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WOD The Hell Are You Trying To Do?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Quote of the Day: “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.”

- Thomas A. Edison

 

Crossfit is hard.

I know, duh, but let me finish… Crossfit is hard, dammit.

There, I’m done.

I see I will need to explain….

Since I joined Crossfit this summer, my progress has been … not as good as I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I go 3 times a week and 3 times a week, I get hammered, but that is the idea. The problem involves a couple of things:

1. By the end of the week, I tend to let the Friday workout … how do I put this… it involves a saying that rhymes with “duck fat.”

2. There is not a lot of time to figure things out before the workout starts and by the end, I am a wadded up piece of toilet paper so it is all I can do to crawl to Truckasaurus and whine all the way home.

So the way I solved #1 was to move the workout to the 9:00 AM session. This involves getting up at 7 and leaving by 8:15… yes, for a 9:00 AM class. I am a perpetual organizer and it takes me forever to get ready for ANYTHING!

I discovered that waiting to the end of the day, or even the middle of the day, was one of the things stopping my progress: I had too much time to talk myself out of it.

For #2, now that is interesting. I thought about showing up early but that just meant trying to get a coach to take the time to work with me when they had a class going.

I made a pitiful attempt to show up early and stay late but I was just not getting the training I needed. Something needed to be done.

This came to a head last week when I was going the back squat and a woman gave me some advice… basically informing me that I had it all wrong. Crossfitters are good at that.

The ensuing discussion involved what I talked about yesterday about being too strong and powering through the wrong moves. She suggested I show up to Rory’s class on Tuesdays at 9:00 AM because she is a form-Nazi.

OK, a few things about this one…

1. I could use a form Nazi.

2. Tuesday is NOT a day I normally go to Crossfit (I go to the gym to get my $10 a month worth of Planet Fitness goodness.)

3. If I did a Tuesday, then my weekly schedule would be M-T-W-F. Fuuuuuu….

4. Rory is a professional Crossfitter… I mean, like competition level. She is 14th best in the world or something. And THAT’S something!

My decision was simple: I would show up, do an extra workout, and learn from this super-Crossfit goddess who I am sure I will end up hating like morning traffic.

When I get ready for a workout, I really get ready. I look up the Workout Of the Day (WOD) (I know..), and have made a spreadsheet with all my maximums along with a handy little chart that breaks down the percentage weights at each exercise (so I don’t have to recalculate what 40% of my max is, etc….)

I print out a copy and write down the strength exercise (ex. #1) and the main WOD (ex. #2). No need to add “vomit, cry, and piss all at once at the end” because that would just be a waste of printer ink.

I did this for the Tuesday workout and with that in hand, I showed up to the 9:00 AM session ready to WOD up… let’s forget I wrote that and never use it again, what do you say?

The first thing I notice is that there are only a couple of people (this happens a lot when I show up 20 minutes early) and it looks like one of the trainers was getting ready to lead the class.

“Isn’t Rory teaching the 9:00 AM?”

“No, she is teaching a powerlifting class.”

“Wha..?”

You Crossfitters might recognize this: when you are ready for a WOD, I mean, you have researched it and gotten your head around what particular flavor of suck it is going to be, to change things up completely at game time is… not the best feeling in the world.

Suddenly I was NOT doing the WOD I thought I was and instead, I am doing something I had no clue about.

Me and surprise don’t get along all that much….

The class filled up pretty quick and I quickly realized what it was: a group “form” class, taught by a well-qualified form Nazi. In other words, just what I needed.

As I warmed up by putting my shin against the wall and other foot forward, I learned two things.

1. I am not as flexible as I thought… by a long shot.

2. The class apparently doubled since the last one so I guess the word is getting out.

Today’s focus was the clean and jerk.

Yes, the most technical move in the Crossfit arsenal.

I will not go into the specifics about the class but it was another one of those “Take everything you know about this move and forget it, you have been doing it completely wrong” kind of classes.

Basically for the clean and jerk, you take the bar from the ground, pull it up by standing up with your arms straight, ducking underneath the raising bar and catching it on your chest (or Adam’s Apple, you know, whatever…), as you practically squat, then stand.

That’s half the move.

Then, assuming you got this far, you hop the weight up and once again duck underneath it but this time, you “catch” the weight with straight arms and by this time, you had better have split your feet forward and back or your day just got worse.

In this most-awkward of all awkward moments, you shuffle your feet together until you are standing with the full weight over your head.

Meanwhile, your spleen should be shooting out your ass….

Then you let it drop like it was on fire.

I got about 10% of this right but Rory, being the good coach she is, phrased it like this..

“OK, there you go, I’ll take that clean and jerk for a first attempt.”

God forgive me but I took that obviously stretched praise and smiled a little to myself as I searched around for my spleen.

It didn’t get much better than that, improving incrementally until I couldn’t lift an eyebrow.

It may sound funny but I kept forgetting what to do next. Obviously, when you get this down, it’s all fluid movement but while you are learning it, they break it down for you and you try to perfect each step.

I would forget what was next. It was like I was suddenly retarded (OK, MORE retarded…) to the point Rory started yelling at me when I paused.

“Just do it! Don’t think about it, just go!”

Then I would do something totally stupid and feel the warm burn of embarrassment.

I think I made what could almost be considered a passable clean and jerk by the end and I was so happy that I didn’t even blink when she transitioned into a core workout.

Wait, a core workout? I had just destroyed my abs yesterday and now we were doing planks with plates on our backs for a full minute. Great, just when I got my spleen back in….

The last little fun party was this: a rubber strap with a kettle bell hanging from your waist and in a plank, arms and feet on different boxes (to create a place for the kettle bell to swing.)

