On Pooping. And Snakes.

The following information may be considered… oversharing. Should I ever run for political office, I’m sure this will be used as part of a vicious smear campaign. That being said, I find it interesting that something we’ve managed to do for thousands of years has become so complicated. That something is pooping. Specifically, pooping in the woods. The modern outhouse and toilet paper (or “bathroom tissue” as it’s known so as not to offend anyone) is a relatively modern invention. In a short span of time, modern society has become horrified at the idea of dropping trou in the outdoors and letting ‘er rip. I know people that when confronted this situation will become instant poop camels and hold it in for the better part of a week to avoid exposing one’s buttocks to the breeze.

This is not me. My intestines run like the German train system. Orderly, on-time, and on a precise schedule. It’s all good unless that schedule is interrupted. If the trains get backed up, anarchy and chaos soon follow. The unhappy commuters rapidly begin to send more and more urgent messages that the trains need to get back on schedule ASAP. Trust me, we like to keep the trains running on time.

Which brings me to the woods. I’m not one of those folks opposed to pooping in the kiltwoods. It can be downright peaceful at times. There are of course the positional challenges. Leaning against a tree, lean back holding on to a tree, sitting over a log, or the traditional squat and hope your aim avoids the trousers bunched up around the ankles. There are times the Scottish kilt in the backcountry has its advantages. As fascinating as all this may be, it is not my point. My point is snakes.

If you know me, you’d know that I have an unnatural fear and adversarial relationship with snakes. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was a librarian, but unfortunately I like the outdoors. Snakes have a tendency to live in the outdoors. This is an issue. Which brings me to my latest encounter. I recently got back from a long river trip to a remote area that, coincidently, is infested with rattlesnakes. Even though snake fears kept me from getting out of the boat unless absolutely necessary, I was having a great time until midway through the trip. After unloading all the gear and getting camp ready, I sat down in my chair to enjoy an adult beverage when I heard something in the grass. A large snake slithered by, not six inches from my foot. My river mates commented that I have an impressive vertical leap for someone my age. A little girl scream may or may not have been uttered, but that detail will stay on the river.

Which brings me back to my original point. As I sat in my tent that night, refusing to come out for dinner, it dawned on me that if I wanted to keep the trains on schedule I was going to have to wander through the snake infested grass and rocks first thing in the morning. absFaced with two undesirable choices, keeping the trains on schedule or being chased by snakes, there was little sleep that night. I made the only choice a rational person would make – I went into camel mode. No coffee, no breakfast, little water. Thank god I’ve been diligent with the ab machine. The cramping became bearable after a while. Major fist-bump to the ladies if this is what the monthly visitor is like.

The fatal mistake came on the second evening of operation anhalten der Deutsche Bahn. Succumbing to hunger pangs, I ate one of those freeze-dried backpacker meals. While they may be tasty going down, they impart a certain… urgency to the train schedule. Early that next morning, with a pounding heart and clenched cheeks, I made my way into the woods to perform a ritual our ancestors have done for thousands of years. Who knew my heart rate could sustain 200 bpm for so long? Fortunately for me this story has a happy ending. Like a Christmas morning miracle there were no snakes and the trains were back on schedule. It’s rumored I may have had a skip to my step when exiting the woods.

My point? As usual, I’ve forgotten. Maybe it’s that snake chaps are a real thing. And that I own a pair. Now to figure out how to wear them with the outdoor kilt. Under or over?


[Upon opening the Well of the Souls and peering down]
Sallah: Indy, why does the floor move?
Indiana: Give me your torch.
[Indy takes the torch and drops it in]
Indiana: Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?
Sallah: Asps… very dangerous. You go first.


Neville Flynn: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
[the terrified passengers on the plane turn to Neville]
Neville Flynn: I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!

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On Making Sausage. And Political Correctness

Who doesn’t enjoy a juicy sausage link hot off the grill? (apologies to my vegan and lacto-ovo vegetarian friends) However, as the saying goes – nobody wants to actually know what happens in the sausage factory. The same is apparently true when it comes to our pesky little conflict with some folks in that there middle east region of the world. When a certain orange politician says that we should temporarily ban Muslim immigration to the US until we have better screening… the more liberal half of the country collectively voids their bowels in horror at the inappropriateness of the comment.

