Thursday, October 04, 2018

Gladiator Rock N Run 2018

I realized a couple weeks ago that I never posted about the Gladiator Rock N Run this year.  It was the last weekend of August, so it's been several weeks already.

This is the run I do every year at the Rose Bowl, so there isn't much mud.  In fact, they are pretty much just doing one small area of mud these days.  They do have ice water at another point, but that's about it.  Yet the mud is still enough for me to use the shower.

I did the 10K again this year, which is always fun.  I love running up to the dam and under the 210.  There is just something fun about all of that.

It starts out running up and down the stairs in the Rose Bowl.  Since I've been working in office buildings with several levels and I've been taking the stairs, my legs were in better shape for this part then normal.

On the other hand, they had us doing push ups or planks in weeds with thorns.  I skip that part.

Even with that, which was disappointing, I still had fun.  Sadly, this is my last mud run of the year.  Already signed up for Camp Pendleton and Irvine Lake next year, so I’m looking forward to them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Men's Retreat 2018


Every year, my church has a men's retreat in September.  And every year since I started going to this church, it's fallen on the same weekend as the Survivor Mud Run.  Well, that mud run appears to be no more (which is no surprise with how little work they've put into it the last two years), so that meant I was free to go this year.

The retreat was up at Thousand Pines, a Christian camp outside of Crestline.  I'd never been there, but my church goes up there for many camps, so I'd heard about it.  It was nice to finally see it.

I left work a little early on Friday to carpool up with some other men from the church.  We got there not too long before dinner was supposed to be over, but we were in time to get food and dessert.  As a church, we occupied two sides of a more recently built cabin that had our own bathroom and lots of plugs, which was great since we all had our phones plugged in every night.  Not that I used my phone for much since I had lousy reception up there.

There was the usual camp stuff.  I never did find the pool, but they have volleyball and basketball and a climbing wall and a zip line.  I tried the climbing wall, but I only made it half way up before I freaked out and climbed back down.  The zip line looked like fun, but you had to climb the wall to be able to go on it.  Naturally, an ultimate Frisbee game broke out at one point.  I started going to this church after meeting several of the men playing ultimate after all.

The messages were good, but they could have been better.  I think that was my biggest disappointment.

I'm certainly ready to go again.  I hope the mud run is truly dead or they pick a different weekend for it if it comes back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Parental Visit

My parents came to visit over Labor Day weekend.  We weren't planning it until that week, but it was great.  And they stayed with me, something I can do now that I don't have a roommate.  Of course, that meant I had to clear out the spare room some and really clean before they came.  I'm glad they didn't completely surprise me.

The timing was perfect since I'd just discovered a leak in my kitchen facet, so Dad and I spent some time replacing it.  The old one was so corroded in place that it took a little bit to get it out, but we only ran into one hiccup getting the new one in place.  fortunately, a trip to the local hardware store found the part we needed to hook up my old supply lines to my new facet.  And it runs well.

We took care of that on Saturday after I went to a wedding at church.  Sunday, we headed down to visit family friends in Orange County.  We got to meet a new baby and spend time playing some games and just chatting, which was absolutely wonderful.  I wish we hadn't spent so much time driving, but that couldn't be helped.

Monday, we took it easy, playing games and going for walks around the condo.

As you can see, it was a great visit.

Monday, August 13, 2018

And the Tourney Brings it to a Close

Saturday was the Summer League ultimate Frisbee tournament.  And, unfortunately, that means that summer league is over for another year.

Fortunately, the tournament was in town again, so I only had to drive 15 minutes to get to the field.

But we lost both of our games.  Games were to 13.  We actually had an impressive comeback in our first game.  The other team made it to 12, and then we scored several in a row, finally losing at 7-13.  The next game was called for time, and we ended that game 8-12.  It was our best game of the week!

I’m really sorry to see the season end, more so than I normally am.  Yes, I’m looking forward to no longer having the long drives once a week to our games.  However, I am really going to miss my teammates.  I had fun with them, even when we were losing.  And, the last few years, I’ve felt like I was more a hindrance than a help to my team, and I would think about quitting ultimate Frisbee.  This year, I didn’t feel like that at all.  It’s what comes from actually being included instead of the guy told to stay out of the action.  It makes a huge difference, and I really appreciated the change.

I think I’m going to play some more pick up here in town, at least for the next couple of weeks, in place of one of my runs.  Hopefully, that will help fill the gap in my life.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Ending the Regular Season with Two Losses

My summer league team had two games, which is unusual.  However, one of them was a makeup game for the game that was canceled last month.  They were Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

And we lost both of them.

