Thursday, August 19, 2010

The 300th Blog: Dedicated to My Dad

When I was younger, my dad would often regale me with his "wit" by saying such things as:

Dad: How tall are you again?

Me: 5' 8". Why?

My Dad: I didn't know they stacked shit THAT high.


or

Me: Are we going to breakfast?

My Dad: Who's "we?" You got a mouse in your pocket?


When he died, it was those moments, the stupid throwaway ones, that stuck with me the most.

***

It's odd to think about missing him, seeing as he died almost twenty years ago now. He is more of an idea than a person. "My dad" is something I often don't say...but more of a phrase I contemplate about. I mean, I don't have much of a reason to ever say the two words together. Painful to think about, but it's true.

I do see him. In my mind. Always the fashion guru, he would pull his socks up too high, almost to his knees. His short shorts, and thick and smudged glasses awaited my playful eye rolls, and I remember how his stomach felt when I would try to hug him. Bulging and curving in a too-tight, horizontally-lined shirt, his belly was an obstacle to be reckoned with when I would stretch and stretch my arms around him to complete an incompletable hug.

I remember him as being the smartest person I knew...but I'll never know if that's true. I don't know what's real and what my mind has made up. Crazy to think that I have created in my mind the person that actually created me. There were lessons and methods and real parenting going on, that I know for sure. He made me feel looked after. And safe. And a bit lost when he left. I still feel that way today.

***

I know there are some who believe he is with me. He was there. He was there. Maybe he is. Maybe he was. I don't know. If ever a soul lived on...why not his?

There is much I want to ask him...but life isn't fair. I'm ok with that. But it's the moments...those throwaway moments...that I've missed. The ones I didn't create. The ones that I know in my heart to be true:

My Dad: You should probably have a point.

Me: So?

My Dad: So? So what? Sew buttons?


So, maybe there isn't always a so what. Maybe there isn't always a truth. Maybe there are just moments in my mind and in yours. Floating from time to time. And we try to reach them. Catch them. But we can't.

Sometimes, you just can't complete your hug. No matter how hard you try. It's just a moment. And you will never throw that moment away.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UCSD is Stupid

I was taking a class at UCSD this summer...and every day, as I walked through the campus, I would look up at to see the names, faces, and accomplishments of famous graduates they were honoring. Writers. Scientists. Etc.

But then I would get to this one picture every morning and every morning I would stop and think: Dude...that's just stupid.

Why? Because the sign was touting that UCSD was the 7th best public university in the nation. According to UCSD News, this is true (as of 2009):

U.S. News & World Report ranks UC San Diego as the 7th best public university in the nation, and 35th among the nation’s top 262 universities. Also, in its 2009 survey of graduate programs, U.S. News ranks the School of Medicine 6th among the nation’s public medical schools and the Jacobs School of Engineering 6th among the nation’s public engineering schools. U.S. News also ranks UC San Diego 15th among national universities in the category of “Up and Coming Schools.”

Seriously? I understand that RELATIVELY that is awesome...but in the grand scheme of things, do people ever go around and chant "WE'RE NUMBER 7! WE'RE NUMBER 7!" It's hilarious to me to have a sign right in the middle of campus...proudly displaying that every student on campus should feel inferior to six other campuses:

Thanks for your 30K (out-of-staters)...you could have been getting a better education somewhere else! And we used your money to make a sign to remind you! SUCKERS!

So I would continue on my walk and chuckle...because UCSD is stupid....and I knew the sign would be there the next day, and I would get to chuckle all over again.

(no thought about the fact that I was paying to go there, too)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Juice Fast Day #3: We Survived

Had a bit of a problem with the juicer during the last meal. It started like "not working" and stuff. We did a bit of praying...and cussing...and it started working again. Now, how smart are we to watch Man vs. Food and Top Chef during our last few hours? NOT VERY!

Breakfast:

1/2 of a pineapple
1 Fuji apple
1 handful of grapes

Lunch:

2 tomatoes
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1/2 clove of elephant garlic
1 clove garlic
Ginger

Dinner:

1 1/2 beets
2 1/2 carrots
Swiss Chard
2 stalks of celery
1 tomato
2 cloves of garlic
Ginger

Mark Manasse's Foolproof Way to be a Successful Triathlete

Like many things in life, it's all about the preparation. There is no way one could be successful at doing a race like Vineman Half Ironman unless properly trained and motivated. The following is my foolproof way to be ready by any race-day morning.