I guess folks forget that we’ve put together a massive governmental security operation specifically to prevent a segment of the Muslim population from targeting our airline industry. We don’t willingly stand in three hour lines for invasive body scans because of tpche Swedes, Taylor Swift fans, or the seven remaining members of some sub-Saharan pigmy tribe. No, we submit to warrantless searches because a few of our Muslim friends have an annoying habit of blowing up airplanes. We make ourselves feel better by also letting the TSA shopping mall security guards randomly search 90 year old grandmothers from Nebraska. See, we’re being fair. God forbid someone thought we were actually profiling anyone.

I guess if the orange one had simply said “I’m temporarily banning all immigration” everything would be ok. Whew, thank god he didn’t single anyone out – they might have been offended and sparked global jihad and issuance of fatwas directing followers to do evil to us. Oh wait, we already have that. Never mind.

If you’re a Muslim American, I feel for you. A few of your brethren are making things difficult for you. I’m sure there are some instances where you’re being tarnished with the same brush. That, unfortunately, is human nature. I’m sure the vast majority of Catholic priests are fine, virtuous people. Unfortunately that group as a whole has pretty much lost their babysitting privileges for a while. As a country I think we tend to be one of the most tolerant places around most of the time. We certainly don’t always get it right, but there is a reason the rest of the world is trying to come here. So I think we can cut out the hyper vigilant “offensive speech” monitoring. I’m reasonably sure that some goat farmer in Afghanistan is not going to be driven to a murderous anti-American rage if you forget to include the “I stand with Muslims” hashtag on your latest facebook post. And that whole ISIS/ISIL/al-Qaeda/Taliban/Muslim brotherhood thing… well they pretty much already hate us. I doubt they’re going to stop the global jihad if we just hired a few really good speechwriters.

We need to get over our faux political correctness. Muslims are responsible for the vast majority of terror in the world at this moment in history. It’s ok, you can say it. It’s the truth. We’re smart enough to figure out that it’s not all Muslims. It doesn’t make you a racist xenophobe to be slightly concerned about folks declaring jihad against you. Similarly, we have folks streaming across our border from the south. No, they are not just “undocumented” as if they accidently got in the wrong line and their paperwork got lost. They entered into the country illegally. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m being looked down upon by the intellectual elite like some sort of racist, uneducated, country bumpkin if I think securing our border is a good thing. Just because I don’t like Adel, Madonna, or the Beatles I shouldn’t be ostracized by the iTunes community like I’m some sort of music Neanderthal.

My point? I’m not sure. I got mesmerized looking at the Donald’s hair. It’s hard to look away. Someday the architectural blueprints for his hair will be published and we will marvel. Meanwhile, we’re a long ways from the racism that spawned Manzanar. I think we can be adults and speak about our security without the fear that we might offend someone. Besides, we have plenty of real offenses going on today. Like those Kim Jong-un pantsuits Hillary wears. Someone really needs to have a talk with her.

 

On Irony And Whatnot.

As Forest Gump said, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what irony is”. I’ve never claimed to be the sharpest crayon in the box but I always thought I was reasonably average with the English language. Yes I have trouble from time to time getting the commas and periods in the right places (I’m comma happy and I know it). And there are some tricky words I mangle here and there. All in all, I can somewhat put a sentence together. I paid attention when conjunction junction, what’s your function came on.

Having said that, I was inspired to write something today that quickly got away from me when I realized that you know nothing Jon Snow (if you don’t follow Game of Thrones, I’m ygsorry for you). I saw some news about the latest protests outside a Trump rally. I was going to make some brilliant insightful comments about the protesters, La Raza, and the future of my former city of San Jose. Looking for pictures or video I quickly grew frustrated at how truly awful most “newspaper” web sites are. I must have cycled through half a dozen before giving up. Poor page design, auto-start videos, and so many ads and pop-ups that simply trying to navigate through a gallery can take several minutes just to view a few photos.

