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Ice Runners Part Deux

I wanted to let you know, in case you were lying awake at night wondering if I was still running on the icy trail near my house, that I am indeed still running on ice.  I could have my own TV show . . . ICE TRUCKERS RUNNERS.

Despite falling and seriously injuring my ego, I have continued to brave the winter elements.

This looks like a good place to run!

This looks like a good place to run!

Yea, though I run through the valley of the shadow of ice, I will fear no falls.  Thy tread and thy YAK TRAX they comfort me.

When I blogged about my accident, I mused that I would not be able to tolerate stopping and putting on YAK TRAX just to run the short distance between my development and our local high school.  Well, I lied.  I tried.  It’s not so bad.   It actually works very well.  And carrying the YAK TRAX (which are technically DueNorth ice cleats but I like the sound of YAK TRAX so much better) is no worse than carrying a water bottle on a hot humid day.

The time I spend to stop and put the things on and then take them off again is well worth not having to be bruised and picking myself up off the ice.

I am still really looking forward to spring, though.

As is this person . . .

Thank goodness it was the perfect texture for running!

And I’m glad there was no video of me!

That I know of.

I Hate Trash Night

The Daily Post asks,

We all have jobs, tasks, and chores that we dislike doing. Tell us all about the least favorite job/task/chore that you get stuck doing routinely. What is it about this duty that you can’t stand?

My family knows the answer to this question without even thinking.

Dad hates trash night.

My favorite night?  The night after, because it is the farthest night from the next trash night.

I’m not sure how I ended up being the trash man sanitation engineer in our household.  Perhaps it is because I don’t cook, clean or do laundry.  It is a tradition that started before my children were old enough to help take out the trash, and now is so embedded in our family’s culture that even though my teenage boys could easily do this task, they don’t.

This is my task.  My cross to bear.

husband-takes-out-the-trash

I still hate it.

There are two trash cans in the kitchen, one in the basement, one in each of three bathrooms, and one in each of four bedrooms, and one in my office.  I have to tour the entire estate every week to collect the trash BEFORE taking it out to the end of our driveway.  I have teenagers.  Their doors must automatically lock.  I feel like the character from plague-infested Europe in Mel Brook’s History of the World, “bring out your dead!”  BRING OUT YOUR TRASH.  Everyone knows it is trash night.  The ‘dad hates trash night’ jokes usually start the night before or in the morning.  It’s like the camel walking through the office on Wednesday asking what day it is.  What night is it?  It’s TRASH NIGHT already!  I know.  I hate it.  HAVE YOUR TRASH READY!  Is that too much to ask?

It’s particularly onerous this time of year (winter) when the driveway could be icy, it could be snowing, it’s usually blowing, and it’s often downright freezing cold.  Try to tie a trash bag with gloves on.  It ain’t easy.  Many times we have so much trash (we are a very trashy family, apparently) that I have to make multiple trips over the frozen tundra.  Sometimes, if we have boxes to discard, they blow across the street before I get back with heavier trash to hold them down.

Snowing and Blowing? MUST BE TRASH NIGHT!

Snowing and Blowing?
MUST BE TRASH NIGHT!

I loathe trash night.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we had some general rules in our house.  But apparently, discarding trash is a lawless, free-for-all activity.

1.  If you are throwing something out, make sure it is in the trash can.  If you insist on leaving trash on the floor in the general vicinity of the can, then YOU CAN TAKE OUT THE TRASH.  Is that unreasonable?

2.  Don’t throw out open bottles or containers with liquid in them.  I know you don’t have a sink in your room, but do not throw liquids into the can, even if there is a bag in the can (and there should ALWAYS be a bag in the can!)  Our small trash cans in the bedrooms have plastic bags from Wal-Mart, Dicks, Martin’s etc. to make collecting the trash easier and less messy.  Unfortunately, these bags are not always devoid of holes.  If you feel the need to throw half a can of soft drink away (and you should have finished that anyway–there are thirsty kids in the Sahara somewhere that would kill for that soda!) pour it down the sink in the bathroom first.  Unless YOU want to take the trash out!

3.  Our main trash can in the garage has a liner in it.  Respect the liner.  If it has slipped off the edge of the can, don’t hurtle your uneaten food and gross slop in on top of the fallen bag.  IT GOES IN THE BAG.  Otherwise, perhaps you would like to take the trash out.  It’s quite annoying not to be able to get the bag out of the can, and then have to wash the inside of the can because someone failed to use the liner.