45 seconds.

FML.

I like the class, I like the instructor, and I think it is the step I need to make in order to move forward in Crossfit. But it means going from 3 times a week to 4 times in the Crossfit gym.

(For those of you than are snorting at that statement, please remember that I run 4 times a week and go to the regular gym twice a week. Not to mention a weekly Insanity class and a hike. That’s not why you were snorting? Oh, sorry….)

So either I am going to have to give something up or up my game.

Hmmm, I wonder what it will be…

Free Advice for Today: “Never open a restaurant.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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I Guess You CAN Call It A Comeback, If You Want To…

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Quote of the Day: “We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.”

- Blaise Pascal

Ahhh yes, blogging….

My last entry was Sunday, January 6th, 2013 and today is October 21st, 2013. That means it’s been exactly 288 days since I last bellied up to the keyboard and made an idiot out of myself publically… (I now prefer to do so in person most days…)

The question begs, as it always does: do I try to give some kind of recap or just start from today and I have come to a command decision to just freakin’ start and promise not to go 288 days again…

OK, who am I kidding, I can’t just jump in without some kind of explanation.

I know it sounds trite but we all go through phases in our lives and right now, I am going through the “Hey, why don’t I alienate everyone in my life and pretty much shut down” phase so don’t be too offended if you are reading this and I make no attempt to return any form of contact with you (other than this blog). I am hoping that my blog persona stayed in tact while this other trash plays out.

OK, so where am I at right now? Well, I guess it’s safe to talk about my training.

I train.

A lot.

In fact, it seems about the only thing I do consistently these days so let me map out the crazy for you here:

CrossFit 3x per week
Running 4x per week
Gym 2x per week
Insanity 1x per week
Hike 2x per week

I know, that is a lot of x’s per week. You would think I would sleep like a baby but I don’t… in fact, I can’t. What I CAN do is take a sleeping pill but it leaves me drowsy all morning where lack of sleep only lasts… my logic went off the rails somewhere there so I am going to move on…

So training, yeah…. I kind of have excuses for all of them and no, it’s not “hey, I’m all super-healthy and you should be too so buy this, that, and the other from me…”

The CrossFit is simple: I eventually want to open my own gym, or at least work as a trainer and this is the place to start. So every M-W-F, I leave at 8:15 AM, drive 6 miles, and cause the trainers to wonder “Why does the Major show up ½ early for the 9 AM?”

(.. not me, I cannot grow a Paul Bunyan beard nor would I be caught dead redheaded…)

Once the running cools off, I will increase my weekly schedule and go 4-5 times a week because at $165 a month, three times a week is a lot like buying a full membership and only dragging your sorry ass there 12 times a month. That’s about $14 per visit, aka: bullshit.

BTW, the WODs are taking their toll but I am hanging in there. One of my difficulties is that I am too strong (I know that sounds really narcissistic but stick with me here…). Since I came into the program in pretty good shape (post-Insanity, running, weightlifting), I am able to do all the complicated moves WRONG but am strong enough to overcome it.

It other words, I power through the wrong movements so unless there are people nearby telling me I’m a retard, I sometimes ending up doing the details wrong.

Running: I am training for my 28th marathon (Seattle) on Dec. 1. So I run 4 times a week, the most significant being the Saturday runs which are running into the 20-mile range (no pun intended but a welcome surprise!)

(.. cool selfie until you realize that is slobber all over my chin … lovely…)

Once the marathon is done, I plan to cut my running significantly (e.g. ZEROish) so that I can do more Insanity (I know, but are you really going to grab that low-hanging fruit? Of course you are…)

Gym: I pay Planet Fitness $10 a month and not only do I feel obligated to get there at least twice a week, I kind of like my routine that I do there (Warm-up, 1-mile treadmill run, biceps, triceps, all the ab machines, shoulders, chest, back, pull-ups, dips, cool down). The drawback is that it takes a couple of hours. And because I go mid-morning, I have to see an endless parade of half-hearted moms and a geriatric crowd that can only be described as “Cocoonish.”

Insanity: I have done the Insanity program 4 times through and now my beautiful wife and I are leading an Insanity Growth Group class for our church. That means I do a workout exactly once per week which also means, I am tortured in a way that only doing an Insanity workout once a week can produce. Exquisite soreness.

(.. and YOUR workout is my spleen being launched out of my ass…)

As mentioned above, I plan to start the entire program again AFTER I finish the marathon because doing that while I was training… come on, I am CRAZY, not … crazy crazy…(nor am I “cray-cray,” as my son blubbered before I slapped him upside the head…)

Finally, The Hike. I hike with my dog every Friday. This is a good way to stretch and rest the legs before the big Saturday runs and I liked it so much, I made it into another Growth Group for my church. Unfortunately only one person agrees that taking your dog into the woods on late October mornings is a good idea. Toby seems not to mind.

(.. I had no idea how this picture would turn out when I took it… the sun was in my eyes… duh…)

So there it is, my training. Maybe it’s just cathartic to write it out, or to start my blog again, or wallow in the process that is bellying up to the keyboard and doing a good old-fashioned mind dump. But there it is, some of the contents of my skull today.

Lucky you.

Referenced Used:
For the days between dates calculation, I used http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html
For the spelling of “Paul Bunyan,” I used Google. (I got it right, BTW…)
For the Cocoon reference, I searched Google for “wilford brimley movie old people.” (I couldn’t remember the movie…)

Free Advice for Today: “Ever so often push your luck.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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Highs (productivity) and Lows (blogging platform)

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Quote of the Day: “An artist never really finishes his work, he merely abandons it.”