I changed my mind and decided on a new topic. I was going to deliver a blistering review (and yes it would also be brilliant and insightful) on the current state of the newspaper industry. Most importantly – I was going to show the irony of an industry built on effective delivery of information being so horrible at it in the digital age.

But is that really irony? Figuring I better look it up before embarrassing myself in front ofirony three or four readers, I consulted the internets. Either I’m even dumber than I thought, or the definition of irony is hard. Dictionary sites, Wikipedia, writing and literary resources… and I’m still not sure I know what the definition is. Maybe the criticism of Alanis Morissette wasn’t entirely justified? Is it ironic that the website isitironic.com relies on readers voting to answer the question? Is it ironic that so many people have a hard time defining what irony is?

Welcome to the strange workings of my mind. Time to go take a nap. That little thought exercise burned up a few too many brain cells.


Forrest Gump: Hello. I’m Forrest, Forrest Gump.

Recruit Officer: Nobody gives a hunky shit who you are, pus ball. You’re not even a low-life, scum-sucking maggot. Get your ass on the bus, you’re in the army now!

Gigahertz And The Abacus

I’ve been shopping for a new modem. The tin cans and string we’re currently using simply aren’t fast enough anymore to keep up with our home data demands. I want my Darwin awards videos instantly. Anyway, I figure the prudent thing to do would be to check in with our current service provider and figure out what modems are on their “approved” list.

I asked the support person if they have a modem that supports 5 GHz wireless channels as well as the standard 2.4 GHz. That didn’t seem like a difficult question for someone who answers the support line for a telecommunications company. Her first reply was “The website has a list of modems”. I informed her that I knew that, but the list doesn’t include specs so I was trying to avoid spending hours individually looking up each modem and finding data sheets. Silence. Crickets. I asked her if, she didn’t know, could she possibly go ask someone else? After being on hold for long enough to write the next great American novel, she came back with one of the best technical answers I’ve heard. “Sir, our modems have speeds.” Uh, what? “I checked and they said all our modems have speeds.”

We’re doomed. Technology is advancing at a frightening rate. We rely upon complete connectedness and data infrastructure in every aspect of our daily lives. Unfortunately we’re busy creating a front-line service sector that probably has trouble operating the TV remote. This does not bode well for the future. Kids, do you have facial tattoos, ear gages, or a degree in art history? Then you’re a perfect fit for the exciting world of telecommunications technical support! No experience needed!

Which reminds me of a news item that came out this morning. Per testimony being given for Clinton scandal number 1,234 it turns out that the former Secretary of State did not have a computer in her office. Why? Because she did not know how to “do email” on a computer, only on her Blackberry. The head of a department that employed tens of thousands of people and had a budget of $65+ billion dollars can’t figure out how to “do email” on a computer? I’m flabbergasted that in today’s technology centric world such dinosaurs still exist. For gods sake, Facebook became uncool because it’s user base became 90% grandmothers and aging soccer moms. Its been a year or two since these new fangled computer things were invented. Claiming technological illiteracy no longer flies.

Why on earth would we keep putting people like this in charge? This is not an indictment memo(no pun intended) of Clinton – I’m sure there are swaths of pointy-haired managers across government with the same lack of qualifications. Could you imagine any corporate board today voting to hire a new CEO who isn’t capable of using an email program? I’m fairly certain the days of the abacus and having your secretary “take a memo” are over.

I’m starting to think it’s time to just unplug and enjoy the simpler things. A bike ride. Reading a book. But then I realize I’d miss watching crazy ass wingsuit flyers. And, at guaranteed ludicrous download speeds! (ludicrous speed is theoretical. your speed may vary. ludicrous speed only available with 8 year contract extension)


Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship for light speed.
Dark Helmet: No, no, no, light speed is too slow.
Colonel Sandurz: Light speed, too slow?
Dark Helmet: Yes, we’re gonna have to go right to ludicrous speed.

On Camping. And Totes.

Last weekend I went car camping. It’s been awhile. The last number of years have been more focused on river trips, backpacking, and a mega land-yacht RV. All of which arguably have components of camping, but are not exactly the same. To me, “campintrucksterg” is loading up the family truckster, driving to a designated forest service campground and unloading a mountain of gear at a designated “site”. Said site shall contain one rickety picnic bench, one fire ring, tent sites that are on a mandatory slope of at least 30 degrees, and easy access to a standard forest service toilet that contains horrors that shall not be mentioned.

