jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
So, um, yesterday I bought a bike.

This was not something I'd ever intended to do.

and yet, here we are. )


Jan. 23rd, 2017 08:37 am
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
First day running since ... Coal Harbour, so, 2014. Mildly stiff, but no persistent difficulty breathing despite being out in just-over-freezing weather. Suspect my legs will not be best pleased by the standing desk today.

Also, my quest to become unrecognisable to everyone who's known me for a decade continues. It started with contact lenses in November. Now that my razor's died I'm experimenting with this whole "not shaving" thing. Should be interesting. So far it's been three days and I haven't quite felt the need to claw my face off.

Other than that this morning I've watered my plant and turned off some jerk's phone that wouldn't stop ringing, and now I get to go sit through an R&D meeting. I suspect that my motivation may be slipping.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Let's see.


Is doing fine after being nuked. He's gaining weight (anecdotally, he feels more substantial when I pick him up), there's been no cat yuke to clean up, and he just generally looks better than he has in months. I feel a little bad for not having caught it sooner... but it was a pretty gradual drop-off.


Is ... going. My knees (more accurately, between my knees and shins, on the inside of the leg) have started hurting, so I've had to cut back. This is deeply frustrating, in a HOW WILL I GET ANY BETTER IF I DON'T PUSH MYSELF kind of way. There's a good chance I need new shoes; will perhaps go get those this afternoon. My lungs remain terrible; I blame the humidity.

As far as running-related goals go, I'm pretty much guaranteed to miss them. 'Run 10k without stopping to walk' by next fall might be doable. '5k in 25 minutes' is almost certainly not. 'Run or swim [or other acceptable exercise] 3x/wk for six months' relies on not getting sick, hurt, or traveling someplace where it's difficult to get out, which is both unlikely and not entirely within my control. Oh well.


Bright and sunny and warm enough that I'm noticing the humidity: upper-twenties this week, supposed to break thirty next week. Ugh. I console myself by remembering that the highs here have been the *lows* in the DC area for the last couple of weeks.


Apartment-hunting has been fruitless so far.

Apparently pimento cheese is a Southern thing. [personal profile] uilos made some and took it somewhere as a snack earlier this week, and it was met with suspicion and confusion. Huh.

Is there a statute of limitations for when semi-unexpectedly encountering certain people makes one start twitching? Asking for a friend.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The thing about running is that I can see improvement on a week-to-week basis. I mean, what I mostly see is how I'm not there yet and taking forever to get there, but that's why I keep a log. I can look back and say that yeah, I'm getting somewhere. Where 'somewhere' is defined as 'running 5k [three miles plus a bit] in 37 minutes, including a two-minute walk at about the 25-minute mark, after four months of getting out at least twice a week.'

According to the couch-to-5k plan I ought to have been running the full 5k in thirty minutes by last month sometime. I blame my factory-second lungs.

On the other hand, where I'm at now would have been completely impossible four months ago, or even one month ago.

It's trite and cliche to say 'everybody's got their own pace for improvement' and 'keep going you'll get there.' Those never meant anything to me. Anything I couldn't do right the first time was a source of scorn: come on, you're smarter than that, etc.

It's nice to have something that I'm a) awful at, b) allowed to be awful at, and c) less awful at than I used to be.

Wisdom from Twitter, original sources sadly misplaced:
  • Whenever God closes a door, he opens a window. Because God doesn't really understand how doors work.
  • Ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Johnny Cash, and Bob Hope. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.
  • It never gets any easier. You just get more data points for how well you can stick with it.

101 in 1001 update )


Apr. 17th, 2013 08:47 am
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
The real problem with being sick is that it's entirely thrown me off my running. I was doing alright for the first week of April. Now I can't even take a deep breath without coughing, or even stand at my desk for several hours without getting light-headed and needing to sit down for a bit. Makes it hard to keep up any kind of pace.