- Paul Valery

 

Last night something awesome happened….

GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER!

As I was saying, last night rocked. Why? Because I got stuff done. I mean I REALLY got stuff done and in the process, I made some discoveries I will now share:

I KNEW I was being held back by me, myself, and I. If you have ever read Getting Things Done, you will understand what I knew but was too stupid to do anything about …. until LAST NIGHT.

You see, I am good at outlining personal projects (knowing WHAT to do), but the execution has always lacked. Then it gets stacked. Then it gets clogged and I find myself with a ton of stuff I WANT to do, but I never actually get to the actual doing because, and here is the kicker, I am paralyzed by the sheer number of things in the hopper.

Also, I tend to get obsessive and do idiot things like stay up all night, get all pissed, and not receive one little morsel of satisfaction even if I put all my might into a project. What does that cause? You guessed it, MORE inaction.

I realize this is nothing new and David Allen has told me as much every time I take the time to read his book.

Back to last night: I broke through. I cleaned up my office and threw away a bunch of stuff (felt REALLY good.) I then organized my projects, made piles of stuff to read, and actually felt good about the state of my “open loops” or things I have committed to.

It. Was. So. FREEING!

I also found this little jewel that I will give a shout out. It is called “Lift” and it’s an iPhone app that simply tracks the number of times you do something. It’s a habit-forming approach and the idea is that you commit to something and then each day, you click off if you did it. It tracks your streaks and gives you a little report of how you are doing.

My initial categories were:

Tell My Wife I Love Her
Write a blog post
30-60 minutes of reading
Write todo lists
Exercise
Brush your teeth in the morning*
Brush your teeth at night*

*I originally had those last two but then I realized I already had those habits down so I could remove them. If you put in habits you already do, then it is just a pain in the ass to keep updated and you don’t get that little thrill of checking it off (which, truth be told, is the real secret of all this.)

Today, I added “Practice Guitar” and “Publish Blog Post” (which I realized I needed to separate from writing a post since they are two different actions I have an equal quantity of trouble keeping consistent.)

Yesterday I even hung up my last two marathon medals up on my wall and to give you an idea of how long overdue this was, they are from the 2011 New York Marathon and the 2012 Seattle Marathon.

Yeah, I know…

As these things go, and what causes me hesitation sometimes, it was pulling a string and the time-consuming follow up turned into a time vortex that unraveled thusly:

1. I need to put my racing bibs in my marathon scrapbook
2. Crap, where is my scrapbook…

What followed was a few hours of a very pissed off me, looking for my cherished marathon scrapbook. Finally found it in a box in the back of the closet (not where it was SUPPOSED to be…) and my office looks like it was hit by Hurricane Sandy…

3. Before I put it in the scrapbook, I need to write my time in Sharpie…

Crap, what was my time? I know it was just under 4 hours. I tried to Google it (surely my results would be part of the official results page, right?). No.

(Put picture of angry cat)

I finally had to go downstairs to the refrigerator and look at the magnet I got with my official time. Do you think that the fact that I had to actually do this pissed me off?

4. Well, now I need a picture so I can (someday) update my webpage (I make a page for every marathon).

5. I also need a picture of the medal, which I also put on the webpage, and I should do this before I hang the medal on the wall…

…continues to pull string….

To accomplish 4 and 5, I have to get my camera out and try to take good pictures of them which I find infinitely difficult for some reason. Then I have to plug in my camera, start the shitty software that came with it, and transfer what I hope are passable pictures.

6. Oh, but first I have to rotate the pictures,

7. crop them,

8. upload them to Flickr,

9. and then file them on my computer so I can possibly find them again one day (will never happen) when I need them.

10. Now I can finally tape the bib into the scrapbook (note that this is STEP 10!!!!!)

11. And I can pin the medal on the wall which requires me to …

12. …go downstairs to the garage to get a folding chair and…

13. …move mounds of crap so I can get up in that corner.

THIS is why I cannot get things done. Thirteen steps to check off ONE todo on my list; a list that has HUNDREDS of bright ideas.

Enough pissing and moaning. And now, buried way down here, some comments on tonight’s Seahawk game….

We played the Redskins in the first wildcard playoff game…. and beat them. Both teams had rookie quarterbacks that are setting all kinds of records but Washington’s RG3 hurt his knee (which looked totally gross in slow motion) and we continued our winning streak. Next week we go to Atlanta.

The impressive thing was that we broke a 29-year road playoff game losing streak AND we were behind 14-0 after the first quarter! Then we went on a 24 point unanswered points terror to win the game.

I am going to shave my goatee when one of two things happen:

1. We lose or,
2. We win the Super Bowl.

Here is what is at stake, people:

Lastly, I will finish up with this little passion play. I got done with my blog entry and published it earlier tonight. My son came in and informed me that the background was not rendering properly.

Looking into it, he was right and he helped me do a little digging where we found that my “On This Day” function to my page was crapping out and it caused everything after it (practically my entire sidebar) to also do said crapping.

We tweaked around on it for awhile but in the end, we could not get it to work (nor its updated version) so I had to conclude that…

1. WordPress sucks ass
2. I can still blow most of a perfectly good night fiddling and getting highly pissed at coding
3. I can piss my son off by my own pissiness
4. My dog can slink downstairs as I raise my voice to my computer

I really don’t understand why something that worked for YEARS suddenly DOESN’T. The only thing I did was, and stand by for this level of stupidity, UPDATED THE WORDPRESS VERSION. Obviously this “improvement” made my “On This Day” function implode into so many bastard asshole pieces, never to work again without a total redesign and recoding of my blog.