Unfortunately, they weren’t even close.  We ended one at 6-15, and the other at 5-15.  We had almost our full team out on Wednesday night, but the guys were at half strength last night.

I didn’t play much in the first game, and I never even got the Frisbee that game.  I do think that’s a first for me all season.  However, last night, I did get it a couple of times.  I was successful all but the last time, when the disc came at me too fast for me to snag it.  So frustrating.

Last night’s game was against a team that had quite a few people I know on it.  It’s always fun to play a team with people I know well on it.  But a win would have been even more fun.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

July Health Update

I just realized I never posted an update here on my latest doctor’s appointments.

In July I went in for my six month CT scan and blood work followed by an appointment with my oncologist a week later.  And everything came back looking great.  They didn’t see anything on my scan, and my blood work came back looking normal.

PRAISE GOD!!!!

I go back again in October, and this time they just want to do blood work beforehand.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Let’s Change the Headline

Just Monday, I was complaining about my team always losing.  And then Tuesday night, we won!

Okay, so we beat a team that I don’t think has won a game all season, but a win is still a win.  And this time, the lights didn’t go out on us either – we played all the way to 15.  And it was 15-12 at the end.

Naturally, my team was all smiling at the end.  It was hard not to be so happy.  It felt good.

Personally, I was batting 50%.  I did well a few times and completely threw it away others.  I played a mix of handler and cutter, which was fun to break things up a little.  And I played more than my typical four points since we were a little down on players.

We have two games this coming week.  Our regular game is Thursday, and our make-up game from a couple of weeks ago is Wednesday.  Then the tournament is Saturday.  Hopefully, this is the sign of things to come, at least for the regular games if not the tournament.  It sounds like both of the teams we play don’t have a regular that much better than ours, so there is definitely hope we can win those games.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Triple Score Game

It’s a familiar refrain, and unfortunately, it’s still true.  We lost again last week.  But we did triple our score from our previous game!  We got six.  But I prefer to look at it as we tripled our score from the previous game.

Once again, they have my playing handler the entire game.  Okay, so I don’t go on very often, but when I do, that’s what they have me play.  They did offer me suggestions on one thing to do differently, but otherwise, they say I am playing the position well.  That’s good to hear since I am usually a cutter.  And I was able to take advantage of being poached off of several times to advance the disc.  I also dropped it and threw it away.  But on average I wasn’t the worst player on the field every time I was on the field.  I definitely find that encouraging.

I think we are all getting frustrated with losing as much as we are.  We’ve just won one game all season, after all, and that was in week two.  But I do appreciate my team because we aren’t calling names or attacking each other.  We are trying to stay positive, but with games like this, it is hard.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Worst Loss Yet

We missed our summer league ultimate game last week since there was a conflict on field space.  Fortunately, I found out before driving down there.  So I decided to head to the pick-up game here in town that night, and it turned out that a friend who has moved from the area was in town.  It was great getting to see Kevin.

But that meant that it was two weeks between games for my summer league team.  Also, both of our captains were out of town.

And we lost.  We lost big time!  We didn’t score a point in the first half at all.  We did score two points in the second half, making it 2-15.  Ouch, right?

Here’s the thing, we still played well.  They have a couple of superstars, and those guys made a big difference.  We got nervous and that hurt us.  I’m sure the other things I named hurt as well, but if you watched a random point, you wouldn’t think the game would turn out quite that lopsided.

We play again on Tuesday.  Hopefully that game will at least be closer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Toxic Coworkers (Or My Thoughts on the Trump Putin Press Conference Yesterday)

We’ve all had them.  The coworker you know better than to trust.  Oh, they may appear nice to the rest of the company.  Or they may not.  Either way, you know that no matter what you do, it will provoke them and the end result is you will be in trouble.  Maybe they will tattle on you to your boss.  Maybe they will passive aggressively react in such a way that you look like a heel.  Maybe you’ll be lucky and it will be both.

Here’s the thing – you know better than to provoke them.  You know the only way to deal with them is to smile to their face, keep your head down, do your job, and then go home and complain to your friends/roommate/significant other about them and their behavior.  If things are bad enough, you look for a new job.

These thoughts have been going through my mind since I watched and read the transcript of the press conference yesterday after the meeting between President Trump and Putin.  Yes, I can see what people are upset about.  But I think there is much more to the story.