4.  If the weather is warm (and probably this is true for anytime, but especially if the weather is warm,) PUT THE LID ON THE CAN.  I can’t count the number of summers I have had to deal with MAGGOTS because someone who doesn’t have to take the trash out left the lid off the can or slightly ajar.  It has a lid.  Use it.  Otherwise, perhaps you’d like to play with the maggots while emptying the trash?

5.  If what you are throwing out is already smelly, or will likely become rotten before trash night, then please seal it in a plastic bag.  We have them in the house.  Ziplock.  Tie it off.  I don’t care.  They are there.  Use them.  Unless, of course, YOU really want the job of taking out the trash.

I hate trash night.

There’s Snow Where To Run

It was like déjà vu all over again.

There I am, jogging along.  Minding my own business.  And then there’s ice.  And then there’s me, falling.

Runner down!

So what did I do?

I jumped back up and continued running, before anyone else might have noticed.  There is a trail that leads from our development to the high school, and that was where I fell.  I fell right in full view of several houses.  I ran far enough to be out of the line of sight before I stopped to check for injuries or missing body parts.

Unlike 2009, when I fell on the ice while jogging around the high school, I did not seriously injure myself.  I did scrape and bruise my arm.  My hip hurts, but not the joint itself.  Just a flesh wound!  Or bruise.  I finished another three miles after the fall–including running back the same icy trail to get home!  I also apparently cut my ankle, but I didn’t even notice that until someone else pointed it out.

I was actually more worried about my Ipod.  I carry it in my hand inside my glove, and run the ear bud wire down my sleeve.  When I hit the ground, the music suddenly stopped.  I might have gone deaf, but I was more worried I had smashed my Ipod.  My right arm was hurting and took the brunt of the fall.

But a quick check showed that the wire had been pulled free.  I plugged it back in, the band played on, and off I went.

Now you may ask, why would you run on a trail you knew was icy?

TRADITION!  Tradition!

Why do rednecks ask someone to hold their beer and watch as they try to drive an ATV up a tree?

It’s what I do.  I run.  I can’t let a silly thing like weather get in the way.

The trail was there.  I had to get from here to there.  I couldn’t very well fly over it.  My dogsled is in the shop (it’s been a loooong winter.)  I ran on this trail yesterday without falling.  I fully expected to pull this thing off again without bloodshed.  Alas, I was wrong.

Couldn’t you run on a treadmill?

I own a dreadmill.  I hate the dreadmill.  I’d rather fall on the ice than run on the dreadmill.  I would not dreadmill here or there.  I would not dreadmill anywhere.  I would not do it with a goat.  I would not do it on a boat.  Well, I might if  I couldn’t jog around the deck.  But I digress.

I have noticed that when I run, my pace varies.  Here is a chart of my pace when I’m not running falling on ice:

PaceChart

If it were my heart rate, it would probably be fibrillation.  Don’t quote me on that.  Dammit Jim, I’m just an eye doctor!  I haven’t put a stethoscope on a patient’s heart in 23 years.

Now, can you imagine trying to run those peaks and valleys on a dreadmill?  My finger would have a blister on it from adjusting the speed up and down too often.  I would be in fibrillation if I had to do that.

And, if I haven’t been perfectly clear on this matter, I hate the dreadmill.

Couldn’t you just not run?

Couldn’t you just stop asking stupid questions?  I don’t ask you to just stop breathing do I?

So why don’t you wear YakTrax or some other product that would be useful on ice?

My you ask a lot of questions.  Just like I own a dreadmill, I have a pair of DueNorth Ice Cleats.  I don’t like them!  Oh, they work fine, if you are constantly on snow or ice and don’t mind things strapped to your feet besides your shoes.  But the road from my house to the trail–NO ICE!  From the trail to the rest of my run–NO ICE!  I would only need them for about a quarter of a mile or less, and I hate the clacking, bumpy feel of them on dry pavement.  Don’t roll your eyes at me–you asked!

OK.  I could stop and try to stretch them on over my shoes before I hit the trail, and then reverse the process on the other side.  Repeat for the trip back home.  Carry them in my hands when I’m not on the ice.  But if you don’t know me very well, I do not have the patience for that shit and I’ll take my chances with the ice.

So why did I bother telling you this?

CautionIce

It’s a public service announcement.  Ice is icy.  You might fall.  When you fall, you might get hurt.  If you get hurt you might go to the hospital.  If you go to the hospital, you might have to watch cable TV.  Don’t  get stuck watching cable TV.  Stay off the ice!