So, after wasting the night (mostly), skipping dinner, making my son (and probably the wife) wondering why I am borderline insane, and scaring the dumbass dog, the best I end up with is a blog that is back to mostly normal, minus the sidebar function of providing links to past entries that share the same month and day as the current post.

And I wonder why things get procrastinated around here…..

Free Advice for Today: “Don’t let weeds grow around your dreams.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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Blogception

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Quote of the Day: “TV is chewing gum for the eyes.”

- Frank Lloyd Wright

 

This might be a first… a catch-up blog that references the last major entry in my blog which, stay with me here, is actually a catch up blog in itself. Oooooh, it’s blogception!

So if you want to walk with me here, you are going to have to go back and read THIS BLOG ENTRY.

Caught up?

No, you are not. That’s why I’m writing this today: to catch you up from that catch-up attempt. Silly, isn’t it?

OK, so I went with the bulletized laziness last time and I think I will put that approach back to work because I am STILL a lazy-ass writer but more importantly, I think it works for this stupid catch-up dumbassery…

Here is how it will work:

I know you didn’t go back and read that whole entry so I will repost each bullet and then catch it up. The original will be in BOLD and my updates will be normal. Well, as normal as it gets in my world…

“I am currently a Project Coordinator for PACCAR. What does that mean? It means I didn’t quite have enough juice to be a Project Manager and am in a supporting role until I get a call to the Big Show. I am the Project Plan Whisperer and will be getting “Microsoft Project 2010” tattooed on my chest very soon.”

I am not a Project Coordinator now. Hell, I’m not even with PACCAR anymore. I launched the dream, people! I walked into HR one day and looked a nice lady in the eye, and slammed down my two weeks. Why did I do this? Some reasons I will talk about but some I won’t. What I will say is that I discovered I cannot live in a Dilbert Hellscape. I cannot sit in a cloth cubicle in a sea of cloth cubicles with my computer and phone and live like a drone. I just can’t. More on what I am doing later.

“I was a Production Analyst for Kenworth (same corporate company) which meant I was on the production floor all day being “The Man” oppressing the “Working Man.” Some saw me as this, some saw me as someone who actually gave a shit about them. Opinions vary. I did that for a year before landing a job at the IT Department.”

I still keep in contact with all of ONE person from these days. I think about many of them often and hope that my success will be a source of motivation and happiness for them but I can’t help but feel like I escaped a type of prison and I left quite a few people sentenced to stay there pretty much forever.

“I am also the COO of UrbanHarvest, a startup that is building greenhouses on flat-top buildings in urban areas and growing lettuce to sell hyperlocally. No, I am not growing pot. Yes, we won the UW Business Plan Competition (the Heisman of entrepreneurialism in Seattle) and are on track to be super-successful (little known business vernacular for “we blowin’ up, yo!”)”

THIS is what I left PACCAR for and although not as much has happened to it as we had hoped, it is still moving along. We have meetings with all kinds of interested parties and our latest project will be explained very soon.

“I bought a small hydroponic setup and put it up in my backyard. I have killed the first 4 crops but am narrowing down the reasons I am killing the innocent lettuce seedlings. Soon I might have enough to garnish. I would rather kill these guys in my backyard than in a greenhouse. My new job will be to set up the growing operation. Then it will be to teach someone else to do it. Then, eventually, it will be to supervise farmers at our different greenhouses. Do, teach, supervise. I know, crazy approach, but I want to wake up each morning NOT to go to work but rather go to my passion.”

The new plan is to build a small greenhouse in my backyard. This will accomplish a few key steps for the business:

1. We will grow lettuce and sell it at Farmers Markets in the area. This will establish our brand.
2. Once we make a certain amount of profit as a business, we are eligible for government funds we can use to expand.
3. I get to take my learning lumps in a small greenhouse rather than a fully sized rooftop farm.
4. Um, PROFIT! Hello!
5. We can experiment with different growing approaches and products to find the optimum growing conditions and inventory.

“I just finished the Insanity workout with my wife. Go ahead and finish your snide remarks… you done? OK, like I was saying, I’m halfway through my SECOND trip through this little joy called Insanity. Really? More jokes? Done? It is an intense 60 day program I do in my garage and I got through day 50 last time before forming plantar fasciitis for the first time in my life. I lost 17 lbs and gave it a couple of months rest before going at it again. I’m not much for leaving the score 0-1 with ANYTHING! So, yeah, it’s killing me but it’s killing my wife less and that is causing my killing to be of a worse variety. Kill.”

Like I pointed out, I finished my second trip through Insanity and turned right to running, training for the Seattle Marathon. Everything was going great until I hyper-extended my knee doing some P90X leg kicks with my church group. That caused more than a little pissed off days as my training plans once again took a header into a large pile of shit.

ouch

(OK, this is not my knee and mine wasn’t this bad but I felt like I needed your attention at this point…)

The end result was that I gutted through a grueling marathon with a pitiful 5+ hour marathon, my 27th overall. Oh well, I got the bling for it.

Then I got another one of my great ideas: I will give myself a one week rest and then get back to the Insanity workouts. But because I am not very smart, I decided that one through again was not enough and I committed to doing TWO cycles, back to back. That’s right, DOUBLE INSANITY!

What was my logic? Well, if I am not some kind of training plan, I will not stay consistent. If I say, “I will just get to the gym a few times a week because I don’t want to run in the cold” … I won’t do anything. I will degenerate into a lump of snack-eating gluttony and self-hate.

Since Insanity is a 60-day program, I thought that if I do it twice, back to back, that would take me through the cold winter and I should be in top shape by the time spring rolls around when I can get back outside and run again.

