Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Pause

I am sure you have experienced that moment between when something ends and when something else begins. That moment where you drag yourself exhausted from one task and get on with the business of renewing for the next. Sort of like that E-Flat Major Chord that opens Das Rheingold, stillness leading to undulating action and then . . .

That is where I am today. In honor of the "Dog Days of August" here are a few random things:

I put Summer Quarter 2009 to bed in a marathon grading session that lasted from Friday a week ago to this past Sunday. The UW has finally gotten web-grading going and so at 5:45 PM I submitted my grades and sent out my farewell email. It was a fun quarter with strong students, a strength that I fear I will miss when I return to The Learning Factory in Mid-September. And thus begins three weeks of blessed rootlessness (even my yoga class is on hiatus) in which much will be done (course prep, travel, reading, house work, and running). It felt so good to just hang around the house yesterday, sitting outside in the sun reading with the dog snoozing at my side.

Religious critics, some of them at least, finally see the religious imagery in Harry Potter! Me? the last film really kinda bored me.

Today was a downtown day for me and I FINALLY rode the Link Light Rail down to Othello and back. Nice and smooth and it accelerates quite fast for a train. The new stations are really cool with interesting art and design. Seats on the train were a might uncomfortable though, probably intentionally. I can't wait for the line to open all the way to SeaTac. For that matter, it will be really cool when the U-District Line is done and also the line up to Everett, via Edmonds and Lynnwood—"Bike+Train+Bike = MyCommute". Some very strange conversations on the train including a woman to apologized to a 5 or 6 year old girl for yelping in surprise. "I am under a lot of pressure" she said, to a little kid?

Café Pho is quite tasty. Today's lunch (with PT) was a Spicy Pork Vietnamese Sandwich (yum) and salad (Iceberg?)

Summer must be winding down. Pike Place Market (downtown in general) didn't seem as crowded this afternoon. Made it all the more easy to get my Beecher's cheese (I know, I know, you can buy it in the stores but there is something about going to the source) and my baguette from Le Panier.

My legs are feeling quite fragile after a week of very hard trail running. Spider Meadow (16.25) two weeks ago, Cedar Butte (6.44) , Cedar Butte + Rattlesnake Ridge to Snoqualmie Point (15), followed by a 10.75 miler in town. Let's see. I've been running trails all spring and summer and haven't fallen yet, even during trail races. It took a simple run from home around Green Lake for me to catch a foot on a rock and crash to the ground scraping and bruising both knees and slicing open my left shoulder. Must have been something to see. I would ask the 6 runners who went past me as I was trying to sort myself out but not one of them even asked if I was alright. Sheesh! Toughed it out for another 7 miles came home and slept. Taking two days off too because of this crash, even skipped a pretty cool trail run this evening (it is killing me).

Everywhere I go I hear snippets of conversation about the upcoming Mayor's race. Mostly it is about how sorry people are that Nickels didn't make the general election. Perhaps instead of running an attack campaign he should have expanded upon his concession speech? I am just sayin! It is possible I just hang around in the wrong places but this is what you get when 31% of the people vote and they are pissed off about snowstorms, tunnels, and math. It is getting complicated too. I get the sense that neither of the two candidates who's names start with M know much about running a city (some interesting analysis of the election here).

Jay Winik's April 1864: The Month That Saved America is a riveting read, and one that I'll be able to finish. I can't help but wondering, though, if some of the same schisms Winik discusses remain and that they are manifesting themselves (I skipped to the end and, no, he is not so bold as to draw out the mystic chords of memory).

Seattle Opera's third cycle of the Ring begins this evening. My DW is going and I'll see very little of her this week. I couldn't quite bring myself to sit in the theater this year and am enjoying watching The Met's 1990 production. Best seat in the house with easy access to the bathroom, my couch. I can even eat popcorn (not that I have any on hand).

Berry season is winding down now and I miss them already. Not that I didn't gorge myself until thoroughly sick. Next summer seems so far away.

Here is something to look forward to: "Swine Flu to hit 50% of us?" Could be? May be? Might be? Wait, this is a conspiracy to get socialized medicine, right, now I get it. Wash your hands folks. This fall at TLF is going to be interesting given the unhealthy behaviors of so many of my students. "Sleep, what's that? I can make do with two cans of Full Throttle per hour . . ."

Getting a little tired of spammers on your Twitter feed? Meet Twitblock.


Professor Fish has some interesting things to say about how to teach writing which, though I don't directly do this, I tend to agree with. All you Comp instructors out there, feel free to agree or disagree, just make sure that your charges get to me able to put more than six words together, cogently.

I am living in a nation at war but you wouldn't really know it because, aside from the almost daily casualty reports mentioned in passing, Americans seem to have stopped talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a problem. What are the consequences for a democratic society in which a majority of the population gets used to the "low grade" headache of constant conflict? A really depressing prospect but at least someone is actually thinking about this.

It is pretty amazing how many people are searching for Iskiate and landing here. McDougall's Born to Run has gone global. Speaking of which, anyone catch him on The Daily Show? Apparently, Jon Stewart is . . . not a runner.

Portland is just over the horizon and the reality that my next marathon is on the way is really sinking in. Up to 40-ish miles a week now. Tired but happy.

Yes, tired but happy in this pause before the next thing . . .

I can't wait!!!

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