Money 4 Nothing

Money4Nothing

That ain’t Twerking . . .That’s the way you DO it!

And my chicks for free!

The Daily Post asks . . . If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you?

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I am, by profession, an ophthalmologist.  An eye doctor/surgeon.  And while I do like my job–I really enjoy giving cataract surgery patients the gift of better sight–there are certain things about my job I do not like.

I really do not like our government and its bureaucratic intrusion into my practice.  I wish they would just leave me alone to do what I was trained to do.  Dealing with insurance companies makes me want to stick needles in MY eye!  Obamacare is just worse and more of it!

I loathe computer medical records.  Electronic Health Records.  EHR.  Errrrr!  Meaningful use = meaningless abuse.

I really don’t like having to get up at a set time every morning and living my life to a schedule.  Didn’t bother me years ago, but as I have aged, I really look forward to sleeping in on weekends!  I could get used to doing that every day.

I don’t like call.  As I have turned 39 for more than a few years, the ER calls in the middle of the night really bother me.  I no longer can fall back to sleep right away which affects my next day’s performance.  I already work a very busy schedule and additional add-ons are just additional stress right now that I could do without.  It is what it is, though.

So, in a nutshell, right there is my dream job . . . making the same amount of money I currently make (more would actually be better since I still live paycheck to paycheck with my doctor’s salary) but not having a set schedule, no call, and still do what I enjoy doing.

I enjoy running.  Can’t see anyone paying me what I make now to simply run.  And I am certainly not an elite/Olympic runner.  If I have to compete to get paid, I will starve.

I enjoy golfing.  And while I could make more than I currently make being a great professional golfer, I am not a great golfer.  I’m not really a good golfer.  I’m not worthy of playing with Tiger Woods.  I’m not really worthy of playing with Tiger’s woods, or even carrying his clubs.  I have probably lost a few balls in Tiger’s woods and if not, I certainly could manage that.

I also enjoy bowling, but I don’t think my current 192 average is good enough to keep my salary level where I am.  Nothing more pitiful than a starving bowler.

I’ve always dreamed of being the head coach at Penn State, and that would certainly pay better than my current gig.  But as passionate as I am as a fan, I do lack the X’s and O’s to actually be a football coach.  And looking at the hectic schedule that our new coach is living–travelling on the recruiting trail–I don’t think I would enjoy that schedule.

I am thinking Penn State University president.  The job may still be open, but I think they will be announcing a new president shortly.  I have not the experience nor qualifications, but there would be no bigger promoter of the University that I know of.  I can cut a ribbon without cutting myself.  I think.  I could ask people to donate money.  I’m not sure how I could handle dealing with our State Legislators, since my opinion of monumental idiots lawmakers in general is not very high.  The schedule probably isn’t as flexible as I’d like, so I think this is a no-go as well.

I could be a professional blogger if somebody wants to pay me what I’m currently making.  Yeah, I don’t see that happening.

Professional lottery winner?  I’m so there.  I just need to win the freaking Power Ball!

I’ve always thought stand-up comedy would be great.  I’m currently the entertainment for our annual office Christmas party, but that’s a once a year gig.  Not sure I could pull it off on a regular basis.  Maybe if I had a team of joke writers.  But the whole stand-up thing is not my style.  One of the things that drew me to eye surgery in medical school is that you can do it sitting down.  I guess I could be a late-night show host–a little actual standing followed by sitting behind a desk drinking coffee.  I could drive around like Jerry Seinfeld and drink coffee with other comedians.  I could drink coffee with just about anybody, especially if I’m getting paid well to do it.

I do dream of being a “professional” writer some day.  I have several novels in very stages of completion.  I blame my day job for the lack of time needed to actually finish and publish these projects, but we all know that is just an excuse.  And I have heard that publishers can be downright nasty with deadlines which would annoy me.  Sometimes the muse inspires me; sometimes the muse perspires me.  You just never know when the words will come.

It looks like for now, I’ll have to stick with taking out cataracts.

That’s not working.  That’s the way I do it.

Lemme tell, eye docs ain’t dumb.

Maybe get a blister on my little finger.

Maybe get a blister on my thumb.

Super Bowl of Nuts

I know that the Super Blow (spelling intended) is now a week old, and in this media age of Twitter, Vine and Instagram, a week old post is so 2000-late, but dammit Jim, I am just a doctor.  I’m always running behind.  I haven’t posted since my half-marathon in . . .Holy Crap! . . . October!  And I was running behind people then!  But I digress.

So a week late and a few apples short of a bushel, I wanted to add some post-game commentary.