Sounds sensible to me. But then again, we are talking a double dose of a program that has proven it can kick my ass 17 times and twice on Sunday. (Actually, Sunday is the day of rest so my cliche’s wheels kind of fell off there…)

I am now currently on day 34 which also happens to be the last day of the middle recovery week (between the two intense phases) so starting next week, it kicks into high gear and for a month, I slam my poor body in a way that makes last month seem like stretch time in kindergarten.

“I’m also a Beachbody.com coach now. Let me explain that one: I wanted the shake mix they sell and it was cheaper overall to become a coach and buy it at a discount that to buy it outright so, yeah, I’m a coach. I’m not all that interested in the business side so my approach is “buy my shit or I’ll never talk to you again.” I don’t know why no one has bought anything yet.”

Nothing has happened on the coach front except me paying $15 a month for cheaper shakes. I am still drinking my breakfast each day (I know that sounds bad, especially from someone who is technically unemployed, but it’s a healthy, all-encompassing brown sludge to start out each day.)

“My son is currently working as an intern at my work so we carpool every day and shoot home for lunch together. It’s not a very big deal for me, I hardly think about it. I never was the one to be sentimental when it came to my kids and riding and working with one of them is just a passing consideration.”

Alex finished his internship and packed away all the money he earned for his college. That boy makes me proud! Now he is back in school and still working at the movie theater which means I am still getting free movies like you read about!

“My wife is no longer working at Spank of America which is good because they suck. She left to work for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Basically, the fund collects donations and distributes money to Marines in need who were wounded in combat. Carrie is a caseworker, works from home, and is basically a professional Guardian Angel. You know when people say you should do something for a living that you would do for free? She does. And has. She volunteered for the same program when we lived in San Diego years ago. She rocks.”

Carrie, also referred to as “Long-Suffering-Wife” in this blog, is still doing her Guardian Angel thing and as far as I can discern from her phone calls, she is pretty good at it.

She is also remaining very understanding with my general unemployment and believes, as do I, that UrbanHarvest is going to be a huge success soon.

“We have a new dog. Buster died and I can prove this because I have his ashes in my living room. Hey, calm down, they are in a vase! Toby looks similar and we claim he is a curly-tailed wiener-beagle. In reality, we don’t know what he is because we got him for free at a 7-11 (no, not on the shelves, it just happened we met a lady who was trying to find a home for the little idiot.). Boy, did he get lucky. He is treated like a king, of course. He’s an idiot.”

Toby continues to be an idiot. His highlight of each week is the 2-3 hour nature hike we take each Friday. This dog is the most affectionate dog I have ever met. He naps and sleeps cuddled up with me. (Yes, I still nap just about every day because, how do I put this …. I CAN!)

“I’m trying to get back into Getting Things Done (GTD). The irony of trying to get back to productivity is not lost on me. But I am still making lists and reading books like “168 Hours.”

This continues to be a challenge and most frustrating is the fact that I have more time than ever and still can’t seem to get on track with this. But hope springs eternal and I keep chipping away at it.

While writing this blog, I have been sampling my last entry and realize I didn’t even bring up my lovely daughter so I will rectify that right now:

Steph graduated high school in 2012 and was accepted to both the University of Washington main campus and the Bothell campus. She chose the Bothel campus for the smaller venue but will likely move to the main campus her last two years. My wallet is sobbing but she is riding a full scholarship thus far so all is well.

Oh yeah, and she nailed a 3.9 GPA in her first college quarter. That’s my girl.

She is also working at Starbucks so, yeah, free coffee.

There were a few more bullets on that last blog but, as I am trying to solve the verbose writing thing I have had going since I could write, I think I will cut off around here so I can get this published. Believe me, there is more going on but I think this gives a decent catch up of where I am now and maybe I can free myself up a little to post daily.

Free Advice for Today: “Always compliment flower gardens and new babies.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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Wiseassery Once Again: The Beginning…Again

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Quote of the Day: “To be poor and dependent is very nearly an impossibility.”

- William Cobbett

 

Hi there.

Well, I guess it’s time for my every-six-months update. Because it’s a new year and that means a new start, right?

This is a well-travelled road and if you are reading this, you know the formula. I will bitch and moan about not keeping up with my blog and then I will publish this and then disappear for who knows how long. I might even promise not to but if my past behavior is any indication, I really do not have one, or even two legs to stand on. I hope not and that’s all I can logically promise.

I guess the question needs to be addressed: should I even blog any more, as scant as my entries have been notwithstanding? I mean, is blogging dead?

One of the reasons I have discovered for the slow demise of blogging as a concept (there, I said it, as painful as that is to admit), has a lot to do with social media these days. Short, concise entries in Facebook and the even more restrictive Twitter have not only replaced the mental energy to blog (hard to do both consistently), but it has stunted the general audiences attention span.

It’s no secret that I write verbosely. It’s one of the reasons I turned to blogging but that style has gone OUT of style, replaced by 180 characters worth of pithy mind flashes, void of much deep meaning.

There is a place for that so don’t get me wrong. One of the things that both blogging and social media mind-dumping have in common and that I find it immensely interesting is that both enable the writer to go back and relive memories that, in normal circumstances, probably wouldn’t be revisited for the rest of the writer’s life. And when enough time goes by, one forgets and it is like reading and experiencing new adventures experienced by someone else.

And if you are entertained by this, is it not worth spending some time every day capturing? I look at it as an investment in my future entertainment.

