Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Listing Tech Stocks and Natural Disasters

On the way home I was listening to 70's music on satellite radio. I don't subscribe to satellite radio and my radio itself says I should call a toll-free number to pay for the service, but I could still hear the Bee Gees and Englebert Humperdink's "After the Lovin'" clear as a bell.

I started to think about time travel and what to do if my current brain occupied my eight year-old self. Now that I think about it, I'd essentially be murdering little Greggy. Or would I? I have most of his memories intact. Right? I wasn't fantasizing about killing a kid. . . right?

Anyway, I really latched on to this idea and started to pour serious thought into what'd I need to do. It occurred to me that I really didn't know enough about technology to communicate to an engineer how to pull off a DVD, microprocessor or fidget spinner. I don't know enough about history to manipulate major events. And, as an eight year-old, I really didn't have the money to invest in the stock market in a meaningful way.

Basically,  I'd just have to re-endure growing up again. Sure, I'd be a little better at math and I'd know some secrets about aunts and uncles that would really blow their minds at Christmas. . . but I'm not sure if it'd be a true boon.

I'd have to find Deb all over again. By the time I synced up with her, I would have already been a rock star via the Elvis Costello, XTC and Foo Fighters songs I had stolen. And the Oscars I'd won for plagiarizing most of the decent screenplays I sort of remembered might not be an advantage as I attempt to re-woo her.

I quickly dropped the time travel idea. I realized that I was sucking the agreeable nostalgia out of the songs. Hearing them used to remind me of the plastic smell of a transistor radio and staining my bedroom floor with a chemistry set I earned by selling seeds packets around the neighborhood. I don't need to dissect that time. I need to keep visits there casual and infrequent. I want to preserve the power those songs have to make me feel like I'm eight years-old again and digging into the bottom of a cereal box for the prize.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Tonight we faked argued (and genuinely argued) about where to go on vacation. Julia's chief concerned was not being home for her birthday. She's obsessed with making it to P.F. Chang's again after the location near us flooded and has remained closed for almost a year now. 

I'm going to be forced to pay an additional $400 in airfare so she can have an overpriced bowl of fried rice. 

It seems that we're headed to Maine. The plan is to fly into Boston, rent a car and head to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. We'll maybe see some whales, eat some lobsters, say "Hello" to Ben and/or Jerry. Who knows what sitcom-like hijinx we'll find ourselves in. And we'll do it all without a single meltdown, argument or sulking about not being able to do what I want to do for a change. 

We'll work it out or we'll wind up spending a week exploring the undiscovered nooks and crannies of Madison and trying to make the Farmer's Market seem exotic.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The future isn't trying to kill you (but it's going to, eventually).

I talked to my wife and we touched on the future and how I know it's out to get me. Everything that lurks around the corner is dangerous and even the most minor slip on my part will put me and everything I love in peril.

I said this outlook is a natural part of aging. She said it might be low testosterone. 

Could be. I'm physically weaker than I've ever been. That'll make you afraid of rottweilers and being asked to help someone move. I don't think testosterone has a lot to do with mental acuity but I don't feel as sharp as I once did. I often forget my "what's next". I'll head to a website or grab my phone to look up something tangential to what I was thinking and the reason disappears. Sometimes I can find my way back, but it takes a full stop and complete devotion to hop back on those trains of thought. 

I'm weak. I'm dumb. I'm also ugly. Can't blame testosterone for that, either. I tried to explain to Deb that charisma compensates for my shortfallings. She wasn't buying it - completely. 

These three things, I'm afraid, aren't going to improve. I can delay them a little if I get my act together, but I'm going to have to adopt an "aging is a privilege" outlook really quickly if I want to be able to leave the house on a regular basis. 

So - let's get positive. After all, I have acquired some wisdom over the years. But it's small potatoes like avoiding urinals when you're wearing sandals. I don't have anything that can help with those bigger questions that keep us all up at night. 

Keanu Reeves seems to have some answers. He was asked what happens when we die and he said, "The ones who loved us will miss us" (or something like that). It's not exactly helpful but it was an accurate and touching thing to say to a bullshit question. 

Maybe I don't have to be useful or relevant. I just have to be accurate. 

"Hey, Greg. Why should I be afraid of the future?" 

"Because it's going to kill you."

Sunday, May 26, 2019

You and the Land are One

I got up and decided to dig in the little garden I made for Deb oh so many years ago. She abandoned it after a few years and now it’s pretty much mine to care for. This year Allie and I put in flowers and tomatoes and peppers and beets. I’m growing beets.

One of the peppers is a ghost pepper. Not sure what I’m going to do with it. Unfortunately, the bunnies will probably eat the plant before I get a pepper from it. 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Suddenly 80 Degrees

It’s good to be back.

I dropped off some gear and hit a little. The girls are off on their own because I refused to spend time with Deb today.

It’s beautiful outside but because of all the rain last night hiking would be a muddy affair. I spent some of the morning picking up the hundreds of sticks that were blown out of the birch tree. The place is kind of a mess. The power went out around two or three and we were all up. The girls lit a candle and we sat in the semi-darkness waiting for the lights to come one. After about an hour they did.

I’m going to look at motorcycles.

Friday, May 24, 2019


I didn't return to the squash club. Instead, I went for a bike ride. 