It's been pretty bright out lately, which is nice even if I'm still coming to terms with the sun being up at seven PM. I just got used to it being dark at four-thirty and now they have to go and change it on me. Stupid seasons.

Media... dug into The Cloud Roads a couple of days ago. Even in my somewhat muzzy-headed state it's quite enjoyable. On advice/praise from a wide variety of people including [livejournal.com profile] daghain, [personal profile] silmaril, everyone at LG&M, and my friend Kosh from junior high, we watched the first episode of The Wire a couple of weeks ago. I immediately ordered the complete series DVDs. This looks like exactly the kind of in-depth storytelling I'm looking for.

The last of the immigration paperwork is off to the immigration lawyer, so there's that. Now we just wait for some amount of time which will probably be less than a year, and we're permanent residents and can start the much more involved citizenship process.

101 in 1001 update )
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
First and foremost, I/we have ESTABLISHED A PLAN by which, once the immigration stuff is done and the income situation is a bit more stable, I can take some unspecified amount of time off. Said time will be used primarily for actual vacation, and also writing, and generally recuperating from burnout. Downside: this is at least a year away, and probably more like two.

This morning I donated to the Chicago Teachers Union, who've gone on strike as of this morning. I have no kids; I'll never have kids; I still think that education "reform" is among the worst things to come out of the last ten (or thirty) years. Bonus reading: Why the Chicago Teachers Union is striking; Everything You've Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong.

In running news I made it around Lost Lagoon and back home today, for a total of 1.8 miles according to GMap Pedometer, without stopping to walk. 20 minutes running. "Running," rather, not much faster than a walk for the last five-plus, and I remain a crap runner of the "gasping for breath the whole way" variety. Still. It's a thing, and it's faster improvement than I've seen before.

And I clicked the button to list myself as "Going" to a local [REDACTED] event tomorrow night. Eep.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
So, I'm running again.

I started running in spring 2006 for reasons that can only be described as Awful. Thing is, even if the reasons are bad, the health benefits are real. People tell me exercise is good for fighting depression. Plus I like being able to fit into certain shirts, and I like being able to sprint back to the game store to pick up my hat when I forget it.

The big obstacle has always been my lungs. In cold weather they freeze up during any sort of exercise. (In humid weather I sweat like a beast and overheat, which is also no fun.) In 2006 I worked my way up to the point where I could run for about 20 minutes at a stretch without stopping to walk, and then it got too cold to go out, so I fell back off the wagon. Later years had a similar but less effective trajectory, usually interrupted by high summer, Lyme disease, or other factors beyond my control.

I never even got started this spring. I blame apathy. Or I would if I could be bothered to care.

Now I'm back to the condition I was in during spring 2006 when I started all this. And like then, I've reached the point where I hate my physique more than I hate getting up in the morning.

So, I'm running again. Living a quick walk from Lost Lagoon helps: it's got a nice dirt path which is nicer on my knees and hamstrings, it's basically flat so there are no hills to struggle with, and it's very pretty. After a week and a half I'm running five minutes at a stretch, which originally took me three months to get to. So that's something.

I have goals, both performance- and apperance-based. I have no idea if they're at all reachable. Since my inherent response to reaching goals is "obviously i didn't set them high enough," that's okay. At least I'm doing something.

(And yes, I'm familiar with The Fantasy of Being Thin.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
21 days for Dreamwidth, #2:
Why did you choose your journal name?

For continuity; it's my LJ name, and it's been my online handle since, mm, summer 1996. (Originally, from Howie Green's book, via Steph.)

The journal title is from John M. Ford's revolutionary "Chromatic Aberration":
Words are inadequate (the poor craftsman curses his tools) to describe the beauty of our coasts, but words are what I have available.