While all of those items are worthy of discussion, it’s the mountain of gear that befuddled me. With backpacking and river trips you have clear space limitations, so you’d think that I would be good at packing efficiently. Apparently those rules don’t apply when car camping. I looked at the volume of space I had in the pickup truck and lost my mind. I packed gear for every possible contingency. Enough clothing to cover temperature ranges from  Death Valley to the top of Everest. I brought enough lighting products to perform neurosurgery at midnight. Small, medium, and large flashlights. A 5 pound lantern powered by 6 D-cell batteries. A headlamp. And a backup headlamp just in case. What did I actually use? The 2 inch mini flashlight one time, while digging around in the cooler for another beer. I had approximately 2,000 feet of utility cord, mosquito nets, shaving mirrors (but no shaving kit), tools, zip ties, plastic zip lock bags, a compass (we never left the campground), a broom, and at least four different drinking cups. All told I think I had three full duffle bags, a backpack, a cardboard box, a cooler, a half cord of firewood, an air mattress that was too big to fit in the tent, and a ten pound folding chair. I briefly considered renting a trailer but that would have been… excessive.

Within the first half hour at camp all this gear somehow exploded, covering the camp site. And when it rained – it all came into my little tent. I slept surrounded by mountains of stuff. The contents of every duffle bag had been pulled out and strewn everywhere, looking for the extra pair of socks I was sure I had. When it came time to leave there was no careful packing and organizing. Everything got stuffed into one giant pile into the back seat of the truck, which is now spread across the garage, the basement, and the kitchen. I plan on cleaning and putting it all away any day now. Promise.

I vowed never again. I will become the Martha Stewart of camping organization. I’ve spent approximately 45 hours researching camping organization web sites. I have visions of campkitchencolor coded plastic totes, camp kitchen boxes, and gear organizers. In my mind I’ve been crafting plans for adding a camper shell to the truck and building fantastic storage options so I’m ready to camp at a moments notice. I will craft laminated efficiency checklists and pare all equipment down to the bare minimum.

And then I stumbled across the Sprinter van. I am now officially obsessed. This is the ultimate car camping vehicle. Small enough you can drive it sprinteranywhere. Big enough you can comfortably sleep and have all your gear available. There’s whole community dedicated to van life. I could be ready to go fishing, to faraway hikes, climbing, escape the zombie apocalypse, a horrific nuclear accident, or just plain old camping at a moments notice. It works for campsites, boondocking, sleeping at truck stops, or Walmart parking lots. Never mind that I average about two camp trips a year. The point is that I could if I wanted to.

Now I just have to convince Mrs. troutdog. Or I could just buy more totes.

—————————–
Clark: I think you’re all fucked in the head. We’re ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun… We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! I must be crazy! I’m on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!

Solving The Wrong Problem

On this day in the year two thousand sixteen of the common era, 18 days and 15 hours after it began, my green home experiment died a quiet death. My sad little recycle bin only contained several junk mail flyers, a popsicle stick (not recyclable), and a paper plate that probably shouldn’t be there because it’s coated with wax. Do I wish good things for my codyplanet? Of course. I carry the same first world guilt that many Americans do. I fear photoshopped pictures of frightened polar bears desperately clinging to their shrinking icebergs. The image of Iron Eyes Cody, a tear streaming down his face as he watches garbage callously tossed from a vehicle haunts me. But, I’m also terribly lazy and trying to figure out what can and can’t be recycled was a pain so that was the end of that.

After a brief pang of guilt, I moved on. I’m an adaptable guy. But it does highlight a common human problem. We invest tremendous amounts of energy in solving the wrong problems. Trying to solve the solid waste management problem by forcing people at the trashend of the chain to dutifully sort and separate their trash is doomed to fail. National participation rates hover in the 20-30% range. With the exception of aluminum, recycled materials are a net cost and energy loss. Virgin plastic resin costs 40% less than recycled plastics. Raw silica sand used for glass production is around $20 a ton vs $40 to $60 for recycled glass. A quote I either found or made up regarding the efficiency of recycling is:  “There is a simple test for determining whether something is a resource or just garbage. If someone will pay you for the item, it’s a resource. But if you have to pay someone to take the item away, then it’s garbage.”

