Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Leisure Reading: Last Rants, Pleas, and Apologies

Texas has the country's busiest death chamber, having put to death five hundred inmates since the Death Penalty was reinstated back in the 1980's.  In most cases, the appeals process takes decades, so the condemned have all had ample time to think about their crimes and their circumstances, and the state gives them a chance to speak before they die.  A court recorder takes down their words by hand, and then those words are published on the prison's official website.

That so-called Wall of Death has become a popular read.

I don't guess this story is anything more than a human interest piece, but it's easily the most fascinating thing I've read this week.  Most of the statements--at least the ones the Times focuses on--are simple apologies, as well they might be.  Any man with an ounce of humanity and ten years to think on what he's done seems likely to me to want to make some restitution in his last moments.  The rest are the ravings of madmen, the last drivel of the self-important, and probably at least a few last minutes pleas from the wrongly condemned.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Scenes from This Morning's Run

I got up early and ran this morning before driving to Albany for a meeting.  I don't know that I ran particularly well, and my right ankle and calf have been hurting pretty much ever since, and none of that is at all good.  But it's still not a total loss because I at least took some pictures this morning while I was out.

I'll let you decide whether or not these were worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Re-Imagining the Immortal Iron Fist

Tarmon Gai’don has come and gone, and we’ve still got quite a while before Words of Radiance, the second book in The Stormlight Archives, comes out, and in the meantime I still need something to read.  This week that something is The Immortal Iron Fist, a short-running Ed Brubaker / Matt Fraction collaboration whose first six issues were on sale at Comixology on Monday for $.99 each.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Strawberry Picking

After spending the morning picking strawberries, Sally came home and made strawberry balsamic chicken for dinner and then put together a salad of romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Yummy!  

For dessert, we had vanila ice cream topped with strawberries that were so sweet they tasted like candy.

Today's project is homemade strawberry ice cream  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Triathlon Training Log: 6/17 - 6/23 (Post Race Transition Week)

I ran the Pat Griskus Olympic Triathlon last week, my "A" race for the first half of the season.  Coming off of that, this last week was a time to refocus and start thinking about what comes next.  For me, that's a run at the Hartford Marathon, although to be honest, I'm concerned about surviving all of the training required to make it through.  Still, I've built a good base over the course of the season so far, and at a certain level, I feel like I'm ready, and it's now or never.

Well.  I don't know what I think about this marathon thing exactly, but as Sally said, it's not like I have to decide tomorrow exactly what I'm planning.  I've got a plan, and if I follow it, I think I'll be ready.  But if the wheels come off between now and October, I can always run the Hartford Half again and reasonably satisfied.  In the meantime, there's still quite a bit of triathlon season left and plenty to accomplish before the weather turns cooler.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Training Conundrum

Coming off of last weekend's Oly, it's suddenly time to start getting fast again, especially in the water.  It's weird because I've spent the last month in the water working towards being able to just cruise easily and evenly, but now the need for that is pretty much over.  

In the grand scheme of things, my next big thing is the Hartford Marathon. In a more immediate sense, I've got the Greenwich Point One Mile Swim in a little less than a month. Both events call for hard interval training in the water. As far as the Marathon is concerned, long runs and bike rides will cover my need for endurance training while doing uptempo intervals in the pool provides a safe way to work at higher heart rates without the risk of injury.  I'll do more uptempo work than that, of course, but as far as swimming is concerned, there's just no reason for simple aerobic work anymore.  The One Mile Swim, meanwhile, is a short race all on its own--20 minutes or less,  the equivalent of a 5k in the water. Which means improving my uptempo swimming pace. Which in turn calls for hard interval training.  

Contemplating it right now is a little mind-boggling, though.  I like working hard, but this is gonna be quite a switch from the last month. 

Anyway, I'm gonna have to spend some time thinking about how to design my workouts. If anybody has any thoughts out there, I'm open to them. 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Amazing Grace

Been meaning to share this one for a couple of weeks now.

That's my daughter Hannah singing Amazing Grace at church a few weeks ago.  I quite liked that performance, but then again, I've always loved that song.  And I think Hannah sings beautifully.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2013 Pat Griskus Olympic Triathlon Race Report

I’ve been training all season for the Pat Griskus Olympic Triathlon.  It’s a tough race--tough course--but I’m reasonably satisfied with how I did overall.  Still, the race itself was kind of an exercise in humility.  
I don’t think I’m bad or untalented as a triathlete, but this race is the Northeast Regional Club Championships, and it brings out some pretty talented racers.  Lots of dedicated folks in tri-clubs from all over the greater New York City/Westchester County/Fairfield County area.  And truth is, sometimes how you do in a race is as dependent on who else shows up as it is on how you yourself perform.  This race was a reminder that there are a lot of folks out there who’re at least as talented as I am and who train a lot, lot more.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Love for Superior Spider-Man #11

Dear Spider-Guys,

Superior Spider-Man #11
I just finished Superior Spider-Man #11, and I gotta say... WOW!  You can count me among the skeptical with the way that Amazing Spider-Man ended, but Superior #11 was as good as anything Mr. Slott did with ASM.  For example, Doc Ock's reflection in the middle of the book, "a murderer doesn't suddenly become a different... different--". That really WAS gold. Well played.

But the real reason that I'm writing is because of the thing with all of Doc Ock's Spider-Bots. I hadn't thought of Superior Spider-Man's plotline as an extended reflection on the US government's NSA surveillance programs until the current issue, but... well, there it is.

Why shouldn't Ock use his technology to watch over the whole City in real time?  Why shouldn't he be a superior Spider-Man?

I don't know. Just last week no less a liberal than Bill Maher took Ock's side in the debate, and it made me uncomfortable to agree with him that maybe the Fourth Amendment really is a little out-dated given all the threats we face in the modern world.  I mean, it's all good to march for freedom--until somebody sets off a Dirty Bomb in Midtown. But then?

I don't know. I'm not a fan of having my phones tapped, but I work in Manhattan, and I like getting home safe.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Taper Week

Tapering for an event is glorious. It's the physical, visceral reward for months of hard work, an actual feeling of health and well-being beyond the normal human experience created by the body's natural recovery process following a prolonged period of physical effort. 

It's also maddening. 

It's maddening because it's a break in the routine, a cut down on the workouts that are the normal Stress Release Valve for most athletes, and because with all that time on your hands and your key race looking you right in the face, you really are stuck just sitting there worrying about it. 

Am I really ready for this?  Did I do enough?  There's a nine-mile climb right in the middle of the bike leg; can I get one more workout to really prove to myself that I can handle it?

But you can't, of course. As my old college swim coach used to say, "The hay is in the barn."  For better or worse, training is done, and now you have to live or die based on your past dedication. 


Normally I'd deal with these feelings by riding, by working it out emotionally while I work my body physically. This particular week, however, I'm stuck. I'm tapering. 

Thank God the race is Saturday. Otherwise, I think I'd go mad. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scenes from My 40th Birthday Party

We (finally) had my birthday party over the weekend, and it was awesome.  I'm so thankful for all the folks who could come.  Really, it was the best time I've had in quite a while.

Rainout Last Night

Rain cancellation at the Bluefish game last night. Note the train and the power plant in the background.