home and told me sweet nothings about how proud she was of me, and she's esseantially taking on the role of coach. Wants to re-do all of our diets and even get out on the road with me every morning.


Just had the conversation. She didn't want me to do another triathlon until I could master the duothlon, because it would mean another discipline when I haven't gotten my arms around running yet. Obviously, running is my weak spot. I was able to make her understand that that's exactly the reason why triathlons are better for me right now: less running. Somehow we talked each other into running together every morning.

Should be interesting, to say the least.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Just got back from dinner and a movie with Carrie and her friends over at Easton. We went to the Cheesecake factory, which is always good food, but so pompous with their policies. They're one of the most popular places in town, but they don't take reservations or 'call ahead' seating. Why? They know that they're a destination for locals, and yet they force people to wait for hours. Lesley organized the evening, and we were planning to eat at 5:30, but because of their policy, Scott and Sarah had to get there at 4:30 to ensure that we were seated by 5:30. There was already an hour wait at 4:30. We left the restaurant at a little after 7pm, and I heard someone waiting outside talking on the phone that there was a three-hour wait at that point! Maybe it's just good business, because it always ensures that there's a crowd of people waiting to get in. I hear that the Cheesecake Factory's based out of Beverly Hills, CA. Maybe that's why they do it.

And it's so loud in there. One of the loudest restaurants I've ever been to. The portions are huge and the waitstaff is mostly efficient. But the trade off is that you can never have a romantic dinner there, because you have to shout everything to the person next to you. I must be getting old, because the volume just ruins the ambiance for me, to the point that I would never choose to go there on the weekend when I know it's going to be bad.


I've been typing this entry while waiting for the dog to come in. I've got a race tomorrow and I have to get up at 5:30 if I want to make it. So, I'm signing off now.

Gotta get my rest, dontcha know.

Snail Count: Day 1

Less than 24 hours after the first snail was spotted, I can easily find five in the tank.

This could get ugly fast.

Sing a Song

One of the great things about my XM Radio is that there are so many stations that you get to hear songs you've never heard or haven't heard in so long that you forgot you knew them in the first place.

I like to listen to it when I'm mowing the lawn on Saturdays. The signal isn't strong enough to make it through the entire 2-acre yard, but I can certainly make it to the barn before the signal cuts out.

This morning I was listening to the XM when I heard Sing a Song by the Carpenters come on. It was originally recorded for Sesame Street in the early seventies, but proved so popular it was released as a single in 1973 (There were a couple of other songs that made that jump: (It's Not Easy) Bein' Green and Rubber Duckie).

The song was one of my favorites growing up. It's simple and beautiful. As I was mowing the lawn, I thought about sharing that song with my children, as a lullaby, and it made me cry. Pulling up the lyrics just now found me a site with an mpeg playing it, and I started crying again.

This is a song I want to share with my kids.

Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life
Don't worry that it's not
Good enough for anyone
Else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Friday, May 13, 2005


I have a snail in my fish tank.

I shouldn't have a snail in my fish tank. I didn't put a snail in my fish tank. I put fish in my fish tank, but I never put a snail in my fish tank.

I just cleaned it out a month ago. I cleaned it out completely. Emptied it out, scrubbed it clean, got new rocks and plants and fish for it, and then re-filled it. I had two fish already. An algae-eater that had grown to giantic proportions due to overfeading and another fish that nobody seems to be able to identify but is probably in the Danio family. When I restocked the tank, I chose to go with easy first, and got a bunch of smaller danios and tetras. Got some freshwater plants because I never had any, and a couple of pieces of driftwood to give it a more natural look than it had.

I never got any snails. I know I didn't because I had thought about it and rejected the idea because I wanted to make sure I could keep the fish alive first.

So how did it get there? I can't imagine it was from the rocks, because they were packaged so tightly they would have crushed the little thing. It really is tiny. The driftwood, possibly, but it would have had to be dormant, because the wood was dry. Certainly not the fish, because there were no snails in any of the breeding tanks. That leaves the plants. Would have been plenty of places to hide in the greenery.

Buy I only see the thing for the first time tonight? I was making another entry, and I look over at the tank, and there it is, crawling across the back glass of the tank. It's been a month, like I said. The only reason I can imagine why I haven't seen it before now is because I accidently buried the thing when I planted the plants. It's probably spent the last couple of weeks digging itself out of the rocks.

Not that I mind. Snails are algae eaters, too. And I've got an algae problem right now, so that's cool.

I've got a snail in my fish tank.

Helluva thing.

It's been basically a good day.

