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30
Aug

P***Y R**T

I’m a little behind the times here, but seeing their photo again today reminded me how much I admire what Russian punk band Pussy Riot did — staged a little performance\demonstration in a Greek Orthodox church to protest the evil, totalitarian, and corrupt government of Vladimir Putin.

Pussy Riot’s Performance\Protest

Yep, their was sacrilege, yep on heresy, agreed on offensive — but that of course is what a punk band is supposed to do.  Never Mind the Bollocks! Here’s the Sex Pistols as a useful example and case in point, though I can’t think of a similar political action done by a punk band, or actually by ANY band.  But from the Sex Pistols song “God Save the Queen,”  meant to be a mockery of the original song:

  1.        God save the Queen
  2.         Her fascist regime
  3.         Made you a moron.

(From the same album, I particularly like the song “Pretty Vacant.”  Joan Jett does a nice cover of it — Joan certainly understands what it means to be pretty vacant and not care.  She also understands that “Love Hurts” and does an excellent cover of that on the same album, The Hit List.)

Nice to know that Punk Rock still exists.  It exists in my town of Gainesville, FL as well.

In the Pussy Riot case, the difference between their provocation and the Sex Pistols ‘provocation is that Russia is not a democracy, the Putin regime doesn’t much like dissent and provocation, and so forth; so Pussy Riot were sentenced to 2 years in prison for their “crime,” which the Russian court called  “hooliganism” (yeah, doesn’t sound like a real crime, does it?).   And guess what, the band members who made statements didn’t sound at all repentant post-sentence, bless their dissident hearts.

A sideline to the incident was watching the trouble ABC News and NPR had dealing with saying the band’s name on the air.  (I wonder what the band’s name is in Russian, if it has a Russian name.)

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29
Aug

Love the Person In Front of You

Sounds easy, no?  No, it probably doesn’t sound easy to any of use to love the person in front of us.  It’s a spiritual practice I learned about last week in reading Rachel Held Evans’ blog (http://rachelheldevans.com/).

Rachel lists 5 spiritual practices that she argues can help the practicer (practitioner?) progress in his\her spiritual life, and the first one is, “Love the Person In Front of You.”  Clearly, that can be hard, depending on the person and the situation, but it’s also doable (probably — I’ll try to find out).  She adds in her discussion that sometimes loving a person simply means spending an extra 15 minutes of your time.

I’m pretty sure I can do that — except tomorrow at 2:00 P.M., when I will be in a hurry and not have 15 minutes to spare.  I have a 2:30 appointment with Dr. Robert Amdur, my radiation oncologist.  Had my 10th post-tumor MRI last Friday, and tomorrow Dr. Amdur will tell me what he sees on the films; which, I hope, will be nothing.

Yes, people accuse us of being empty-headed, but I have proof — many scans of the inside of my head have revealed nothing.  Well, nothing that shouldn’t be in there, like a tumor.

There will be a bit of anxiety, as I wait to go to the examining room, as I wait in the examining room, as Dr. Amdur’s assistant comes in and asks questions relating to dizziness, headaches, etc., all symptoms I don’t have.  And then there will be some anxiety as I wait for Dr. Amdur to walk in.

All will be well; all manner of things will be well (as Julian of Norwich wrote oh-so-many years ago).

24
Aug

Running Report

I haven’t reported much on running lately, and that’s cause there’s really not all that much to report.  As of today I have 644 running miles logged for 2012, which puts me on a reasonable path (83.5 miles per month) to get 1,000 miles for the year.  That’s always my goal, and I usually make it.

Now, in the context of serious runners, especially serious marathoners, 1,000 miles a year is not much at all —  only about 20 miles a week.  But in the context of ME, it’s about the right amount if I want to remain uninjured and, more important, want to enjoy running.

Not a Runner, a Guy Riding a Waverunner

As far as training\exercise, I also have 450 cycling miles this year, do a bit of lap swimming, and go to the gym once or twice a week for strength training on the machines. (There’s also the kayaking, and maybe I need to add Waverunning, like the guy in the photo to the left — looks like fun!) This keeps me able to do the occasional triathlon, but I’m mostly a runner.  Mostly a middle-of-the-pack to back-of-the-pack runner in races (I guess in both running AND training).  Seems to work.

Seems to work ’cause I mostly remain uninjured (knock wood). In fact, I’ve not been injured at all for over a year — I had an Achilles Tendon issue that lasted most of 2010 — Alleve, ice, rest, stretching, Active Release Treatment with Keith, and finally a “cure” when Mark, my chiropractor, suggested orthotics in my shoes.  He told me to get the kind of orthotics that you microwave and then insert, so they “mold” to the shoes — I did that for all my running shoes, and the Achilles has been fine.

I also took Keith’s recommendation ot get some Newton shoes, designed to make me more of a mid-foot striker, and that helps the Achilles Tendon, also.  And then I got Merrell Trail Gloves and Merrell Free Access Trail Shoes, so all that emphasis on mid-foot striking, along with the orthotics in my other shoes, has changed my gait from that of someone who injures his Achilles to someone who does not.

