Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Day 1 of a new Project 365: “Antique”

via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151817249676867&set=a.10151817249656867.1073741837.590411866&type=1

Gasping, Stumbling: Day 4

Another missed day. The plan was to run Friday and finish week 2 on Sunday, then start week 3 on Tuesday and get back on my Tue/Thu/Sat schedule. But I was foolish to think I could get out and run on the same day we were to meet my sister for breakfast, pack, and check out of the hotel by 11AM. Even moving our checkout to noon, we barely made it out on time.

So, Day 2 of Week 2 happened this morning. So, about this morning. First, we got home around 9PM last night after a lot of driving and, thanks to caffeine, while exhausted, I couldn’t sleep until late. So I woke up late. This means I missed the cooler weather. And not only is it warmer than I prefer, it’s also incredibly humid out there. But I pushed through and did it. 

I am coming to realize that running is less about the physical activity itself and more about the mental. Pain and shortness of breath are par for the course. It takes tenacity, stubborness, and no small amount of self-pride (a close cousin of self-shaming but far more positive and effective) to push through it. Where I would have stopped in the past to catch my breath or rub my leg, I push through. I think about how good it will feel to know I completed another day. I think about how much more healthy I am getting by doing this and what that means for my life as I get older (and after spending a few days visiting my mother who just had knee-replacement surgery, I am even more sensitive to the issues of aging). And I think about what kind of model I am setting for my son. 

So, it sucked today and I am sweating buckets (and that means I can’t get into the shower until I stop or I will just keep on sweating even afterwards which is, frankly, nasty) but I also feel fantastic that I did it. And that’s what I have to hold on to moving forward.

Running, Day 3 (Week 2, Day 1)

As part of this reboot, I skipped 1 day of Week 1 so now my count is a bit off. Alas, such is the way of things.

I intended to run Monday morning after only 1 day off between weeks 1 and 2 but I got a slow start to my day and by the time it was moving in earnest, I was busy with work and preparations for a small trip to visit family in New York and celebrate my wife’s birthday.

I intended to run Tuesday morning before we drove west but it was raining and we had a lot of last minute stuff to finish before we left (and we left really late anyway).

So, Wednesday morning, I ran along Route 28 in Mount Tremper in the heart of the Catstkills. It didn’t seem that hot and humid when I started and maybe I went at just the wrong time (around 10AM) when it was rapidly heating up, but by the time I was ending the walk, it felt oppressively hot and humid. Running along a busy highway is also somewhat unnerving but the margins on the side of the road were large and there was mostly mowed grass/wildflowers on the sides that gave me softer terrain when I needed it or wanted to get further away from traffic.

The second week expands the jogging sessions to 90 seconds and, just like the last time I did this a few weeks ago, this first day was painful. I found myself barking, “Come on!” to myself to keep going. I set milestones (I’ll go to that stretch of fence”, “that bridge”, “one more grasshopper”) That last was referring to the many grasshoppers (or grasshopper like bugs) on the margins of the road that all jumped/flew as I approached them.

When I was halfway through, I had two thoughts. The first was that I felt especially stiff and things were hurting that had not hurt before. The second, that followed the first one quickly, was that I forgot to stretch out before my run. So, I paused my run and did a few quick stretches and I made sure to do extra stretching when I was finished. 

On the plus side, the rest of the day, featuring lots of walking, was not painful at all. My legs felt great and, more importantly, feel great today.

Running: Day… 2? Sigh

It’s a bit depressing to be back at the beginning. On the other hand, today’s run was far better than the one two days ago. I was really worried at how hard it was on Thursday but today’s felt great and I feel confident that starting Week 2 on Monday after only doing two days of Week 1 in this reboot will work just fine.

The only item of concern is that when I was done with the running/walking portion and was doing the cool down walk home, I took a long stride while walking up a small hill from the bike path up into the parking lot of the ice cream place and my left knee almost went out from under me. It’s not hurting me now but I can feel it being all twingy there. We’ll see what shape I am in tomorrow…

Running: Reboot or Bust A Move

Two weeks. I would have been on the dreaded week 5 with the 20 minute non-stop jog. But that damn kidney stone put me on the DL and I’m only now able to get back out and into it again.

I had the stone zapped on Tuesday. A thoroughly exciting process that I have no memory of thanks to the lovely drugs they gave me. But the stone is gone now and after giving myself 24 or so hours to recover from the procedure and to come down from two weeks of pain and Percocet, I am ready to begin again.

I debated from where to resume the C25K program. I finally decided, in part based on advice from someone on MyFitnessPal.com, to return to the beginning. As they put it, I need to build the infrastructure for the later weeks and after two weeks, I have pretty much lost it. I agree. I decided, since it’s Thursday and I still want to keep this on a roughly Tue/Thu/Sat plan, to start with Week 1 Day 2. I figured if I get to Day 3 and find that I’m struggling, I can always do the third day of Week 1 and then move on. Otherwise, I can move on after 2 days or even skip ahead.

Well, I won’t be skipping ahead. It was a slog today. Sure, I went out for a run/walk a week ago but, other than that, it’s been two sedentary weeks. So, while I didn’t have any pain, I did have a lack of puff, as my father-in-law would say.

But I made it. Now my legs are stiff… but I’ll live…

Interview in Social Media Week

I was interviewed for Social Media Week on the topic of Children and Social Media. While I do think about this topic a great deal (as is evidenced by how much I’ve written and spoken on the subject), I am turning my attention to how I, as an adult, communicate with my Facebook friends who are under 18 year of age (yes, an article is being written). It’s an interesting topic mainly because I am still figuring it all out for myself. If anyone has any insights from their own experiences, I’d love to hear them.