Although Facebook and Twitter can technically fill this purpose, I don’t think many people use it as such. How many of you go back and read any of your social media posts? I don’t and one of the reasons is that new material comes at me so fast from others, I never get the chance to ponder some of my old stuff.

But I do this, some times more than others, with my blog. I normally will look up the very calendar day, in years past, that corresponds to the current date and I “see” what I was doing on this day in the past years. It’s kind of a fun exercise to look at my life through the years using the date as a starting point.

With all of that said, I will once again attempt to reboot my blog and see how far I can take this. I have explained a few times how I set this process up but it is necessary to understand if the rest of my situation is to make sense.

I have Word files. Lots of them. I have “Blog 2009,” “Blog 2010,” “Blog 2011,” “Blog 2012,” and now, yes, the newly created “Blog 2013.”

Now, all these files are a series of the rough drafts of my entries have date labels with partially written blogs for most days. Some are blank, some have a few words that are supposed to remind myself of what happened that day, some of them have short synopses, and some have full blown entries.

But what all of them have in common is this: none of them are published on my blog.

I know, it’s a damn shame. A hidden treasure (if I say so myself, and I DO!)

This causes an interesting situation: do I pick up where I left off (2009ish!) or start now (like I did today) and let the gap just fester out there.

This simple question is probably what has caused the drought. I feel like I am abandoning so much of my life and so much of the writing that has been even partially done.

But it is exactly this that has thrown sand in the gearworks of the blog. It stopped it cold and continues to prevent my progress.

So here is yet another plan (I should start numbering these…), um, 7.05… I will just write and publish every day. Something is better than nothing so that is obviously an important part of the plan.

Second, I will ATTEMPT the famous “Jason Grose Butterfly” method. That means in addition to my daily offering, I will go back and publish ANY other entry (preferably along the timeline I left off in previous years).

Logically, I will catch up eventually. I mean, if I do more than ONE per day, mathematics dictate that I should eventually catch up. It might take years but it’s progress and at this point, that is just about the only thing I can expect out of myself.

So, I still have a lot to say but the length of this post is getting into the ridiculous range. Tomorrow, I will take care of some of the catching-up gap filler in order to bring everyone up to speed, at least to the point where my ramblings actually have some form of context associated with them.

For now, whew, there it is, my first blog entry in 6 months and the first of 2013.

Free Advice for Today: “Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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I’m Baaaaaaack!!!!!!! (again)

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Quote of the Day: “Be sure your wisest words are those you do not say.”

- Robert W. Service

 

This whole blog thing, it’s so, oh, I don’t know, so 2000s. (Still haven’t figured out how to aptly refer to 2000-2009! Don’t EVEN give me “naughts!”)

OK, I’m back.

What, I’ve said that before? I know but do you want me back or not? That is an interesting question since I always fake my way back and then inevitably disappoint my hordes of followers.

Both of them.

And even they have probably jumped the proverbial ship too. So I might be blogging to just myself but so what, isn’t that what’s it’s mostly to be? NO! I want millions and millions of followers so that I can get comments and emails that I will also disappoint the masses by “getting to some day.”

I suck.

But be that as it may, I need to figure out how in the bloody hell I’m going to catch up to bring me to this point? How far do I go back? So much has happened that maybe I should just go back and blog….NO!! I WILL NOT SUCCUMB TO THAT AGAIN. THAT’S WHAT GOT ME TO THIS POINT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!

So, it looks like I will just have to work my way backwards and try to resist getting too deep into any one topic. And if any of you know me, you know that will be simple Simon for me, right?

Obviously we have some new readers over here.

I’ll try. That’s all I can promise. So here we go.

(This calls for ….. BULLETS! The favorite approach of the lazy and unimaginative…)

- I am currently a Project Coordinator for PACCAR. What does that mean? It means I didn’t quite have enough juice to be a Project Manager and am in a supporting role until I get a call to the Big Show. I am the Project Plan Whisperer and will be getting “Microsoft Project 2010” tattooed on my chest very soon.

- I was a Production Analyst for Kenworth (same corporate company) which meant I was on the production floor all day being “The Man” opressing the “Working Man.” Some saw me as this, some saw me as someone who actually gave a shit about them. Opinions vary. I did that for a year before landing a job at the IT Department.

- I am also the COO of UrbanHarvest, a startup that is building greenhouses on flat-top buildings in urban areas and growing lettuce to sell hyperlocally. No, I am not growing pot. Yes, we won the UW Business Plan Competition (the Heisman of entrepreneurialism in Seattle) and are on track to be super-successful (little known business vernacular for “we blowin’ up, yo!”)

- I bought a small hydroponic setup and put it up in my backyard. I have killed the first 4 crops but am narrowing down the reasons I am killing the innocent lettuce seedlings. Soon I might have enough to garnish. I would rather kill these guys in my backyard than in a greenhouse. My new job will be to set up the growing operation. Then it will be to teach someone else to do it. Then, eventually, it will be to supervise farmers at our different greenhouses. Do, teach, supervise. I know, crazy approach, but I want to wake up each morning NOT to go to work but rather go to my passion.

- I just finished the Insanity workout with my wife. Go ahead and finish your snide remarks… you done? OK, like I was saying, I’m halfway through my SECOND trip through this little joy called Insanity. Really? More jokes? Done? It is an intense 60 day program I do in my garage and I got through day 50 last time before forming plantar fasciitis for the first time in my life. I lost 17 lbs and gave it a couple of months rest before going at it again. I’m not much for leaving the score 0-1 with ANYTHING! So, yeah, it’s killing me but it’s killing my wife less and that is causing my killing to be of a worse variety. Kill.

 

(Doughy to sweaty, mmmm, sexy, I know.)