(1) Put an anti-chaffing substance EVERYWHERE humanly possible. Yes. Even there.

Personally, I'm a BodyGlide man, but whoever you are...you absolutely most cake every inch of your body...or suffer the consequences. On the other hand, you truly haven't lived until you have been chaffed:

A. Between your Butt cheeks, and/or

B. That area under your...well, you know...between your butt and balls (on men or very, very special women), and/or

C. ON the penis maximus (that is the Latin for it).

I use BodyGlide AND Vaseline on my privies. Works like a charm.


(2) Learn How to Self-Urinate

I think anyone who has ever gone swimming has probably warmed the area with last night's milk...but there is something to be said for being able to release your fury while on a bike or when running...Huh?

I mean...you have to learn to piss yourself during every aspect of the race. I'm serious. Why wait in line? This past race was the first time I was able to do this during the run...and while trying to undo countless years of potty training is hard, thinking about running water and having absolutely NO shame seemed to do the trick for me.

Finally...that "no shame" thing has a benefit!


(3) Push...If You Have To

The morning of the race, it is very, Very, VERY important to make sure you have gone #2 as much as possible. This is difficult when you are trying to eat higher quantities of food, water, and salt leading up to race day. During Vineman, I actually started getting stomach pains during the ride, and I thought I was going to have an alien push its way through my stomach. Turns out...I just really needed to go to the bathroom. I ignored this, and it kind of went away (kind of)...but one of the best ways to be a good triathlete, in my experience, is having good bowel movements BEFORE the race.


(4) Go Ahead. Freak Out! Be an Asshole! BEFORE the Race.

In general, I feel like I am a pretty calm person...but the two days leading up to Vineman, I found myself contemplating life, God, and my ability to move to Canada within the next 24 hours. This is normal. I say, let your inner asshole out. If someone cuts you off while you're driving the day before the race, why not run him off the road? Normally, this kind of reaction would seem petty, but not leading up to race day. That person deserved to be run off the road...in fact, he wanted to be! Why else would he cut you off?

Just don't be an ass during the race. No matter how fast (or slow) you are at something, there is someone faster (or slower). So don't be the guy who yells out "On your left means MOVE THE FUCK OVER." Nobody likes that guy or his small penis.


(5) Realize It's Supposed to be Difficult -- Literally and Metaphorically.


It wasn't until training this year that I got over the fact that swimming, biking, and running will never be easy. I had it in the back of my mind that one day, magically, it would all just feel like taking a nap. Like I was skipping along. Clearly, I was wrong AND an idiot.

This shit is hard. Very hard. And once I realized that...it ironically did get easier. There is this wave of energy that goes through me, and I assume everyone else too, and you ride that wave until it leaves you...it will come back. Seeing as I am not a professional athlete, my wave is probably relatively short, and that is ok. One mantra I kept telling myself is "I am where I am." I wasn't going "slow." In fact, many times during the race I tried to slow myself down.

Triathlons are such a wonderful microcosm for life. They are very, very challenging; there is always something to learn; there is always someone better than you at something; and you are constantly caked in stinky, yellow pee.

If that isn't life, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Juice Fast Day #2

Generally easier today...except for that bacon smell that was haunting me in Hillcrest. What is it with me, meat, and Hillcrest??

Breakfast:

2 Fuji apples
6 strawberries
1 handful of grapes

Lunch:

2 large tomatoes
2 small cucumbers
1 1/2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 clove of elephant garlic
Ginger

Snack:

12 ounces of OJ

Dinner (THIS WAS AMAZING!):

3 1/2 oranges
1 Fuji apple
5 strawberries
1 1/2 small cucumbers
Ginger

Monday, August 02, 2010

Juice Fast: Day 1

Getting the normal side effects: Headache, lack of energy, weird mouth taste. If my toilet could talk....

Morning:

1/2 of one large beet
1/2 of clove of elephant garlic
Swiss chard
1 cucumber
2 white carrots
1 handful of cherry tomatoes

Afternoon:

1/2 of an apple
2 small oranges
2 1/2 pears

Dinner:

2 small cucumbers
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
1/2 clove of elephant garlic
Ginger
2 orange carrots
2 stalks of celery
Kale