Tag Archives: essay

Those first few weeks

Me, pretending that I don’t, in fact, want to drink an entire bottle of wine with my large frozen pizza after that goddamn run.

I’m a multi-sport athlete.

I run, bike, cross-country ski, and in my “down” time, I sail, hike, lift weights…

I go.

I do all this stuff because it gets me out into the wide world, where the act of propelling myself merges with the beauty around me and helps me find joy, God, the sheer exultation of being.

And though I’ve been active like this regularly for nearly a half-decade, I have a confession:

The first few weeks of a new season suck.

They suck big, hairy donkey balls.

A little afternoon torture session

I went for my first run in a while today.

Oh, fuck me.

Windy. Cold. Tired. Sore. Runny nose. Need to poop. Whiny. Cold-sweaty. Icy puddles.

And my body isn’t used to moving that way anymore.

We’ve been doing this thing on skis for the last several months, and now you’re asking for what???

My brain, on the other hand, is all like, “Dude. Yesterday you skied 15k. You tellin’ me you can’t jog a measly 5k today? Pffft.”

Shut up, brain.

Be gentle with yourself

It takes time for the body to adjust.

It takes time for the mind to adjust.

It takes time for the spirit to adjust.

When you’re starting a new endeavor, be it sport, business, relationship, job, adventure… give yourself time.

Savor the transition.

Drink a lot of water, and a little wine.

Stretch.

Eat well.

Enjoy your time as a beginner (again).

Keep Fucking Going

This is a note I wrote to myself. But I’m going to share it with you, because just like me, you look like you could use a little motivational kick in the ass, too.

Don’t worry that it’s about writing, because it’s really not. It’s really about anything that’s big, scary, hard. Maybe you’re working on your relationship with someone; Maybe you’re trying to lose weight; Pay down debt; Stay out of the snowbank on turn three of the ice track…

It doesn’t matter. This is for you.

Continue reading Keep Fucking Going

Objective media is bullshit, and that’s ok

or, why Fox News might not be *so* bad

We’ve all heard a lot about “media bias” lately, and that’s a really tricky — and incredibly important — topic.

We can all agree that it’s good to know what’s going on in the world, and to base decisions on information that is as accurate as possible. We can also probably agree that by increasing the accuracy of our information, we inherently increase it’s complexity. Along the way, we each reach the point of information saturation and stop trying to drink directly from the fire hose. Instead, we start looking for someone else who’s willing to aggregate, analyze, and compress information for us. Enter the media.

Let’s face facts: there’s no such thing as “objective journalism.” Every camera is pointed in some direction. Every video is edited. Every reporter, editor, and producer acts as a filter for the information they pass along. There is, however, plenty of room for the ideas – and practices! – of fairness (give all sides of an issue equal opportunity to make their case) and accuracy (tell it like it is, without spin, and fer Pete’s sake, check the facts!) in the media.

So where does that leave us? With a whole lot of sources of information that each have a particular slant and “flavor.” Are these sources biased? Uh, yeah. Is that a bad thing? Not as long as they try to be fair and accurate.

We’re all big boys and girls and can deal with bias. The evil that we really need to guard against is two-faced: On one side is compromised journalism (media not being fair and accurate); on the other is external control of the press (via consolidation, legislation, or intimidation).

This morning, Will Bunch at Philly.com has this to say about journalistic objectivity and claims of bias in the press:

“…my personal belief that the greatest role for journalists is not to make sure that every story has 50 percent of one side and 50 percent of the other side – but that the vital function for reporters is to preserve democracy and the freedom of the press, because without those freedoms a valid media would cease to exist. Yes, they’re voicing outrage today inside the sacred sanctuary of the Temple of Objective Journalism , where the celebrants nervously fingered their rosaries rather than confront the Constitutional bonfire that was building outside.

“But for eight years now, there’s been an out-of-control fire raging outside of that temple – a fire that was built upon the USA Patriot Act and Guantanamo and rendition and torture and signing statements and 16 words in a State of the Union Address. Ultimately, saving the last fabric of democracy is more important than worrying about what contrived commandments of journalism were stepped on while the blaze was finally extinguished.

“I myself would call it truth-telling, and honest journalism, but now we have some who want to call it ‘media bias.’ That’s fine with me, but understand this.

“’Media bias’ may have just saved America .

Read the rest of Will’s post…

Ethanol fuel = bad

E-85 is selling for $2.65 a gallon up here in Wistucky these days. It’s significantly cheaper than standard gas ($3.09 as of yesterday), but it has less available energy per unit than does petro-fuel, so consumers end up buying more of it. That means more land will go into corn production, more corn will get fermented, and more small towns will have their men and women-folk revert back to their vocational roots: moonshiners, albeit with government sanction this time.

It’s the land going into corn production that worries me; I’m all for more small-town moonshiners. Call me kooky, but I’d assume that the vast majority of land that gets converted to corn production, either from previously fallow land, or from a different crop, is going to be managed conventionally, ie. with insecticides and fertilizers based on petroleum. That’s a whole lot of petro-energy to put into growing a crop for bio-fuel. Then there’s additional energy input into the process when you talk about actually using the corn to produce ethanol. In fact, based on this study from the University of California at Berkley, we’d be better off putting the energy it takes to produce ethanol straight in the tanks of our SUVs.

While it’s true that ethanol burns significantly cleaner than petro-fuel, we’re just creating other problems (further degrading agricultural lands, skewed agricultural policy, and throwing away energy to make energy [ignorance of the laws of thermodynamics is no excuse!]) in our quest to mitigate one: global warming.

I’ll give you this: global warming is a potentially big problem. But does it make sense to keep rushing around with blinders on and creating more problems than we solve? I say we break with tradition, admit that we lost this round, and slow down while we figure out smart ways to mitigate the damage we’ve done while slowly, intelligently reversing the changes we’ve unwittingly engineered.

Something, but not an environmentalist, necessarily

Thinking about the world and my place in it, I’ve come to realize something: I’m not necessarily an environmentalist.

This may not come as a great shock to the folks who regularly spend time with me these days, but it was eye-opening for me. For the longest time, I’ve assumed I was an environmentalist, but I’m not sure I fit the bill anymore.

I’m all for clean air and clean water. I’m against corporate usury and greed. I think everyone should have a shot at the good life, provided they don’t trample other people in the process. I like to consider the downstream effects of my actions.

However.

People who drive 30 miles to work but think leaving their computer in “sleep” mode overnight is “wasteful” drive me nuts. People who preach about native vs. invasive species don’t see the forest for the trees. And folks who drive hybrid cars because they’re “saving oil” need to refresh their knowledge of physics, ecology, and economics.

Lately, “environmentalism” seems to have become just another way to sell stuff. You’ve got your “green” this and “organic” that, all significantly marked up because if it’s not expensive, it couldn’t possibly be good for the planet. What used to be people taking independent, thoughtful action has been co-opted by the suits at the corner of Wall Street and Madison Avenue.

No matter what label I use for myself (and why, really, do I feel the need to label myself?), there are a few things that I hold sacred. Critical thinking (especially when combined with common sense) is chief among those. Next comes justice, compassion, and personal responsibility. Only after that is a pristine environment any good to me, and really, shouldn’t that flow from the whole “critical thinking” bit?