Imagine

John Lennon

Imagine was the first song I ever played for Jack. I have a video of it around here somewhere. I just plopped him on the rug on his back (he still couldn’t roll over yet) and put the song on and then just filmed him listening to the entire thing. I wish I could say he showed interest. But at 2 months or so, he did what he always did: look around, move his arms and legs, and, well, just sit there. But it was a moment I still cherish because it was the first song I played for him in full. We always had music on but it was background to what was happening. This was the first time I’d just turned on the stereo and had him listen to something with no other distractions.

I was at a rehearsal for A Christmas Carol (I was Bob Cratchitt) at The Loft in Bronxville and everyone was depressed and upset. I found out that someone named John Lennon had been killed but I was 12 and didn’t know who he was until someone told me he was that guy from the Beatles. Over the next few days I read every article I could find in the newspaper and Time and Newsweek magazines and grew incredibly sad. Sad for his death and sad that I wasn’t aware of him independent of the Beatles until it was too late. Not long after, I had to make a diorama for a school art project and I made a montage of mourners in Central Park clipped from those magazines.

I went on a John Lennon and Beatles binge and listened to everything and learned what I could about the man. The song Imagine became something personal for me. Not a theme song per se, but just something that was, at its simplest, an expression of my feelings towards the world.

It’s 30 years later and his death still stings when I think about it. I have always been sad on this date and probably always will be. John would have been 70 today. I can only imagine the music he would have made in the last three decades.

Are Atheists Smarter about Religion?

By now, everyone has heard of the recent religion survey. It contains 32 questions and the results, with a sample size of about 3,400, found that Atheists and Agnostics fared better than religious people did, a fact that many Atheists and Agnostics are crowing over and many religious folks are upset about. If you dig deeper into the data, however, you find that the biggest predictor of performance on this survey is education level. I would argue (with no data to back me up so this is just my opinion) that Atheists and Agnostics tend to be more highly educated than the general population. Now, before people get all mad at me let me be perfectly clear: I am not saying that religious people are not educated. I am not saying that being an Atheist makes you smart. I am being far more nuanced than that.

First, I would argue that people with less education don’t think about these issues anywhere near as much as highly educated people do. Maybe it’s a time thing, maybe it’s simply the fact that less educated people aren’t into the whole what-makes-the-world-tick type of thinking.

Second, Adding weight to the educated vs. uneducated dichotomy, much of the survey is about knowledge of history, world demographics, current events, cultural literacy, and such. More educated people are going to do better on surveys that cover those areas than less educated people.

Third, I would argue that the kind of person who stands up and says that they are an Atheist is someone who is not afraid of the controversy such a statement causes. They have thought about this a lot, they have spent a lot of time arguing and debating with their friends and others, and they have researched their position because they expect to get called on it. By virtue of that, they too also have a greater depth of knowledge.

Fourth, and finally, If you look at education levels across the ways people self-identify, because the people who self-identify as Atheist or Agnostic tend to be more on the educated side, it skews their results. People who identify themselves as, say, Catholic, or Methodist, or Buddhist, or Muslim will run the gamut from highly educated people who highly un-educated people and thus even the spread. 50% of Catholics did well on the survey? Then you are seeing the result of a statistical averaging of the highly educated who did very well mixed with the uneducated who did not do well. But a higher percentage of Atheists did well? You are seeing the fact that that demographic comes from the more educated sector of society with fewer uneducated folks to skew the results downwards.

In short, self-identified Atheists are not smarter about religion than the religious. Because they skew towards the more educated and education is the biggest predictor of performance, they fall on the higher end of the spectrum.

To be perfectly clear (so as to not offend anyone) I know incredibly intelligent people who believe in God in some form or other. These are people I respect and people I enjoy discussing religion with. So I am not saying Atheists are smarter than non-Atheists. If you think I am, then I wrote this badly or you misinterpreted my words above.

Cognitive Surplus

This evening, I’ve been grooving on my friend Owen Gottlieb’s wonderful blog, Mystical Creative. He and I talked on the phone this evening in a conversation spanning game design, e-learning, and, of course, the Jerky Boys (it’s a college thing). Among the wonderful stuff he has there, I especially liked this TED talk by Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus.

Reading in a Whole New Way

Kevin Kelly, an author I’ve long enjoyed reading (see Out of Control, a book that had a profound impact on my thinking about technology back in the mid-90’s) has written an interesting piece on the future of reading for Smithsonian’s 40th anniversary issue titled Reading in a Whole New Way. He makes a lot of very interesting and, I think, prescient points. He talks about the ubiquity of screens and that they will soon be watching us in turn. He says that reading will become a much more physical activity much like Tom Cruise’s character in Minority Report. These days, I read more and more on my iPhone using the Amazon Kindle app, iBooks, GoodReader, Stanza, and the Borders eBooks App. I have been having fun locating free books in pdf or epub format and getting them onto my iPhone to read. I am, for all intents and purposes, an advocate for eReaders. That said, I do not believe that the physical book is going to go away anytime soon. There is something about the feel and smell of a real book, the permanence of the physical object, and the simple fact that there are just some places you can’t or at least don’t want to bring a book (the beach comes to mind). As this next generation grows up into the digital world we inhabit and as their kids grows up, this will certainly shift more and more to screens from paper but I don’t think we’ll see the paper book go away. Not within my lifetime anyway. Perhaps when the technology is advanced enough, we’ll see objects that look and feel just like real books (pages and all) but that display digital content beautifully. Whatever your thoughts, Kelly’s article is a great read (especially online, using the new “Reader” capability of the latest Safari.) (Found via The Technium)