It warmed up enough last week for me to start my sixth annual "how long will I last this time?" running spree. These have consistently started in April or May, and have lasted... well. For reference:
  • 2006: kept up through at least October, I think; I remember running to the polling place to vote in early November
  • 2007: aborted in late June due to Lyme
  • 2008: aborted in July due to heat and laziness; started again in September, ended in October.
  • 2009: stopped in September due to personal stress.
  • 2010: aborted in early July due to heat and personal stress.
So far, so... far. Yesterday I was at the start of week five; I expect I'll stay there for at least another week. Stupid humidity. Stupid hills. Stupid lungs. I'm looking forward to the point (probably next week) where I have to stop running because my legs are giving out, rather than because I can't breathe anymore. I'm looking forward even more to less warm and humid in another month and a half.)
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
@feministhulk: "DON'T MAKE ME CRITIQUE YOUR COMPLICITY IN MALE PRIVILEGE. YOU WOULDN'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M CRITIQUING YOUR COMPLICITY IN MALE PRIVILEGE." It's things like this that may eventually force me to break down and get a twitter account: not for the posting, but for the reading.

Honoring the fallen: "[T]he best thing we can do for the troops is to not send them to pointless fucking wars where a lot of them become the fallen and many more become physical and psychological wrecks."

From [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, a Periodic Table of Fabulous Writers (warning: PDF).

At the bottom of this review of the iPad's camera connection kit comes the revelation that you can use the USB dock that comes with the kit to connect a low-power USB keyboard. Such as, say, the Neo. This makes me immensely more likely to pick up a second-generation iPad next year.

It's about now, having been doing this off and on for, oh, four years now, that I ought to accept that I'm a crap runner. Seriously. I sweat to the point where I can't even see where I'm going, my lungs complain loudly if it's colder than about 50 or at all humid, and between my wide feet and my weird stride it's a wonder I can run at all. And that's just the first mile.

So, I get tired out pretty quickly when I'm running. At first it was mostly 'lungs tired,' where I can't get enough oxygen out of the air to keep going, and my chest starts to hurt, and I have to slow down and gasp for awhile. Eventually my lungs started to get the hang of this whole 'working' thing, and I got a new experience: 'muscles tired.' I didn't even recognise it at first: I can still breathe, what do you mean I need to stop and walk for awhile? But at the point where my legs are having trouble moving me forward I really do need to walk for a bit, even though I'm still processing air okay.

Today I found out about a third kind of tired. It's what happens when the heat and the humidity leach all will to live, much less move, out of me.

I can handle the gasping, and at this point I expect the rubbery feeling in my legs. This humidity, though, may be what drives me back indoors for the duration.

And it's only barely June.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
One of my favorite paintings, explicated: from [livejournal.com profile] rbandrews, who notes, "It just makes more sense as a triptych."

Interview with Danny Trejo: You know Danny Trejo, he plays the mean-looking Mexican in like a zillion movies. Here he talks about a bunch of them.

Shambling Mound: "To the tune of 'Ramblin' Man' by the Allman Brothers." The archives are pretty good too.

I dunno, everything's been rather slow and dull lately. Biding time until I run off to the beach for a week of gaming. Work has been crazy with trying to ship an iPhone version of the software, and a server infrastructure that can deliver reports to same, in an exceedingly compressed timeframe. Writing, eh, somewhat, I've started a couple of things that may or not ever come to actual endings.

Running is easier when it's less humid. The temperature was fine this morning, it's just that inhaling nontrivial quantities of water along with oxygen causes my lungs to get cranky and stop wanting to work. Plus not being able to sweat efficiently leads to overheating, which as we all know leads to slower movement (not to mention erratic targeting and potential internal damage). So, ick. And it only gets worse from here.

Perhaps a week at the beach will revitalize me. I can hope.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The Big Short, and the Enormity of the World Economy Explained by Pop Culture References: "I already had a comfortable grasp of mortgage backed securities, collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps, so the technical details were (mostly) easy reading. That said, I hit one point a third of the way through that I had to read three times before it clicked, and when I could finally say that I understood what I'd just read, I felt I'd wandered into a story about an ancient sunken city that will rise again when the stars are aligned." An explanation of what the hell happened to the economy over the past (decade? Five years? Something).