Before I go further, I realize that I am really wasting my time with the following words.  Those who disagree with me right this second are going to think I’m an idiot.  Those who agree with me right this second are going to click away nodding their heads in agreement.  All I ask is that you read the following with an open mind and think about it.

First of all, we need to have a good relationship, at least on the surface, with Russia.  They are a major power in the world.  Unless we want to go to war, then we can’t embarrass them on the world stage.  And I for one don’t want to go to war.  We also need their cooperation with other situations in the world.  Given that, what would have been gained if Trump had stood next to Putin and said what everyone is claiming he should have said.  Putin would have gone home and done everything he could to make the world unstable.  Granted, he will probably do that anyway, but it would have been worse if Trump had attacked him at the press conference.  It would have ruined our relationship with them for a generation or more, and the entire world would have paid the price.

These press conferences are nothing but theater.  Everyone knows not to believe a word that comes from them.  Again, now back to the situation with the toxic coworker.  You are tasked with presenting something to your company’s board with said coworker.  When the time comes for you to stand up and make the presentation, do you act like you get along, or do you start complaining about everything this person has done in the past?  You act like a grown up and pretend that you get along.  The truth may be very different, but you smile and act like you are a team working for the good of everyone.

That is what we saw yesterday.  Trump, a businessman, knows this.  What he directs our country to do in the weeks and months to come will be much more telling than an hour in front of the media.  That is what he truly believes.

I get it.  I read mysteries.  I love the moment when the main character confronts the villain and says “Here is the smoking gun.  You are guilty.”  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work well in real life, especially with so much at stake.  We still have plot holes and/or red herrings in this investigation, and Trump brought some of those up in the press conference.  One thing we learned yesterday that got drowned out in the cries of treason was that Putin has agreed to allow us to interview the Russians who have been indicted.  That is HUGE!  Yes, it will be on Russian soil and he isn’t turning them over to us for trial.  But it is much more than I ever expected us to get.  I doubt we will learn anything useful from it, but it is something.  And it is something that Putin would have backtracked on in a heartbeat if Trump had acted differently during the press conference.

In some ways, Trump’s statements during the press conference remind me of Mark Anthony’s speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.  Caesar has just been murdered, and Mark Anthony gives a huge speech in which he turns the mob from believing Brutus that Caesar deserved to be killed to riling them up to kill the assassins.  And how does he do it?  “I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke.”  “Brutus is an honorable man.”  The truth was, he was speaking to disprove Brutus because he felt that Brutus had acted dishonorably, but he knew he couldn’t do it outright.  He had to be subtle and work behind the scenes.  That’s the situation that Trump is in.  Yes, that means he attacked the FBI, but there are still holes and flaws in the investigation.  How is it bad to acknowledge them?  He said one thing.  Only time will tell if he truly believes it or not.

There are other reasons I am having a problem taking this all seriously.  First is the fact that many of the people who are upset about this and calling for major action against Trump are the same people who have been calling for this for almost two years now.  On a scale of one to ten, the fact that Trump woke up this morning is a twenty-five, and any time he opens his mouth on anything we should be impeaching him.  In that climate, it is hard to take them seriously when they get upset by the latest thing he does.

These are the same people who were acting like Chicken Little just last summer when Trump got in the Twitter war with Kim Jong Un in North Korea.  Yet somehow, we didn’t get into a real war with them.  In fact, there was that infamous summit in the spring.  No, we haven’t gotten much out of it, but it makes me roll my eyes when the exact same people are now acting like Chicken Little over what happened yesterday.

Another reason is the history.  For the last 20 years, we’ve had Presidents who I’ve felt have treated Putin better than he deserved.  Please follow this link and read it carefully and thoughtfully.  I’m not going to retread all this well documented history.  But look at how Presidents Bush and Obama treated Putin and then read the comments quoted from Trump at the press conference yesterday again in the context of that history and the questions that were asked.  Again, those quotes in context are at the same link.  It provides a different context, one we aren’t getting on the news right now.

As long as I'm providing links, this essay says what I'm thinking better than I'm saying it.

Do I think that Russia, under Putin’s direction, attempted to meddle in the last election?  Yes.  Is this something we should take seriously?  Yes.  Is this something that could have been stopped by one press conference yesterday?  No.  As the cliché goes, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.  If Trump is going to deal successfully with his toxic coworker Putin, he can’t attack him on a public stage.  It’s what he does behind the scenes that tells the real story.

Do I like what he said yesterday?  No.  But then again, I haven’t liked what Presidents have said in Putin’s presence for the last 20 years.  Trump is no different than them.