It was fun. It hurt. It's clear I need to ride my bike more than once every two years. It's a good bike. A Raleigh I bought for around $400 from Eric's Bike Shop in Madison. It was in response to selling my motorcycle. I thought it would provide me with the thrill of two-wheeled transport without the consequences of dumping the thing at 80 MPH. 

The thing is when I was growing up, Raleigh sold their name to Huffy and they turned out shit bikes. When the guy at Eric's tried to tell me that the Raleigh name had been restored as England's premier bicycle manufacturer I didn't believe him. Then he said for my needs (a street-worthy "comfort" bike) the Raleigh was my best bet and almost begged me to take it for a ride. 

I did and it was amazing so I bought it and a bike carrier to get it home on the back of my car. 

These days it mainly sits in the garage and waits. That's too bad. My neighborhood and Dane County, in general, is pretty bike friendly. I should be riding the thing all the time. 

There's a kid in our neighborhood about Allie's age who rides constantly. I'm told he's on the spectrum and that becomes pretty clear whenever you try to interact with him - no eye contact and he continues to listen to his radio instead of engaging. What he does do is ride. He takes lap after lap around the neighborhood. I'm guessing he has the legs and cardio fitness of a Tour de France veteran. He makes bike riding look effortless and oh so appealing. 

I'm trying to emulate him when I ride now. Next time out I'll take my iPod along and listen to music. It'll be a pleasant alternative to the elliptical. I need all the exercise options I can get these days. Right now I have four: long walks, squash, bike rides and the dreaded elliptical. I play tennis when I can and sometimes I'll hop on Deb's treadmill. 

I'm not sure why anyone would care about any of this. At the moment, I do. So, I'm putting it all down here in this supplementary post that, if my brain wasn't dissolving into much, I wouldn't need to create. 

I perfected the art of generating multiple paragraphs that say nothing in college. Looks like now I have no choice but to spew quantity rather than quality. 

-End Supplementary Post-

Missed a Post

I asked myself, “Did you blog?”

I  answered, “Yeah. I remember typing something earlier.”

I was mistaken.

That means two blogs today and some form of penalty - for you. Not me. 

Let’s see. I’m pretty sure I’m going to let us both off the hook. I’m typing this post with my thumbs and that means this will be a short one. 

I rejoined the squash club. I looked at my stats and it has been three good weeks! Plus, I took the day off and that gave me time to re-up. The club owner seemed happy to see me and even suggested a two-month membership in case my knee decides it’s not ready. That was very nice of him. 

I picked out my cubby hole (prime spot!) and tonight, after a long nap this afternoon, I’ll go fill it with shoes, glasses, a spare set of clothes, racquets and my balls. Then I’ll take it slow and just do some drills and maybe some light stretching. 

Yeah, right. 

I’m sure I’ll be in traction by 9:00 p.m. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

I Want to See it in Pieces

Tonight I didn't want to exercise. Every night, I don't want to exercise. 

I did it anyway because I made a deal with myself that if I closed my Apple Watch activity rings (move, exercise, stand) and ate alright for three weeks straight I'd join the squash club again. 

Four days to go. 

On this day (evening) I wanted to blow up my elliptical. I wanted to blow it up and watch the pieces fly into the air and then slowly settle on the ground because they were so tiny they floated like snowflakes. Instead, I got on the thing and watched a guy put together a Geo Tracker engine on YouTube for half an hour. 

Now I'm killing time waiting for 10:00 p.m. That's when I'm going to go pick up Allie who's working at Pick 'n Save over the summer. Julia and I are cooking up all sorts of ways to bother her while she's at work. I've always been really fond of embarrassing both girls at the supermarket. It was a hobby. Now that Allie's employed there I feel compelled to up my game. 

The place is just begging for cosplay. Princess Leia bagels. Carmen Miranda fruit headgear. The meat from Rocky. Although, coming through the checkout line decked out like that seems a little lazy. This requires something epic. Something that warrants a call to the fire department, police or maybe even the bakery manager. 

I've got all summer to think about this. I'm sure I'll come up with something. 

Tonight I also went to the tennis court and hit some serves. About 80 and then some groundstrokes against a backboard. My arm and back are angry with me. My brain is disappointed because I move the ball softly, slowly and without accuracy. I tell myself I'll visit the courts every night and serve 80 balls and groove my forehand until it is better than it ever was. I know I'm lying to myself but not completely. There were moments when my service motion was smooth and the ball effortlessly flew off the racquet's sweet spot. It was enough to keep me coming back. 

Uh oh. Quarter 'til. Better go buy some fruit, bagels and a lot of beef.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wiggle Wiggle

Allie and I went for a walk and talked about our tendency to vegetate. I whined that the weeks and months I spend in the same place, emotionally, creatively, developmentally are getting longer and more frequent. I was desperate to make it sound like my life didn’t have much meaning in an attempt to scare Allie into doing more with her time but, I wasn’t telling her lies. I really do feel static and unproductive. 

We made suggestions for each other to get ourselves moving again. Allie told me I should start blogging again.


This kind of feels like that scene from Kill Bill where Beatrix Kiddo wills herself to wiggle her big toe. It’s a start. My toe is moving. Now I have to get the rest of me to follow suit.

It’s nearing the end of May so I think a post a day until the end of June is a decent goal.

I’m predicting pictures of what I had for dinner and single sentence descriptions of what Julia wore to school (her burgundy Under Armor sweatshirt because it was in the ’40s this morning – unreasonably chilly for this time of year).

But it’s okay. It’s all good. I’m just wiggling my toe.