We are not going to solve the enormity of our waste problem by imploring people to rinse out their plastic mustard containers and carefully place them in a special bin. The problem needs to be solved upstream. Radical changes to packaging, incineration and reuse of the ash, building a dedicated monorail and shipping it to the desert to create a giant pyramid future historians can marvel at… these are the ideas we need to focus our energy on.

It feels as if much of the United States is stuck in a conventional thinking mode. The old guard is longing for a time when we clearly dominated the world without really trying. Uber is a great example. My city just recently fought a protracted battle with the transportation upstart. The old guard was trying desperately to protect the cab companies and the way things have always worked. I recently took a trip and used both Uber and a cab company. Leaving for the airport at 4am, I checked the Uber app and there was a driver a few blocks away. It took him a few minutes to get to my house. His car was new, clean, and he was a pretty nice guy. $9 for my trip, taken care of by my credit card already on file. The return trip I took a cab from the airport. The cab was a rattling death trap that smelled of stale cigarette smoke and was driven by someone who grunted monosyllabic answers. Nearly $30 for that lovely experience. Why would anyone spend energy to defend that sort of old school business?

Politics, foreign policy, artificially created “shovel ready projects”, bringing back industrial manufacturing, the Eagles and Rolling Stones reunion tours, Hollywood remakes of movie classics like Vacation and Point Break – why? Move on. The world has changed. It’s time to think forward rather than wistfully dreaming of the days of the Sony Walkman and killer mix tapes. As Homer Simpson famously said, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. I think he meant the line to the Krispy Kreme, but donuts or global innovation… it’s all the same.

We’ve had a pretty solid run. We can feel good about it. CNN can continue to crank out mtvspecials documenting each decade. But we need to come to grips with the fact that it’s over. The world is changing at a remarkable pace. We need to make sure we’re solving the right problems or we’ll look up and wonder why our standard of living plummeted. My point? I’m not sure. I think I’m just frustrated because my Zune music player finally died and the new music landscape is just so… confusing. Sigh, why can’t we just bring back the original MTV?

On Travel And Whatnot

I done visited me some places in my life. More than some, considerably less than many. I seen me the Rooster Days parade in Broken Arrow Oklahoma. I drove past that big arch thingy in St. Louis. I spent a day once in Mendota California. On purpose. I spent a drunken afternoon betting on Jai Alai in Tijuana once. Y’all may want to put those on your bucket lists.

Mrs. Trout and I got to talking and the subject of travel came up. She asked where would I want to go for a big bucket list vacation? Interestingly it turns out, I don’t know. I’ve never actually put any real thought into it. Trips, vacations, countries, and adventures have just sorta happened… I don’t have a big list that I’m checking things off of. So I decided it’s time to create that master list and start working through it before I get run over by a cement truck.

Turns out, making that list is harder than I thought it would be. I actually got somewhat overwhelmed. Are we talking about big budget, six months of planning, once in a lifetime trips? Maybe it’s the quick weekend dash to see the Myrtle Beach Elvis fetouriststival? Worldwide or U.S. only? Lazy sit on a secluded beach (would have to get in banana hammock shape for that one) or trek the Himalayas? Pampered all-inclusive resort or someplace that might not be so safe for a camo baseball hat, Bermuda shorts, fanny pack wearing U.S. of A good ‘ole boy? Culture and museums or party my brains out (well, until 10pm, I go to bed early) on a beach somewhere in Phuket?

Once you pick a place, how do you see it? Organized tour? Frantically hit every tourist spot you can since you’ll never be back? Ignore the tourism and stay in one spot like a local?