Work was productive, but not so productive that I couldn't slack. I got a lot done. While I wasn't able to finish a full 2.5 miles, like I'll need for Sunday, I do think I came close to two miles. Which isn't bad. Rain prevented us from mowing the lawn at all tonight, so we stayed inside for the rest of the night and watched Garden State.

It wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Maybe I'm getting old, but it seems like any kind of drug reference in a movie turns me off anymore. This guy who is a struggling actor in Hollywood gets a call from his dad telling him that his mom has died and he has to come home for the funeral. He hasn't been home or spoken to his dad or any of his friends in nine years. While he's finally starting to grow up, his friends have given themselves over to hedonism, but they're not enjoying it. It's just a lifestyle. There's a lot of uncomfortable silences between Large (Zack Branff) and his friends. The movie wasn't glorifying drug use at all, but it was depressing to see what kind of losers his friends had become. One worked as a gravedigger, but he stripped the corpses of jewelry after the funeral, before he buried them. Another was wealthy beyond his comprehension, but he was so bored that the only thing that he could think to do was get stoned constantly.

When you choose to party as a lifestyle, it becomes a job like anything else, and ceases to be fun.

Maybe it bothered me because it reminded me too much of my brother, who has chosen that lifestyle, and is also bored and unfulfilled, but doesn't know what else to do but to live for himself. Doesn't even know how to treat his own children, he's so hooked into his own world.

That's sad. I don't want to talk about that anymore.


Sunday I have a race. A duothlon. 4K-30K-4K. I still can't do the 4K foot race, much less two. But I'm committed.

It's in Mansfield Ohio at 7:30 in the morning, and I have until 12:30 to finish. I think I can do that, but there's only one way to find out. Am I nervous? Yeah. But I made a promise to myself, and to my friends who promised to keep me accountable to race with me later in the year.

Right now, I just wish I was on the other side of the finish tape.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Story Idea: "The Mascot"

Professional athletes are a cowardly, superstitious lot. Football players won't change their jocks because they think it brings them luck. Baseball pitchers have to touch the pitcher's mound with their left toe first before stepping all the way up.

Fans are absorbed by this, too. The rituals and routines observed by players are equally as important to fans, who have their 'lucky hats,' or a fan who buys an extra season ticket for his drum in the bleachers.

What if each professional sports team has one individual, one person who can affect the outcome of the game just by their presence in the stadium or arena. One person who, just by being there, will bring luck to the local team and curse whomever they're playing.

But what if that person hated the home team with a passion? What if the Yankees mascot was an Indians fan? Or the man who could bless the Dallas Cowboys was a 49ers fan?


This just in: How about this--what if every sports team not only had a team pastor but a team shaman as well? What if their team mascot was also a totem shaman of some sort, and all these shamans were constantly battling each other to affect the outcomes of games? The owners would know, the players might know, but the fans wouldn't realize that the real power behind the teams was really magical, and all the rituals they did really did affect the teams karma or chi? How cool would that be?

Bad News Redux

Noticed my last post before the previous one, "Good News, Bad News." Just as an update, I never did hear back from that agency. So, goodbye, agency. I've isolated about eight more that I will query in the next week, and then, I give up on finding an agent for 'Unlicensed Magic' and concentrate on the next manuscript instead.


I get on certain Kicks when it comes to things like writing. I do it regularly, every day, super disciplined, for months at a time. Then WHAMMO I can't look at it for an equal amount of time. Sometimes longer.

Always seems to happen. This time was incited when I had my gum operation back in March and was out to lunch for three days, and caught a nasty cold and was out for a few more. About a week in total I was totally miserable and didn't do a thing I didn't have to. Stayed in bed whenever possible. Didn't write, didn't read my Bible, didn't do much of anything.

But once I began to feel better, I still didn't do anything. And that's the problem. I can be going really good, and then droop it completely for months, and then dread going back to it at all. When I had that operation, I broke all of my New Year's Resolutions at once:

Fiction Writing
Agent/Market Research
Bible Reading
Bible Memorization (almost forgot that one)

With the help (read "arm-twisting") of my wife, I've gotten back into the agent research, which is encouraging me to write, a little. I've got a duothlon on Sunday that's kicking my butt into gear with exercise (That's 4k-18k-4k or approximately 2.5m-15m-1.5m).

But the rest of it is up to me. I spend a lot of my free time at work at the Talk@newsarama boards, but that's no excuse for not journaling more often.

I like journaling. I enjoy journaling. I need journaling, because when I don't, I don't have any space to vent, then I get really cranky and defensive with the wife. I need to write just as an escape.

And yet... when I step away from it for just a few days, it seems almost impossible to get back into it.

Bible reading is easy. Regular prayer is not. It's almost impossible for me, but I've got to stop making it so difficult for myself by putting pressure on myself, and just get back into the habit.