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Monthly Archives: August 2008

Playing D&D and Respecting Patriots are not Mutually Exclusive

The McCain campaign put out a nonsense ad hominem attack against those who questioned part of his recollection of certain events during the Vietnam War. From the post:

It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman’s memory of war from the comfort of mom’s basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others.

What’s interesting to me here is that this type of attack seems unique to the right, against the left. Or maybe it’s that the attack is sort of anachronistic? I’m not quite sure. In any case, I can’t imagine such a comment coming out in response to the Swift Boat Vets group that smeared John Kerry’s version of the Vietnam war. Sure, they were ridiculed and denounced, but somehow I doubt anyone called them out for playing RPGs. As one commenter on the BoingBoing article that covered this story points out, “this feels almost like a jock running for class president in high school.”

Thanks to Sniperbunny for pointing me to this follow up story at BoingBoing.

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Posted by on August 20, 2008 in Entertainment

 

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Trial of Miles

Let us therefore agree that the idea of eternal return implies a perspective from which things appear other than as we know them: they appear without the mitigating circumstance of their transitory nature. This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I was being lazy, and maybe rushing at the same time, which isn’t a good idea because lazy and hurried are sort of contradictory efforts. And in my hurried lazy state, I decided to climb over a 7 foot tall chain-link fence to more quickly make my way to the IC track for my Saturday workout. My plan had been to do a simple tune-up for the upcoming track meet. Nothing too complicated, just 4 x 400m at goal mile pace with 400m rest.

Somewhere between vaulting my legs over the top of the fence and finishing the quick descent to the ground, I thought “maybe that wasn’t such a good idea… maybe I should have just walked the extra 200 meters and gone through the gate.” But it was really too late to make any practical changes, and I did my best to make a graceful Terminator-style landing.

Of course, I injured myself, but not in the way I would expect. Something strained in my groin/perineum as soon as I hit the ground, and whatever got pulled referred pain to everywhere in the vicinity. It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t walk for a couple minutes. The pain conjured images of brutally torn suspensory ligaments and strangulating hernias. After five minutes I could jog and walk again, and being the stubborn guy I am I decided to work out through the pain.

The plan called for 4x400m at 75 seconds each, and I (barely) pulled it off. Running 4 of those consecutively with no rest seemed a lot less feasible after the workout, but it’s good to know where you stand even when you end up standing somewhere different than you hoped. My 5-minute-mile days were a long time ago anyways.

So I was really, really surprised when I pulled off a 5:02 mile at the track meet last night. There was a part of me that was kicking myself for not pushing just 3 seconds more out of the last lap (I think the last one was actually my slowest). But I’ve only run one sub-5-minute mile in my life, and the fact that I’m even coming close again is really a wonderfully happy thing (I almost want to call it a blessing). Add to all this that various parts of my body were still slightly sore and swollen from that ill-advised fence-jumping, and my race becomes a promise of future improvement as well as a smashing success.

So track season is over, and now I look forward to cross country. I feel like I’m coming into a new phase of my running life, where some PR times may actually be possible for the first time in 10 years. And if not, that’s fine too. Running is a fantastic example of eternal return within a single life. You get so many opportunities to experience that high, and even the lows are productive. I’m running for life and it feels good.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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Swim, Bike, Run

I’ve been telling people that Sunday I did my first triathlon, but that’s sort of misleading, because I was actually on a triathlon relay team, so as Tony points out, what I did was more of an athlon than anything else.  The Cayuga Lake Triathlon was very cool.  Lots of people, lots of freebies, and well-organized.  I ran the running (anchor) leg on Team Minty Fresh Mice, and despite being inexperienced as a team, our individual performances were good enough to land us first place in the co-ed relays.

 

When I got my body-markings (a first, for me), the volunteer with the marker saw that I was on a relay team, glanced at my arms, and said “not the swimmer, huh?”.

One exciting part of all this is that this Sunday was the triathlon-sprint national championship race, so after winning we made the jump from “we won the relay”, to “we won the relay at the national championships”, and finally to “we are national champions”.  Again, this is a bit misleading, because triathlons are not actually team races, so the elite competitors were not in the relay division.  Still, we were very happy with the performance despite a few mishaps that I am still kicking myself over.

For example, I was trying to keep a vigilant watch for Eric, our cyclist, while waiting for his leg to end in the transition area.  Sadly, when he finally arrived I had taken up a conversation with a nearby runner who was also in the relay.  So I didn’t actually notice when Eric biked up behind me and started trying to get me to help him make the chip-transfer.  I guess Eric was too exhausted to say anything too loud so he just gave up and transferred the velcro anklet to me himself.  When I realized that Eric was grabbing my leg I jumped and helped him finish the job and then I was off, but I felt awful for wasting those precious seconds and for ignoring my exhausted teammate.  Later, at the end of the race I passed a runner who passed me back in the final few meters of the course, and I couldn’t help but wonder how things may have been different if I had been paying attention in the transition.

Overall an awesome day, including an 18:58 5K.  I would definetely do an athlon again.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2008 in No Easy Days

 

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