Facebook's Eroding Privacy: A Timeline: "To help illustrate Facebook's shift away from privacy, we have highlighted some excerpts from Facebook's privacy policies over the years. Watch closely as your privacy disappears, one small change at a time!"

Eighty-degree temps and April should not go together. This is why I lump spring in with summer, and care for neither: because in many of the places I've lived late spring takes on the worst aspects of summer, far too quickly.

We can make it rain again and feel like I belong
Let's make it cold again I'm not ready and it's wrong

I've progressed from "run five minutes, walk three, run five, walk three, run almost-five" to "run for twenty-plus straight through" in about a month. I feel like this is a bit faster than I usually take to reach this point. It's certainly earlier in the running season than ever before, thanks to ridiculous weather. I may end up having to take July and August off instead of collapsing from heat exhaustion.

Last weekend we went and saw The Losers, a surprisingly decent action movie based loosely on a comic book. Fails the Bechdel test, of course; on the other hand, of the eight main characters, two are black and two are some variety of Hispanic, so yay. Recommended, not least because if enough people go see it maybe they'll actually make the two sequels they've quite obviously contracted for.

MAX: You know that twelve-man fire team I asked for? Change of plans. Kill them.
WADE: . . . kill them?
MAX: Or fire them. Whichever's easier.
WADE: Honestly, firing them would be easier.
MAX: Did you brief them on the Clay situation?
WADE: Of course.
MAX: Aaand we're back to killing them.

(Please do not mention Aisha's transformation from "blood-crazed Afghani terrorist" to "generic Hollywood action chick," as it will only make me froth at the mouth.)

There was also camping, featuring a good fire, tasty food, and Seth's abortive attempt to walk on water. Good times.

I don't really know what this weekend will bring but I suspect I'll be staying in for a good bit of it.


Apr. 6th, 2010 02:19 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I can tell it's running season again by how I'm sore all over today.

Friday and Satyrday night looked about the same: go to Silver Spring, have an excellent dinner at Da Marco, watch a movie at the AFI Silver (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Citizen Kane), and then go to Moorenko's for delicious ice cream. I can think of worse ways to spend an evening.

One of the ice cream flavors I tried was marshmallow. Very smooth, very sweet, perfect palate-cleanser between the peppermint-stick and the cinnamon. A-- noticed the marshmallow and mentioned homemade marshmallows are among the various confections she makes at Xmastime. Somehow that got stuck in my head yesterday and I decided to try making them myself.

I used this recipe from Cooking for Engineers, substituting maple syrup for corn syrup on the grounds that almost anything made with corn syrup would be improved by using maple instead. I dumped the gelatin into the water in the bottom of the big mixer bowl, stirred it a bit to get it uniformly wet, and poured the syrup, (more) water, and sugar into a glass pot on the stove and turned it to High. Then I sat back with the candy thermometer and watched.

The temperature crept steadily up from 77 to 208 and hovered there for awhile. Then the boiling began. The temp rose, as did the liquid. And rose. When the bubbles got to about a third of the way from the top, I grabbed the pot and lifted it off the stove. Thanks to Corningware's high heat retention, this had no immediate effect at all: the bubbles kept on rising, quickly spilling over the edge of the pot in sufficient quantity to put out the burner.

I think there was some amount of swearing and general despair at this point. But, hey, the dishes were already dirty, no sense in just throwing everything out. I poured what was left of the sugar/syrup into the mixer with a bit of salt and ran it on high for about ten minutes. It fluffed up nicely enough that I went ahead and added the vanilla, too.

Licking the beaters was a smooth sweet ride through heaven, with just a hint of maple.

[livejournal.com profile] uilos and I poured/scraped them into a pan and left them to sit. They hadn't quite set by bedtime last night so I haven't actually tried them as marshmallows instead of as goop, but it's looking like marshmallows are basically impossible to screw up.