There’s just too much out there. I’m paralyzed. What if I choose wrong? What if I can’t find a Taco Bell? I may have to binge-watch No Reservations for ideas. Or Bear Grylls. Nah, too scary. I may just stick to every season of Diners, Drive-in’s, and Dives. Eating my way across the country seems like a worthy bucket list goal. I’m going to keep working on this list. Check back with me in a while to see how it’s going. Odd’s are I’ll still be staring at a screen with approximately 1,232 browser tabs open, all pointing to various top-50, must-see lists. Or I’ll have been sidetracked with epic dog fail videos.

On The Big Blue Bin

I shouldn’t tell you this because it makes me sound, well, terribly insecure. I am, but that’s beside the point. The point is to leave you marveling at how manly I am, combined with a deep sensitive side. Stay tuned for the end of the post and videos of monster trucks, tattoos,  blowing stuff up, and American eagles flying majestically over the latest Tough Mudder run.

This week I had two friends make me feel really bad about myself. They didn’t mean to (refer back to insecurity). The first incident followed the horrible running decision from my last post. My friend seemed to truly enjoy the run (no, I don’t understand that) and commented on her feelings upon reaching the summit. One of the things she said was how thankful she was that she had two arms and legs that work and how grateful she was that she could do something like this. At the time the only thoughts I had were #1: beer, #2: I’m never doing this again, and #3: beer.

It wasn’t until later that I reflected and realized that, holly crap I’m pretty damn insensitive. Of course she’s right. I’m sure there were folks in that race that trained most of the year, overcame incredible obstacles, and just finishing was probably a significant milestone for them. Meanwhile I’m writing a snarky post complaining that I didn’t do as well as I wanted and I should probably put more effort into it next time (no, there won’t be a next time). We’re all one horrible cement truck accident away from wishing we could run a race. I should be damn grateful that at my age I still can participate.

The second incident occurred over a dinner conversation. Somehow talk drifted towards garbage and I casually dropped the anti-green bombshell – no, I don’t recycle. After an uncomfortable silence, my friend called me out on my statement and said “why?” I briefly contemplated tales of old war wounds, presidential dispensations, we live in a recycle-free zone, my busy schedule… but quickly came to my senses and ‘fessed up. The answer is that I’m too lazy to sort it and I already take out the garbage too many times every week. Uh yeah, that sounds as lame writing it as it did saying it.

Sadly, I spoke the truth. I really am that shallow. I actually searched “does recycling really work” to see if I could make myself feel better. While there are a number of arguments you could try and make, at the end of the day recycling is a few less things that end up in a landfill. And that’s a good thing. Oh, but the cost!! Err, I looked that up too. In my town, even if I was to add a second recycle cart it’s only an additional .54 cents per month. Dammit, I hate when I can’t be right all the time.

Does this mean there’s going to be a fundamental shift in my outlook? Have I completely given in to the North End, crunchy granola, hippie, 420 celebrating, Tibetan prayer flag, and save the whales lifestyle? Probably not. But I do think I need to be a little more appreciative of what I have. And if I can make a few small differences here and there, why not? I am officially making one of the two garbage bins under the sink a “recycle” bin. We’ll see where it goes, but don’t hold your breath for the hemp clothing and compost bin.

As promised, in no particular order:

egale

Monster trucks  (I tried, but I just can’t do it. Too close to pro bass fishing and “jorts + mullets)

U.S. Marines blowing shit up  (warning, might be disturbing for those who don’t really understand what “stopping ISIS” actually means)

It doesn’t fit me, but I’m fascinated with day of the dead tattoos. (Dia De Los Muertos if you’re not from pigs-knuckle Arkansas. Apologies to any of our southern brothers that actually live in Arkansas. If you’re a reader and live in Arkansas, on purpose… well, I’m sorry. Don’t know what else to say)water

The Tough Mudder. (Relegated to the same waste bin as running races. Never again. Interferes with drinking beer)

On Moments Of Truth

The moment of truth. A turning point. That defining moment. The red pill or the blue? Beer or bourbon? A salad or fries? Jimi Hendrix or… wait, never mind. Hendrix is always the answer. For many people there comes a point in time where you reach a place that inspires you to decide that you don’t want to continue down the same pzig-Ziglar-motivation-quotes-2ath you’ve been on. If I was a motivated guy, this is where I’d insert the inspirational quote from Zig Ziglar and declare that things will be different from now on.