24
Aug

The Kayak Trip That Almost Was

So, Rick at I met up yesterday at a little after 9:00, loaded boats, and headed up to Santa Fe River Park, near the Highway 47 bridge.  We went up there specifically because it’s a good bit downstream on the Santa Fe River, and we’d been hearing accounts of a near-flood-stage upriver near Fort White.

Well, the Santa Fe River (which is NOT what you see in the photo below

Not the Santa Fe River

–no, that’s guys on the beach in Haiti looking for Hurricane Isaac.  Just thought I’d deke my faithful readers with a photo that has little to do with the the text posting, over than there’s water in the frame, as there would also be if I had a picture of, say, Santa Fe River Park).  Well, the Santa Fe River WAS actually up an observable amount — Rick and I lasered our eyes in on a strut on the Highway 47 bridge to see if we could detect any rising.  Nope, it stayed the same for 5-20 minutes.

So, since the river didn’t seem to be continuing to rise noticeably, we took the boats off the roof, complained a bit about the current we would have to paddle against, and decided to start out when the rain, which had been sprinkling, came down a bit harder.  Checking the weather map on our handy iPhones, we saw that more severe thunderstorms were nearby.

Not wanting to be caught on the river in a lightning storm, we reloaded the boats and decided to drive up to Branford to look at the Suwanee River.  It looked nice, no detectable rise, no boat traffic.

Then back to High Springs, where we’d check out the Highway 47 boat ramp.  When we got there, it was pandemonium.  A parking lot full of aluminum canoes (rentals from Canoe Outpost or Adventure Outpost) and school buses.  We decided to look.  The rain was coming down pretty hard now, and we saw canoe guides in the water making sure all the school kids turned in at the ramp — some boaters were having real trouble making the turn from river to boat ramp with the current flowing mighty fast..

So that’s the kayak trip that involved loading and unloading kayaks, driving to boat ramps, but not getting on the river.  The plan now is to head back to the river next Friday, August 31st — Rick, Richard, and I, the charter members of the Paddling Club.

22
Aug

Retirement, Day 5

Today is Tuesday, August 21st, and it’s my 5th day of retirement.  At Santa Fe College, from which I retired end of last week, most of the faculty, administration, and staff assembled for the Convocation that begins every semester.  And I wasn’t there, didn’t have to be there, didn’t miss it.

Tomorrow, classes begin — at Santa Fe College, with 17,000 students, and across town at the University of Florida, 50,000 students.  Tomorrow’s the day I’ll probably feel really, really retired, missing as I will the chaos and (admittedly) excitement of a new Fall semester.

Nothing much on the docket for tomorrow.  As usual, I’ll meet Joe, Sam, David, and whoever else comes for coffee and breakfast at The Bagel Bakery, just down the street from our condo.

But on Thursday, I’m meeting Rick at his house for a kayak trip, something I couldn’t be doing on a Thursday during the semester if I were not retired.  So perhaps Retirement, Day 7, will make me feel really, really retired.

Or maybe the first time I make an overnight trip during the week during the semester.  I still have 16-17 weeks to get to that.

15
Aug

Retirement

No, no, no — not retirement from running, or from kayaking and other river adventures.  I mean retirement from work,  in a day or two.

Came about fairly suddenly — I entered DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan, Florida’s version of what’s sometimes called “Phased Retirement”) April 1st, as soon as I was eligible.  Plan was to stay in DROP ’til April 2014, when Pam’s eligible to retire.

But then came teaching two sections of Technical Communication in the 2nd summer semester, July 2-August 15.  And, though most of my students are a delight, there’s always one or two (or three or four) who belong to The Entitled.  Entitled to a passing grade (uh, if you’re one of The Entitled, you should get an “A” or a “B+”, right?).  And, given my contacts with The Entitled, who are becoming much more numerous among the student population, I began to get jaded-squared, to feel that, well: “Another summer at Perry’s?  I can’t.” (Kudos to whoever can identify the movie that quote is from, and double-kudos if you include the character & actor.)

Connection is, I just can’t anymore — 26 years of doing more or less the same job, 275 classes, 3,000 students, 15,000 papers and essay exams, and I just can’t, anymore.

So what will I do with my life and time?  Maybe more blog posts; and more kayaking.

St. Simon’s Island

More volunteering in the community — cooking lunch at St. Francis House, the local homeless shelter, has been a longtime avocation of mine, which I’ve not done for a few years due to  a change in the shape of my job.  I stopped teaching half of my classes on the Internet, half live, and that kept me busier on campus during the middle of the day.  (Brief explanation: teach 2 of 4 classes on the Internet doesn’t mean that it takes less TIME, just that I could no longer time-shift and keep my middays free, making up for it late in the afternoon or in the evening.  Sometimes late in the evening.)

So, here goes.  Maybe I can make a trip to St. Simon’s Island and to other beautiful places near and far. Friends, wish me luck.