I think I know what dinner's going to be tonight.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The people of southern Louisiana. . . consider their culture unique, inherently interesting, and more fun than that of fellow Southerners who live in the Bible Belt north of Alexandria, Louisiana, and across northern Mississippi and Alabama. Their cultural and linguistic affinities run east and west along the Gulf of Mexico, and Northern Louisiana might as well be a separate state. This divide shows up in the pronounciation of the state name, with northern Louisiana favoring four syllables beginning [luz-] and southern Louisiana favoring five syllables beginning [luiz-].

--Connie Eble, "The Englishes of southern Louisiana." Available in "English in the Southern United States," eds. Nagle and Sanders.

(Pop, who insisted that "it wasn't named for Louise," was from Jones, which is about three miles from the Arkansas border.)

[Poll #1458385]

Ran two miles on Monday morning despite not having been out running in two weeks, which I figured meant I was in decent shape. Today, struggled to get through one, and after a bit of cooldown made it most of a second. I am saddened to report that They're right when They say it's not the heat, it's the humidity. 90% is nobody's friend even if it's 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe Friday will go better.

why I run

Aug. 24th, 2009 11:18 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I run because the morning clouds delight me.

I run because my neighborhood has a couple of cool houses, and parks I would have never found otherwise, and last year there was an old guy doing t'ai chi on the school lawn when I went by.

I run because there's genuine, measurable improvement in my ability from day to day.

I run because I don't like gasping for breath when I climb stairs.

I run because I value having time with my own thoughts.

I run because I can.

I run because balance is the way of the runner. (The line from that book that has always stuck with me: "A lie: speed is the way of the runner.")

The ache in my calves this morning (and yesterday morning) seems unrelated to running; while I was moving this morning it mostly dissipated. Came back with a vengeance when I walked down the steps to go to work, though. I'm blaming it on the preponderance of stairs in [livejournal.com profile] elf's (obscenely opulent) new digs.

Also, it's so much easier to keep moving when the air's cooled down a bit and I don't feel like I'm redlining. Friday was horrid. Today, I didn't even notice much difficulty until after the 20-minute mark. I cannot wait for August to be over.
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
TO: Igor's Body Shop & Organ Repair

Dear sir or madam,

Enclosed please find one (1) pair lungs (male), which are no longer performing according to the specifications. In fact these lungs have never performed according to the specifications, but their flaws are becoming rapidly more apparent.

As the original owner of these lungs, I can assure you that they have been treated with the utmost care and respect. Their poor performance is a workmanship defect, and not a result of accidental or deliberate injury. As such, they qualify for replacement under your "lifetime warranty" policy.

[livejournal.com profile] jazzfish

Because SERIOUSLY, lungs, WHAT THE HELL. If it's over seventy-five outside you complain about the heat and humidity, so I figured that today you'd be good with the gorgeously cool sixty-five degree weather. But NO, you have to go all drama-prone on me, freezing up and gasping for air. You'd think the Snow Queen had shoved a splinter of ice through my chest and missed my heart.
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
whine )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The weirdly scattered rain yesterday meant that I got a rainbow on my way to D&D yesterday afternoon. Nice fat bands, and an end somewhere near the East Falls Church metro station. I didn't see it for long; maybe thirty seconds, before I turned off the main road. Still, it made me happy.

Then afterwards a good solid thunderstorm for a bi. Jagged white lightning all across the sky on my way home, and enough rain that at times I couldn't see ten feet in front of me. I've missed weather.

This morning the air had cooled off and dried out enough that running was just a touch easier than the past few days. Too, the heavy rain meant the trees were still soaked, so every time a breeze came through I got a mini-rainstorm. Made for an almost pleasant run.

I feel . . . restless. Wanting to do something different. It's not burnout, or if it is then I've been burnt out for years. It's not a need for a nap or an evening Off. It's just. . . overexposure, maybe. Today I like where I am except that it bores me.

