January Psalm

God; I thank you for the air in my lungs and the road at my
The sweat on my head, the sore in my legs is a treat.
When stress gets to me
I feel the need to flee
When I feel antsy
Your blue skies I see.

Gracious Father, You rule the calls and e-mail
Help me stick to Budgets without fail
Your grace is upon my PowerPoints
When my code won’t compile,
As my belly fills with bile
Your peace my mind anoints

God, as you are a father to me, I try to be
a strong dad to my boys.
In Strength and in love, like my Father above
My kids add to my joys.

Links 20090127

an experimental Humvee, equipped with a laser. The real-life ray gun then took aim at the drone, and began blasting. Soon, the drone had a hole burnt through it — and was crashing down to the desert. [From Laser 1, Drone 0 in Boeing Test]

An old glass jar inside a beaten up old safe at the bottom of a waste pit may seem an unlikely place to find a pivotal piece of 20th century history. But that’s just where the first bulk batch of weapons-grade plutonium ever made has been found – abandoned at the world’s oldest nuclear processing site [From Earliest weapons-grade plutonium found in US dump

Pie is good

want to learn about pie or killing stuff? - Pie is good.

For what it’s worth, I did break down and actually bought a hunting license this year, got both my federal and state duck stamps, and spent exactly NO days waist deep in freezing water. My belly wishes I had; the fact that I haven’t yet had the flu makes me think it’s a smart decision. Didn’t help I was gone most of November.

Training for Mooseman is going well. I spent a little bit of my discretionary income on an Apple TV and Cheap Monitor instead of beer and wings for the basement. Now, I’ve got the whole of the internet on video staring me in the face while I ride. So, it’s not much different from sitting on the couch, other than the sweating and the wondering if I ought to spend more time in the drops.

Running is good – Honestly, I head out and just keep wanting to go. I’ve been running with some fast guys from church on the weekends. They kill me, but go easy for their long runs – I suppose it will make me a better man in the long run.

I also cannot say enough about the swim class at the Y. I’ve got the same instructor, Jen, that my younger kid has for swimming, and she rocks. She’s not a triathlete – came to teach swimming, and it’s absolutely great to get feedback on the actual right way to do things. I am actually beginning to feel somewhat comfortable in the water, which is more than worth the price of admission.

let’s see: We wrote psalms in Sunday school this week – I managed to rhyme “PowerPoint” with “Anoint”, causing David to start spinning in his grave.

So, that’s about it. I suppose next month’s discretionary income will go towards bike parts. But that’ll mean that I might be on the road and not on the stupid trainer.

Before we go, I’d like to leave you with a half hour on the scientific method. Honestly, I think this is exceptionally important – the intellectual discipline that brought us into the Enlightenment and out of the Dark Ages needs to be celebrated. This is why I love my job, and why I relish even a tiny chance to be a research engineer. There’s a tiny bit of profanity, but not so much.

Morning in America

Yep, I’m ripping off Reagan. Somehow, I don’t think he’d mind much.

Tomorrow (it’s not yet midnight, here) will be one of most significant days in the history of the United States. And I, to my own amazement, have had no idea of the relief my heart would feel. [From I DISCOVERED SCIENCE FICTION MAGAZINES IN THIS GREYHOUND STATION]

I am aghast at the deep-seated legacy of segregation in the United States. Astounded that it could be tolerated for so long; curious as to how children of the ’70s could end up little effected by something so ingrained in the national culture just 10 years before our birth; and buoyant for my own children’s future where there are even fewer barriers to success in these United States.

The first president that my four-year-old son will remember will be a black man, son of an immigrant.

10 miles in the snow

Drill in Newport again, and another storm decides to roll through in the evening. So, rather than spending Saturday evening at the house (or, more to the point Sunday morning digging out and driving on crappy roads), I holed up at the Q in Newport. Work kept me busy until about 5:30, when I strapped on the sneakers, bundled up, and headed out into the first flakes of the evening’s snow.

Really and truly, I didn’t want to go run. Pretty easily I could have justified gaffing off the run, ordering up some wings and breadsticks and watching “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” on Comedy Central. Man, was it cold, and I was tired, and wah, wah, wah.

I finally talked myself into going three miles. That was going to be it – just a quick out and back to at least put something into the legs. So, I started, and then something just clicked.

Sure, it was cold, and I was tired, but something just felt great. The snow falling was beautiful, the evening was beautiful, and there was just something about the run that felt RIGHT.

So, I kept going – through downtown, across to First Beach, and down the Cliff Walk. Cut across the peninsula, back through downtown, and did another lap until the Forerunner hit 10 miles. Life was good.

Tonite – Jack was back. Spent an hour on the trainer watching 24:Redemption and spinning. I may not love the wind trainer, but it’s what I’ve got, and my legs need the miles.

Tomorrow’s swimming. Cannot wait.

Depressing Economic thought for today

you cannot permanently pit an absurd human convention, such as the spontaneous increment of debt [compound interest] against the natural law of the spontaneous decrement of wealth [entropy]”. The population of “negative pigs” (debt) can grow without limit since it is merely a number; the population of “positive pigs” (real wealth) faces severe physical constraints [From The Biggest Ponzi Scheme of Them All – O’Reilly Radar]

At least I’m not in the slow lane

First a little cabin fever joke:

Cow and Boy

Tonight was the first night of swim class at the Y. “Assessment”, they called it. Predictably, almost the entire class was late 30- and 40-something guys, with the exception of one really fit guy probably in his 60s. We did a number of drills, and to my amazement, I was consistently catching up to the folks in front of me, until we’d sorted out speeds for circle swim.

The first night’s class wasn’t so draining. The instructor said that starting on Wednesday, we’d divide into two groups. One group would just be given a warmup, workout, and swimdown, and the other would get a little bit more care and feeding. So, we’ll see if I’m still feeling good this time Wednesday night.

Worst case, this is a guarantee that I’ll actually get out and swim for the next 6 to 8 weeks, as there’s a sunk cost for the course. One of the guys is probably going to move up to Masters’ swim, but I’m nowhere near there. So, I think it’ll be good. A chance for me to learn how to do an actual swim workout.

On the way out, let’s close with a little question that’s bugged me a bit, too:

Frazz: Why do good sunglasses cost ten times what good swim goggles do?

2008 Summary

David asked me to review my 2008 resolutions and see how I did. Here goes:

  1. I’d said I’d run 700 miles for the year, and as near as I can figure it, I made it. Nike+ lists 680 miles of runs logged there, and I’m more than a little bit sure that I did 20-odd without my iPod here and there. As a matter of fact, I’m completely sure I did more than 20 miles in December, and Nike+ lists nothing there.
  2. Races:
    • OKC – Bout of plantar facists (yes, I know that’s not how it’s spelled) in January and February made this into a half as a goal and not a whole marathon. But, I did succeed in “crushing” it (“Crushing” defined as under two hours.)
    • Fall Marathon – I did make the NYC lottery, but did San Antonio instead. Didn’t “crush” that one (marathon “crush” defined as under 4 hours), but did knock out a pretty sizeable PR, and finished it with my motivation intact.
    • New Haven 20K – This was a really, really tough race for me this year due to blisters, but I finished the race, and placed somewhere in between my historical times.
  3. That was pretty much it.

So, I’d set the bar pretty low last year, and seem to have cleared it. What was I thinking talking smack this year?