- I’m also a Beachbody.com coach now. Let me explain that one: I wanted the shake mix they sell and it was cheaper overall to become a coach and buy it at a discount that to buy it outright so, yeah, I’m a coach. I’m not all that interested in the business side so my approach is “buy my shit or I’ll never talk to you again.” I don’t know why no one has bought anything yet.

- My daughter graduated high school on her 18th birthday last month and is now working at Starbucks’s. Yes, I get free drinks. But note that I am paying for most of her college (UW Bothell where she will be attending in the Fall.)

- OK, she won a $10K scholarship from my work to pay for her first year of college so technically, I’m only paying for EVERYTHING ELSE IN HER LIFE.

- My son is currently working as an intern at my work so we carpool every day and shoot home for lunch together. It’s not a very big deal for me, I hardly think about it. I never was the one to be sentimental when it came to my kids and riding and working with one of them is just a passing consideration.

- The last line is packed full of lies. (except for the internship.) I love my kids even more than their mother. OK, maybe that was a bad comparison (and a worse double meaning. Let me tack on “does” after “mother.” Thanks.) but you get the idea. Anyone that knows me knows I am THAT dad when it comes to my kids. I still hug and kiss my son and he towers over me at about 6’1”. But I blew a disc a few years back so, you know, he wins by technicality.

- My wife is no longer working at Spank of America which is good because they suck. She left to work for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Basically, the fund collects donations and distributes money to Marines in need who were wounded in combat. Carrie is a caseworker, works from home, and is basically a professional Guardian Angel. You know when people say you should do something for a living that you would do for free? She does. And has. She volunteered for the same program when we lived in San Diego years ago. She rocks.

- We have a new dog. Buster died and I can prove this because I have his ashes in my living room. Hey, calm down, they are in a vase! Toby looks similar and we claim he is a curly-tailed wiener-beagle. In reality, we don’t know what he is because we got him for free at a 7-11 (no, not on the shelves, it just happened we met a lady who was trying to find a home for the little idiot.). Boy, did he get lucky. He is treated like a king, of course. He’s an idiot.

- My brother lived with me for 7 months but now he has his own house and I have my office back. Never underestimate the value of a man-cave.

- I’m trying to get back into Getting Things Done (GTD). The irony of trying to get back to productivity is not lost on me. But I am still making lists and reading books like “168 Hours.”

- I cracked a molar clean in half, exposing the raw nerve from the side while eating a freedom fry when my wife and I were eating a celebratory rib dinner (new job!). The kicker is that we have no dental insurance because we dropped mine when she got better coverage at Spank of America. But she left that job and not only does her new job not have a dental plan, but the enrollment period for mine does not start until the new year. So it’s during that time period that my tooth decides to just fall apart. Good thing it didn’t hurt that much. Only enough to make me writhe in pain. I went to the VA hospital the next day (why not try?) and was witness to the saddest collection of heroes imaginable. VA hospitals are not anyone’s “Happy Place.” They put in a temporary filling that I hope will last until early next year. That daily uncertainty of immediate and debilitating pain at any moment is just a little slice of joy for me. Life goes on…

- I’m studying Management Science (optimization based on constraints and such.) It was a class I LOVED in grad school a decade ago and now reared its potentially ugly head again. With the right tools and knowledge, I can optimize UrbanHarvest growing cycles. This will allow me to become independently wealthy and do things like … study Management Science-like stuff. Wow, sometimes looking in the mirror is a bit scary.

- My father-in-law and son helped me build a cover for half my backyard deck. OK, let me correct that: my son and I helped my father-in-law build a cover for half my backyard deck. We did a lot of work, he did more, and being the master craftsman that he is, he did it all without a single drawing. We now have a $700 deck cover that is worth many more times than that if you figure in what the labor would have cost if I had not met a beautiful young lady in 1987 and fooled her into becoming my Long-Suffering-Wife.

- I’m moving my wake-up time back a little bit each week. Now that I have sane hours at work (8-5), I can get up and have a morning time block just for me. First week was walking the dog and sipping coffee in my peaceful backyard. Second week is the same but 15 minutes earlier (0615) and a longer walk for the idiot. (Toby, not me. Well, I guess I am walking too… this went bad, quick.) Soon, I will probably incorporate a short run and maybe some reading and writing.

- I am wearing reading glasses now. Turns out I am not immortal. Who knew?

- In the last two weeks I have watched the following movies with my kids because they had never seen them and that is pretty much a crime: Rudy, Batman (first Christian Bale offering in prep for the 3rd in the trilogy coming out), and last night, Fight Club. I think every red-blooded American man wants to be Brad Pitt in this. Certainly not Meatloaf with bitch-tits.

- My Microsoft Outlook email stopped working so rather than going through the red-assing of fixing it, I made the move to Gmail. It was more than a little scary. I imported all my old mail, my sent mail, my calendar, and my contacts. It’s really werid to be totally on Gmail now. (FYI, my email will still look like it is from and to Jason@grose.us so don’t’ be confused. Too late? Dang.)

- I burned my arm with 2nd degree burns taking a turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes Smart One out of the microwave last week. More irony.

There are tons and tons and tons that I have not let you in on but that is the reason I need to get this blog going again. Too much passes by without ever being captured and then it is lost in the sands of time. Like I always said, I need to record as much as I can because when I get old and senile, this will all be new shit!

Oh, yeah, and I am a returning Christian again so I am working on the language, outlook, and overall approach to life. I like to run in the desert but I don’t like the prospect of, you know, burning in Hell for eternity. And most of what I have outlined above all came about when I finally made an effort to return to my Christian roots.