Sunday is likely to be a day of Buying Things. Perhaps Vibrams, perhaps a new desk chair.
jazzfish: Two guys with signs: THE END IS NIGH. . . time for tea. (time for tea)
I spent the weekend doing very little indeed. I played a lot of games on the Device (Geo Defense and Harbor Master, with a touch of Toki Tori) and slept lateish and made waffles and poached eggs and replaced a button that was trying to come off one of my favorite shirts. Gaming on Friday night, and dinner with folk on both Satyrday and Sunday nights, which seems to have been a mostly acceptable level of socialization. I'd like to say I'm feeling recharged after that, but really it just made me want to keep hiding.

I haven't been spending much time in the hamster room since the discovery that my shoulder hurts when I use my desktop. We're going to experiment with leaving the laptops in there for now instead of out in the living room. I suspect that this is at least partly a ploy to get me to put away the boxes on the spare bed and give away the DVD player and TV. Regardless, it'll be good to hang out with the wee beastie a bit more.

Went out running on Monday morning. I can't tell if it's the July heat and humidity or if I've just lost that much muscle and lung capacity. It's a struggle now to keep going for five minutes at a stretch. Stiff today, too. With any luck it'll get easier as it goes.

A couple months ago I bought a crazy-expensive new pair of running shoes. They're supposed to correct my tendency to step harder on the balls of my feet and not put much weight on my heel. The hope was that this would also fix my supertight hamstrings, by changing how I walk. Now articles are starting to trickle out about how running shoes are actually bad for your feet and walking heel-first can cause all manner of problems. So, I dunno. I think next time I'm someplace near where they're sold I'll try on a couple pairs of Vibram Five Fingers and see what I think of them. (If they'll fit me at all; the website says they're good for up to EEE widths, which isn't too helpful for my EEEE feet.)

Other than that, tired mostly. I'm starting to suspect that my brain feels like it's overdue for a summer vacation. I've been doing the same thing for three years straight, now, which is at least two years longer than I've ever before gone without a few weeks of sleeping late and reduced work hours. Too, school was more stressful than work, but also more varied. Every year something different.

I can't see myself staring at these cube walls for the next five years, even if I weren't planning on moving. I just don't know what else I'd be staring at.

. . . man, this got depressing. Here, have a heartwarming tale about a mystical Chinese warrior. I think the phrase "Don't make me unleash Chiang!" needs to become an integral part of my trash-talking lexicon. (See also Urban Dictionary.)
jazzfish: A small grey Totoro, turning around. (Totoro)
It's been an item of faith with me that I dropped thirty-five pounds in 2006 by taking up running. However, it's recently come to my attention that there may have been additional factors involved. With that in mind, a list of possible reasons why I lost weight, and gained a good bit of it back.

Reasons )
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Lots of people smarter than me mourning DFW this week. Me, I've been trying to figure out what horrible thing has happened to Dallas-Fort Worth and why there was so much widely-admired writing to come out of there.

It's a lot easier to get up in the morning when the other person is getting up, too. I've actually made it out to run every day last week and this. (Well, "run." Walking on some days, and I can't go more than a mile without needing to slow down for awhile. Progress, though.) It helps that the weather's finally turned. Monday was god-awful; since then I've been just the slightest bit chilly when I walk out the door. Perfection. I've missed fall.

Other than that: work, eat, sleep, occasionally think. At least the food's good. Been playing Darwinia, which is about the only actual computer game I've played in years. I sort of miss non-console electronic gaming. On the other hand the game devoured pretty much my entire Sunday, to the point that I was failing to pay any attention at all to parts of conversations, so maybe it's just as well.

My plan for my next day off involves sitting on the couch reading comic books. I've been meaning to read [livejournal.com profile] uilos's Lucifer trades for, oh, years now, and I could do with a reread of Preacher and Transmetropolitan as well. This may be as soon as Sunday if other plans all fall through.

I think Satyrday is likely to be the annual pilgrimage to Crownsville, if the weather holds.


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Tucker McKinnon


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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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