Uh, that’s not really my style. Although, I did have one of those moments yesterday. I’d foolishly signed up for a running race that I’d done before. Except I was lazy and I didn’t train for it. I probably gained did gain weight between sign-up and race day. I assumed that, like when I was 20, I could just show up and get ‘er done. Uh, nope. It was pretty ugly. As I lumbered uphill like a pregnant walrus, it became clear that I can no longer deny reality. I’ve gotten old, fat, and frighteningly out of shape. I was passed by people who, if I saw them on the street, I’d think to myself “there’s a walking heart attack”. I was passed by people in their 70’s who looked like they were going to keel over at any moment. I survived and finished, but it was a humbling day.

I woke up this morning determined to change and to seize this opportunity to improve myself. I vowed to be the like ‘theRock and post my 4am daily workout on the Instagrams. I will be a paleo god and laugh at those fools eating gluten and sugar. I will be pure! I will fuel the engine with nothing but locally sourced fresh food kissed with mermaid tears and love. I will embrace Grok and become a crossfit machine. Then I thought about pancakes and wondered when the new pizza place down the street will open.

I’m not sure if I have it in me to change my habits. I like the idea of it. It’s the doing part that’s a challenge. It’s hard to say what path I’m going to take. I did win the weight loss challenge of ’14. I’ve also managed to put all that weight back on, plus some, by sitting in a chair fairly continuously for a year and a half. Which me is going to emerge come Monday morning? Will it be the motivated and disciplined troutdog or the fat lazy trout taking the path of least resistance?

Realistically, any clear thinking person knows that our actions should be based upon preparations for the zombie apocalypse. And what is Columbus’s rule # 1? Cardio. So there you have it. It’s the 4am wake-up and go time for me. Then again, there’s the merits of being well-armed, don’t be afraid to use your ammunition and rule #2 – the double tap. Go ahead and hand me those pancakes.

Tallahassee: Are you fucking with me?

Columbus: Uh, no. You should actually limber up as well. Especially if we’re going down that hill. It is very important.

Tallahassee: I don’t believe in it. You ever see a lion limber up before it takes down a gazelle?

All Hail Conventional Wisdom

Rick Grimes once said, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result”. It might have been Simon Cowell who said it. I’m not very good with my fact checking. Anyway, I’ve been amused at the latest schoolyard spat over who’s the least qualified on foreign policy. It’s interesting watching the talking heads andpajamas foreign policy experts reporting in their pajamas from  their living rooms via skype, all expressing intellectual dismay at the “frightening, and frankly dangerous” lack of worldly knowledge certain candidates display.

Because I like to question everything, let me ask you something. What was the last foreign policy success we’ve had since, say the end of the cold war? Have we had an honest to goodness success that didn’t cost us untold billions, thousands of lost lives, or destroyed economies, infrastructures and inspired hatred for generations? Seriously? Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Kosovo? Afghanistan? Iraq? Iran? Syria, Libya, Egypt? Basically anywhere in the Middle East. How many billions have been spent stationing troops in South Korea for the last 50+ years? How’d Somalia work out for us? Nicaragua? I guess our bright shinning star is that we once liberated some medical students on the “Island of Spice“. You can pry my nutmeg from my cold, dead, fingers…

Given our track record, why would we listen to anything the experts tell us? What they appear to be expert at is maintaining the status quo. Which apparently consists of selling arms and issuing foreign aid at a rate which boggles the mind. Meanwhile we’re told we need to pay more taxes because we can’t afford to buy more number 2 pencils for little Johnny. At least we have enough checks left in the checkbook to afford the $1.4 million it cost to develop an app for the TSA that randomly points left and right.

I’ve enjoyed watching the momentum Trump and Sanders have created with the people being pissed off at the establishment. It’s about time. But when the establishment parties ignore the people (you didn’t really think you had any say in this did you, silly rabbit) and put in place the candidates of their choosing, what are the people going to do? Will that initial momentum have enough inertia to continue to drift towards revolution… or will it just be the latest occupy movement that fizzles out as soon as we come to grips with the fact that American Idol is never coming back?