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Every time the new school year starts there’s a surge of traffic for my posts on short stories.

Finally, have asides working on my blog. Spent a bit of time last night on it. PHP, you’re a messy beast.

End of the Semester and Vacation

It’s the time of year when students rush to finish projects, people battle colds and long lines in stores, and travel plans float out in the not so distant future.  That sentence also describes my past few weeks.  The semester is wrapping up and I missed my last fiction workshop due to illness.  Adding to the list, I missed my interview for graduate school, a fiction reading, and some work.  What I really missed though was time.  Tuesday at 6 a.m. I fly back to Traverse City for vacation.  There were a ton of things I meant to do, but they didn’t happen.  Things I did manage to accomplish, in order from large to small, are: buy a car, learn how to poach an egg, buy some Christmas presents online, edit some work, eat ice cream sandwiches, and drink ginger ale.  I’m most proud of poaching an egg.

Ever Since I’ve Known You, You’ve Been Reading Infinite Jest

What is there to say?  I’ve managed to plow through the last of Infinite Jest and am relieved.  Relieved because now I can start reading other books and at a faster rate.  What is there to write about a 1,000 page monster of a novel?  Obviously, there’s a lot one can say.  For me, right now I feel like maybe there’s too much.  Where do you start?

I don’t want to be a spoiler for my friend who’s still reading it, so I won’t give anything away.  But, what I’m really curious about is the ending of the novel.  What happens?  What are other people’s take on it?  How does it relate to Hal in the beginning?  So, I’ll poke around and see what other people have written about it, but if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear your ideas.

MS150 Completed

One hundred fifty miles on a bike seems like a long way to go. Looking at a map, I guess it is pretty far, the equivalent of biking from Lebanon to Columbia.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=lebanon,+Illinois&daddr=Columbia,+MO&hl=en&mra=ls&sll=38.567495,-89.888763&sspn=0.733358,1.234589&ie=UTF8&ll=38.771865,-91.074915&spn=0.39525,2.51933&output=embed
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The first day, I didn’t really know what to expect, and I didn’t do a good job of keeping track of my pace. I met up with the rest of the people on the Local Harvest Team or as I thought about us, Team Carrot, in the morning. We stayed together through the first rest stop, but then through large crowds of people I pushed hard up a hill. That initial burst got me going at a new pace, and I drifted between trains of riders. The weather was gorgeous. Sunny, 60’s and then 70’s. Not too windy. By the end of the first day, fatigue had set in some. I just wanted to be through with the ride.

The second day was much better. I’d slept more and ate better than the previous couple of days, so it seemed like I had more energy. Also, I knew I could do it for sure now since I completed the first day. Due to crazy travel plans (I had to fly out to Santa Barbara that night) I started the ride without Team Carrot at 7:00 a.m. The sun rose over fields of corn, and trees rising in clumps among the low hills. It was peaceful and relaxed. This time I only stopped twice. Once for lunch at 9:30 and then a quick break twenty miles later. I finished the ride at 11:40 a.m. and had a pace of over 17 mph. Initially, it hurt to get back on the bike, but my legs loosened up and I was rolling. The only thing that was strange were the moments of extreme isolation. There’d be miles where I saw no one. Just the road beneath my tires, listening to the thrum of the rubber over concrete. Birds dotted wires like weary observers having better things to do. The horizon stretched out. Sometimes it felt claustrophobic as walls of corn pushed close to the road and the sun rose higher. Thoughts devolved into thinking of cadence, of keeping my legs moving. Then as if being disturbed from a revery, a group of cyclists would power by me. Sometimes I would push and ride with them for a bit, but then fall off, alone. The last stretch was full of hills. They flowed down and I sat tucked tight on the bike, flying across the surface, when they pushed back up, I’d try to power my way on, keeping the gears where they were to get maximum distance.

The finish felt great. It was still early in the day, not yet noon. I packed up my bike, folded up the tent, and stowed the rest of the gear. A few hours later I was on board a flight bound for L.A. I’ll do it again next year, and I think you should too.

Ride Tomorrow

I’m sitting in a camp chair at the Boone County Fairgrounds, just outside Columbia, Missouri. The noise of cars sound in the distance, a mechanical drone next to the whir of crickets tucked among the high grass. It’s the kind of weather where you think, maybe I should put on a sweatshirt as the breeze flows over your skin. I’ve put one on. Also, among these noises are the sounds of people laughing and talking as they sit outside their tents, feet propped on a cooler, beer in hand. They’re happy sounds, content sounds, the ride is tomorrow so for now it’s all energy. After so many months in the city, it feels good to be out.

I’m not nervous about the ride anymore. There were some days when I wondered how it’d all play out. Now though, I’m here. There doesn’t need to be anything else. I look forward, somewhat guiltily, to hitting that point where I have no real thoughts. No worries for those I love, nor doubts about the future, only a physical demand to pedal, to go on. Pedal. That’s all there will be tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. Just riding, feeling the wind blow across my arms and face. The sun absorbing into my skin. The burn of muscles as they contract, push, pull, and repeat. Life will catch up later. This is just a brief respite. Soon enough, I’ll be back at a computer like the rest of you, inside, working or just wondering why your not out here, feeling the rush of a downhill ride and the patience for the next ascent.

Good night.

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Conditioning Improvements

As some of you may know I’ve been going to this boxing conditioning gym for the past two months. It’s been great! Today, I passed to the second level of workouts and thought I’d share the results. We do three sets of each activity, hit the heavy bag in between different exercises and take thirty second rests after each boxing round.

May 20, 2009

Half mile run: 3:47
Standing chest press: 10 lbs – 32, 22, 26
Sit ups: 36, 16, 12
Squats: 31, 37, 44
Pull downs: 31, 35, 23
Tricep push downs: 34, 23, 27
Bridges: 22, 34, 52
Chin up pull down: 41, 30, 39
DB shoulder press: 8 lbs – 40, 14, 8

August 19, 2009

Half mile run: 3:27
Standing chest press: 8 lbs – 52, 42, 44
Sit ups: 40, 40, 40
Squats: 62, 57, 58
Pull downs: 56, 55, 54
Tricep push downs: 47, 43, 43
Bridges: 77, 79, 98
Chin up pull down: 59, 58, 56
DB shoulder press: 8 lbs – 50, 43, 44

To pass to level 2 I had to get 40 reps for each set. 🙂

— Mobile Post