Actually, it wasn’t much of a game, at least not after the first quarter, so I want to talk about the real subject of the “game”–the commercials.

Were you not just a bit disappointed?

The Budweiser puppy was cute.  The Budweiser hero commercial was moving, but not spectacular as commercials go.  The Radio Shack (“the 80′s called and want their store back”) was probably my favorite, but I loved the eighties and am old enough to identify with every aspect of that commercial.  The Doritos commercial (Time Machine) was good, and perhaps the bar has been set too high.  I missed the actual showing of this one (probably when I had to run out and buy a Maserati Ghibli) and had to watch it on the computer, so it probably lost something there.  I wasn’t outraged over the Coke commercial–but apparently America the Beautiful is only tolerable in English to some people.

But nothing jumped out at me and yelled “this was worth FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!”

Seriously.  $4 million for 30 seconds.  Maybe that is the problem.  There’s nothing left in the budget to actually spend on producing the commercial!

Which brings me to the main point of this diatribe.

Pistachios.

When the first Stephen Colbert clip for Wonderful Pistachios aired, I thought to myself . . . “what a waste.”  No offense Stephen, but I don’t imagine you starred in that one for free, and I suspect you got paid more than the eagle, though the bird was a nice touch.  But when the second clip aired, it made me smile.  You fooled me!  I did not see that coming!  First one set it up, and the second one hit it out of the park.

WonderfulPistachios

But wait . . .

What?

Four million bucks to hawk pistachios?  Is the pistachio market that competitive that Wonderful Pistachios felt compelled to spend their ad budget (perhaps their entire budget . . . for several years decades) on the Super Bowl demographic?

I have been to many football games over the years, and I have never seen one person chewing on a pistachio.

They might do it surreptitiously, but I have never seen it.

Peanuts yes.  Pistachios no.

No offense Wonderful Pistachios, but your nuts are an eclectic taste.  Perhaps an acquired taste.  I imagine among most Americans, they fall behind peanuts, walnuts, pecans and cashews by a large margin.  And spending $4 million ain’t gonna change that.  (And peanuts are technically legumes, but I digress again.) Granted, the Super Bowl is a global phenomenon and pistachios might be the snack food of choice in some other countries.  But I really believe you could advertise in those countries for a whole lot less than the bill for a Super Spot.  I’m guessing A LOT less.

Or perhaps the idea was to sway you from buying Doritos and picking up a pack of pistachios.  Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pistachios, but he didn’t eat them.  He sold them and bought some real snack foods like Doritos.  Or Twinkies–which probably sell better than pistachios without a Super Bowl ad.

Let’s do some math here.  You can buy Wonderful Pistachios at WalMart for $4.98.  For the sake of making the math easier, we will round this up to $5.  At five dollars a bag, Wonderful Pistachios must sell 800,000 bags of pistachios just to pay for the air time.  This assumes a 100% profit on the sale and that Stephen and the eagle worked for free.  And you know better than to assume anything–you’ll make an a$$ out of U and Maine (ME).  And we don’t want to make an a$$ out of Maine!

According to the ratings, 111.3 million viewers watched the Super Bowl.  Assuming each one of those viewers also saw the ad, that means at least one out of every 140 persons has to buy a bag of pistachios–no! specifically a bag of Wonderful Pistachios!–just to almost break even.  I don’t even know 140 different people so I don’t know if that is even possible.

I know that advertisers do studies.  They research these things.  Aside from a Diet Coke at McDonalds (and only because they do not sell Pepsi) I haven’t purchased a single item advertised during the Super Bowl that I know of.  None of these commercials made me want to purchase their products.  I’ve never owned a Maserati or an Audi.  I have driven a Ford before, but to be honest, I couldn’t tell you which model they advertised with all the fireworks at the beginning of the game.  I don’t drink Budweiser.  Cute puppy.  Keep up the good work.  But I don’t like Bud.

Just who are these people that buy things because they were advertised?  Am I lacking some gene that makes me want to go shopping at Radio Shack?  In my Ghibli?  Sounds like a dog food more than a car.  Ghibli and Bits.  Ghibli and Bits.  Gotta get me some Ghibli and bits.

I can remember jingles from the seventies.  I just have never felt compelled to buy a product because of the jingle.

Maybe it’s all subconscious and I’m not even aware of the power when I’m shopping.  Ooh, that’s funny.  The only shopping I do is for running shoes and running clothes, and I do most of that on-line anymore.  But for the sake of an argument, if I actually shopped for nuts, would I really pick up a bag of pistachios?

