Sunday, July 30, 2006

Marathon Prep

This weekend starts my concerted 30-week preparation effort for the marathon in February. I've been reading Galloway's Book on Running, and am learning so much about the appropriate way to train for running races. The book was loaned to me by an accomplished runner in my husband's office who runs 20-miles on a weekend for fun when he's not training for anything. He's done more marathons than I can comprehend, so his recommendation that this is the best running book out there carries some weight.

The basic philosophy is around getting enough rest between runs to allow your body to recover sufficiently to prevent injury. And, as a certified slacker, I'm all about a regimen that specifically includes rest. But, it does take a lot of time, so I need to make sure I stay on the plan, if I want to be ready for a specific day in February. So, as part of my training plan, I will be posting each week about my week of running. I hope I don't bore you all to tears, but it's something I need to do to stay on track.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Car In the Shop

Last week, my car was in the shop getting some work done on it. As a result, I didn't have my car. I know that sounds obvious, but it's surprising how those things don't all come together in one's brain at the appropriate time.

The first day, my plan was to bike home. So, I packed the bike into my car when I dropped it off at the shop and headed to work. After work, I got on my bike, and rode about a mile before crashing into a curb trying to avoid an approaching car and getting a nice flat tire. So I walked. My husband met me about halfway home and drove me the rest of the way.

With the bike pump in the trunk of the car at the shop, That option was out for the next day. My husband took me to the office the next day, and I took the bus home (or to happy hour, depending on how you look at it). That was an experience. I enjoyed the reminder of why it's fun to people-watch in such a format: the woman reading a book; the two men conversing in an Asian language; the guy who talked to himself the entire ride.

I rode in the next day, too. Here, I found the people-watching at the bus station. People in uniforms trying to get to work, and people who didn't seem to have bathed in weeks. It was incredibly interesting to me, who hasn't ridden a bus since highschool.

As I neared my destination, I actually got off too early, and had to walk a few extra blocks. It was nice to walk a ways, though. It gave me some extra quiet time, some time to think through my day and get to a good place to start into it all.

With a monthly pass costing just $10, I think I'll have to look at riding more often. It's an awfully relaxing way to get to work.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Convicted Person Found Here

I have allowed my appeal period to expire in my traffic ticket case. I received a ticket back in January for running a red light. I'm convinced I didn't run any such light, so, I plead not-guilty, and went to court. The cocky part of me didn't hire a lawyer, and I lost. With a reduced fine, but I lost nonetheless. I believe that may actually have been the most stressful situation in my entire life. It's taken me a month to even post about it, for goodness sake. Regardless, I now have a conviction on my record for the next three years.

But, here I am to find the silver lining in that cloud. The week after I lost my case I had no trouble with my solo in church. I guess there was something about doing something else much more stressful that made singing not seem like such a big deal anymore. Now I have another one tomorrow, with none of the old butterflies.

Very nice, but why did it have to take something so sucky to fix the other phobia? And what can I do to get over the fear of heights?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Made Up Words

I make up a lot of words. Oftentimes this happens because I am trying to communicate something, but there isn't a suitable word, or at least not one I can think of at the moment. Since my mouth works faster than my brain, this happens more often than you might think. Here's an example of the kinds of words I make up.

  • troubleshootability (n.) Range of clarity regarding a piece of code, specifically when researching solutions to problems.
    It is important to find an appropriate balance in optimizing a piece of code for speed and troubleshootability.
  • The great thing about my made-up words (in my opinion), is that they are relatively straightforward for people understand what I'm trying to convey. This is, after all, the point of communication, so it seems to work. The bad thing about these is that they tend to be very long. It must be related to my having studied German in highschool, where long compound words are the norm.

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    How Old is an Old Car?

    How old is too old on a car? Which repair is the final straw on the decision? Which repair makes you feel like if this gets fixed, nothing else can need to be replaced anymore?

    The current broken thing on my car is the throttle actuator (I have learned about so many new parts owning this car). What on earth does this do? Well, it's the part that connects your accelerator pedal to the rest of the engine to tell it to go. However, on my car, it's a bit iffy whether that connection will be in place or not. When it's working, the car goes. When it's not, you can press on the accelerator all day long and you'll never hear the engine rev and it won't go faster than the let-your-foot-off-the-brake-and-creep-forward speed. Let me tell you -- that was freaky the first time it happened! But, if I turn off the car, and turn it back on, it fixes it up. For now.

    Now, it's not this particular repair that has me questioning my car's longevity. But, we have been making relatively large money dumps into this car over the last few years. Not as much as a car payment would be (and that's unforgivingly every month), but repairs are big lumps unexpectedly.

    I'm sure I will get it fixed, and continue on until whatever else goes wrong. But I'm curious -- how do you make that decision on replacing/repairing a car?

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Household Confusion

    While the US is officially on the metric system, the transition has been slow at best. Since my husband loves the mathematical simplicity of the metric system, we've been adjusting more and more to using it. His goal is for us to become "biligual" in the two systems, so that one day when the country really does switch, it will be easy for us.

    When he was participating in freediving, my husband really got into the land of meters. I know he picked 61 meters as a target, because it was a nice, round 200 feet for our non-metric-speaking acquaintences. That three weeks of diving got me thinking in metric for underwater purposes.

    Now he's focused on temperature. He put in a new temperature controller in the house, and configured it in Celsius. So, I'm trying to accept that the house is at 25.5 degrees during the evening, and goes up to 29.5 during the day when we're at work. Since this is just a pair of numbers, I can generally keep that 78 to 85 range in my brain. With our recent stove purchase, he set that up in Celsius, as well. Now I find myself doing math with 32 and 5/9 all the time to convert temperatures in recipes and on packaging in order to input the correct digits on the oven. And now there's a lot more numbers that I have to become bilingual with. So, the adjustment period really starts now. And hopefully at the end, I will be truly temperaturally bilingual.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    The Devil Dog

    We have decided that our sweet Shiner is the Devil Incarnate. I present for you the evidence:
    • He has a forked tongue, much like a snake or a lizard or other Satanic-ish animal. It looks like it's probably a birth defect, rather than an old injury, because the two halves are wider than one tongue. But there it is: about an inch of split tongue-ness.

    • He kills small animals and eats them for breakfast. Or lunch or dinner. So far, his body count sits at 5 -- 1 possum, 1 cat, 3 birds. That we know about. He is a terror on the furry little animals, and the neighbor dogs greet him with barking meant for a gladiator-esque scene. I think they enjoy the bloodsport that our back yard provides as entertainment.

    • He makes Darth Vader noises. We haven't fed him out of a food bowl since his first week here. Instead, we feed him out of a plastic ball that he rolls around for a half-hour or so to sprinkle food out on the floor. He has learned to bring the ball to us when we tell him to, but when we walks around with it in his mouth, his breathing sounds like Darth Vader in his mask.

    Okay, so it may not be the most compelling information ever, but he does seem to exude Death everywhere he goes. Maybe he's a Death Dog, instead of a Devil Dog.