If you are still reading this, you might need help. I have been known to be a little …. verbose. But that’s what rocks about writing blogs: you can write to your heart’s content and if people want to read it all, fine. If not, fine. But for those who stuck with me, let me just sum up how life is going right now.

Life is good. As a family, we started almost 25 years ago with nothing, spent over 20 years working our way up the military ladder, fell from grace a little when the economic downturn ate our lunch as we got out of the Service, and are now skyrocketing up higher than we ever imagined.

Now if I can just stop burning my arms and cracking my teeth apart…..

Free Advice for Today: “Don’t insist on running someone else’s life.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

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Buster, Version 2.0: Mr. Pickles?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

- Margaret Thatcher

Well, it’s been awhile since Buster has passed but it still stings. The quietness of the house when we come home. The expected foot hazard when we are in the kitchen that’s not there. The unexplained stains on the carpet (WHAT would make THAT color?!)

Carrie wants to wait at least a year. Not really as a mourning period but to be dog-free for a year. Don’t get me wrong, Carrie loved that little knucklehead like the dickens (that phrase cracks me up) but having a dog is a lot of work, physically, emotionally, financially, homicidally (or, more correctly, the lack thereof), etc. So she wanted a little break before we make the obligation yet again.

But me, yeah, I’d go get a puppy tomorrow.

In fact, I already have his name: Mr. Pickles.

This has become a running joke around the house. I think it came from a commercial or something but now, every time I see a puppy, I say “Momma! Mr. Pickles” and she follows right away with “Nooooooo, not Mr. Pickles.”

I have even started to refer to him as though we already had him.

Carrie squashes this at every opportunity.

I will wear her down.

Meanwhile, we made a collage for Buster. I had the kids pick out their favorite pictures of him, 5 each, and we made prints. We whittled them down to what we could fit in a collage and here is the final product.

We keep it in the corner with his ashes.

RIP, Buster.

Free Advice for Today: “Spend some time alone.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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I Suck

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

- Salvador Dali

Dudes are so bad at Mother’s Day. I mean, I know I could and should do better but I always seem to punt this one into the stands.

I guess starting off the day with the statement “What? You’re not MY mother…” was a bad initial move.

You see, back in the day when the kids were still shitting their pants, yeah, I had a big role in doing the M-Day festivities because a crayon drawing and a dandeline from the yard from the kids just didn’t cut it.

But now, they are teens and they have money. So you know what that means? They can take care of the Mother’s Day thing themselves.

OK, so my argument falls apart in a few places here. First, the whole “You’re not MY mother” thing comes back to bite me in the ass around Father’s Day. Goose and gander type stuff. (Although she never follows through with the threat of leaving Father’s Day empty because she is my wife and that’s how she rolls.)

Then there is the fact that she takes care of MY mother’s card-and-gift festivities every year, even though she is not HER mother. Yeah, I got nothing for that.

Then finally, there is this concept that Mother’s Day does not exclusively include mothers and their brats. It is a celebration of motherhood and I guess I could look at it as her giving life to my children, pushing a human being through ….., er, never mind, and raising them to be incredible human beings.

But still, there I am on Sunday morning with the hundreds of other dads in my neighborhood feverishly finding something at the store.

Yeah, I suck.

Free Advice for Today: “Stop and watch a farmer plowing a field.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Thank You for the Thank You!

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”

- Anton Chekhov

A few weeks ago, I sent a package to a good friend who is serving in Afghanistan. I had written about the coffee I was sending her here.

I also had sent her other Seattle standards like Applets and Cottlets (the gelatinous nastiness that you either love or hate … I hate them), a CD of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Sir-Mix-A lot, a Seattle mug, a book, and some assorted candy.

Today, I got the sheet you see at the top of this post in the mail.

What a great gesture that they would think of me and send me this. I was touched that she would take the trouble to get the signatures and send it to me, seeing how she is, like, you know, in a war and stuff.

Tragically, I found out that one of these pilots who signed this was killed shortly after she sent me this picture. War’s a bitch and it was rather creepy when I found out that he had died in combat.

Fair winds and following seas, Warrior.

Free Advice for Today: “Don’t major in minor things.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Squakin’ With My Lady

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.”

- Jodie Foster

Looking for a “Friday” thing to do, I came up with one of my favorites: going for a hike. It was a beautiful day and the wife was game so I thought heading out to Squak Mountain would be a good idea.

It’s always strange to take anyone to a place where you usually go all alone. Normally, it’s just me and my headphones for this hike and it takes me a little over an hour to hike up it (bastard elevation!) and then I run down it, gangbusters style, trying not to kill myself.

Since Carrie was along with me, I acted as tour guide. How much tour guiding can you do on a forest hike? Anyone who knows me knows that answer: plenty.


“This is the tree with a V trunk where I stop and rest because of the steep incline. I look for it going up and coming down.”

“This is the Haunted Forest. There must have been a fire awhile back and everything is growing back. It looks like the forest behind Hogwarts.”

“This is a gate where horses can’t get through. So no more horseshit to look for after this point.”

“This is the enormous outdoor fireplace that looks left over from a house. The sign says ‘No Fires.’”

“This is the top where there is nothing but an antenna farm. I normally take a piss, retie my shoes, and down a Gu before heading down.”

On the way down, there wasn’t much talking. Since we ran single file and were busy pretty much trying not to fall on our faces, I just plugged into my music and enjoyed the ride down.

Great hike but tomorrow, I know my quads will be screaming. Maybe that’s why they call it “Squak.”

Free Advice for Today: “Never miss a chance to dance with your wife.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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