I don’t think so.

But dudes, my subconscious is really enjoying those pistachios while I drive my Chevrolet with Bob Dylan at my side.

Yesterday I ran a half marathon, which if you don’t already know is 13.1 miles.

Why?

That is a very good question that I wish I could answer without sounding like I’m insane or something.

A marathon is a race consisting of 26.2 miles.  Apparently a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (before cars, rockets and rickshaws) a soldier/messenger ran 26 or so miles non-stop to deliver news that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon.  Apparently, this was also before cell phones, telegraphs and homing pigeons.  The messenger gave the news–”We Won”–before collapsing and dying.

So people that don’t want to collapse and die run a half marathon of 13.1 miles instead.

But why did I run this race?

I am a runner, which means that I put on outfits and expensive colorful shoes that you otherwise wouldn’t wear in public–call it a uniform if you will–and I run around for no apparent reason (as in being chased by a bear, having my hair or clothes on fire, missing a bus, or following the ice cream/beer truck.)  I do this for exercise and because I am mentally unstable loathe weightlifting, swimming, biking, gyms, and pretty much every other form of physical activity beyond golf, bowling, and chess.

The marathon is to the runner what Mt. Everest is to the mountain climber, the World Series is to the baseball player or the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord is to the hungry man.

The half-marathon is a mountain half as high as Everest (too lazy to Google one up), just making the team to the baseball player, and McDonald’s to the hungry man.

This was not about proving anything to myself or the world.  I have already run more than 13 miles in the past.  I already knew I could do it.

I have only run three races before–two 5K’s and a 15K–for various reasons that I couldn’t explain well either.

The main reason I ran this race is that the guy I run with on weekends wanted to run this race–he also does triathlons, but as noted above, I don’t do the cycling or swimming thing.  Since he couldn’t drag me kicking and screaming talk me into a triathlon, he settled on tricking me talking me into a half marathon.  Of course, the week before the race he informs me that he forgot he will be out of town in Las Vegas.  I had already signed up on-line early, so I figured I might as well still run the race.  It was as good a reason as I could come up with.

After the 5K charity races I ran, there were goodies to eat.  Sure, they had some water bottles and bananas, but this is what I was running for:

Lemon-flavored Heaven

Lemon-flavored Heaven

Do you think they had vanilla cream whoopee pies after a half-marathon?  No.  Beer?  NO!  Doughnuts?  A thousand times NO!

I ran 13.1 miles and all I got was a bottle of water, a banana and this shirt:

Half_Marathon

I ran off my legs for this?

In case you are wondering, I ran 13.1 miles in one hour and fifty one minutes and twenty seconds, for an average pace of 8:29.  I finished 67th overall in a crowd of I don’t know how many really young looking people.  Seriously, I think I saw only three people that looked older than me.  They didn’t have the times broken down into age groups, but I figure I must be in the old fart category.  Or maybe the pre-coffin group.

Would it have killed them to have some cream-filled doughnuts alongside the bananas?  I earned a doughnut for God sakes!  My on-line training program calculated that I burned 1667 calories!  I need me some banana-flavored ice cream!  (They did have yogurt, but like biking, I don’t do that.)  They also had some healthy vegetable wraps.  Yeah right.  I just ran half way from Marathon to Athens, and this is my reward?  That’s like a kid at Christmas hoping for a Red Rider BB gun and ending up with some socks instead.

How about some beer?  I’d settle for a light beer.  One little glass.  Personally, I wish they offered beer stops along the way instead of water stations.  I think more people would sign-up for the race (although probably fewer would finish, but is that really a problem?)

The next race I enter better have some doughnuts waiting for me.

 

A Cluttered Life

The Daily Post asks:  Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?

Albert Einstein once asked,  “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Fortunately, my desk (and more or less fortunately my mind) does not have this problem.

cluttereddesk

I’m probably a pile or two on the floor away from being an episode on Hoarders.  Does that mean I’m also that close to needing a lobotomy?

How do I get rid of it?  Short of a house fire?

I might need that.  If I throw something away, I invariably need it almost as soon as it is gone.  There’s probably a thermodynamic law of physics to explain that, but I can’t remember which one it is.  I have it written down someplace.  Under that pile on the desk would be the best bet.

Eventually, age and the pressure from the clutter on top will convert the junk into oil at the bottom.  Or maybe diamond.

Until then, my wife keeps the office door closed.

Cluttered desk.  Cluttered mind.  Out of sight.  Out of mind.

Or maybe just out of my mind.

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