Thursday, August 23, 2012

Whole Wheat Poboy!

I made it more than forty years without seeing a whole wheat poboy! Saw a co-worker order one. And asked for an exact copy of it for myself. Delicious and filling and full of awesomeness. Won't be long before I order another one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rocketman Training #6

Another day. Another event to train. Another personal record.

Early morning swim. Felt strong. Felt energized. And pushed through to 40 laps. 2000 meters. Non-stop.

If I'm not ready for Rocketman at this point, I never will be.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rocketman Training #5

Couple of rest days. Felt good today. Great, even! Anxious for more.

So I did a light run. Only four miles. (When I'm facing six this weekend.) But a personal record for my efforts. 38:57 all together. 4 miles x 9:44 each. I've never been able to get below ten minutes. Until today. And I'm pretty sure I had at least one, if not two, more in me. Good good good run.

Only took two years to get my legs under me...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pub Grub For Two

It should be easier to be happy. And yet people have to work at it. Create something new between them. When their old happiness dies. Maybe I'm myopic and prejudiced. But I think I try harder. More often.

Like tonight. I called, all spontaneous, and said to meet me for dinner and a drink. Just something quick. And easy. A couple of rounds at the local pub. Margaritas for her. Pints of Woodchuck por moi. We ate some plates of Korean BBQ. And a divey Irish spin on kimchi.

I think it went well. The bbq was well prepared and tasty. Kimchi was interesting, but not my favorite. And drinks are hard to get wrong. So that was my attempt. Reaching for happiness. Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn't. But I tried. That much, I know.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Being me is exhausting. The training. The job. The children. The wife. The car with its broken air conditioner. The dog. The forty-something year old house. And all these damn ideas and aspirations slamming through my head like cold, uncaring missiles. I don't know which part abrades me the most. But today, it was the whole fatherhood piece. Liam going apeshit sideways on me. Blowing up and proclaiming his intent to depart as soon as humanly possible. Telling his mother to shutup and go to her room. And the ensuing punishment.

That's what I hate the most. Having to police somebody's action and issue punitive repercussions. It should be easy. Everyone should work together to be happy. As a group. But then somebody goes off kilter, and I have to be the bad cop. And that shit is exhausting.

Eventually, Liam calmed down. Returned to normal. And went to bed early. Molly guarding him from evil ol' Daddy. Bad cop. Villain in our tale. But it is the path I chose. And I'll see it to its end. Guard dog or no. I've got the biggest bite in the house.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rocketman Training #4

I've actually been training for several weeks. Months even. Culminated today with a full practice brick of all three events: swim, bike, run.

Trained with Luke, and Tish, and JG. One of many training events for them as they're getting ready for a half Ironman in October. And their distances lined up with mine very nicely: 1 mile swim, 2hr bike, and 40min run.

Started at 0700. Sunrise on Robinwood Lake. Good swim. Four continuous laps. A new record for me. Taking my time. Pacing myself. Didn't feel dead at the end. All good.

Biking went well. At least the first 24 miles. I averaged 18.9MPH. Slight improvement over my normal 18.7MPH. An hour and sixteen minutes. The last 45minutes, I covered another twelve and a half miles. Final total: 36.5 miles in two hours.

Running wasn't good. Four miles in 49 minutes. 12 minute miles, yuck! Still, all told, I burned at least 3600 calories, according to my tracker. I think it was that much on the run alone!

But here's what I did wrong:
  • I lifted heavy yesterday. Back & Biceps. Felt it almost the entire run.
  • I didn't hydrate yesterday. Normally, I drink 60+ oz of G2 the day before a big event
  • I ran out of Gu. Took my last one an hour into the bike ride. Should have had one more at the end of the ride, to fuel for the run.
  • No water during the run. Brutal heat. Pounding sunlight. I had to stop three times to scrounge water from faucets in the front of people's yard. Hot hot hot!
Next week: I won't lift after Thursday, I'll hydrate the day before the race, I'll have PLENTY of Gu, there will be water available on the run, and I'll wear a visor to block the sun.
A couple of light workouts this week, but nothing stressful. If I'm not ready for Rocketman now, it is too late for improvements. It's do it or die trying, now.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Cindy painted Meg's room today. A stunning shade of purple. Excellent job, too. Everyone is quite happy. Except for the fumes. Poor Meg couldn't sleep in her own room. So there was something of a sleepover, in the front room, on the new couch.

Starting at the top left corner, with the arrow pointing to the right, it's Liam. Moving clockwise, first arrow pointing down, it's Cindy. Below her, Meg. And on the left, Molly.

Room for me, if everyone squeezed close!

Maybe next time?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Extenuating Circumstances

I like to think of myself as flexible. Not a stickler for little, unimportant details.

But I do like my plans. My schedule of events. And I really dislike when they're completely disrupted by extenuating circumstances.

So my car decides to die last night. In slow, cruel stages. Didn't like cranking up in the morning, but did. Barely cranked after work. A trip to O'Reilly's to check the battery, and it cranked no more. "You only got four volts," the lad says. "Charge it over night," He proceeds to sell me a $20 trickle charger. Then jump starts my car. And off I go.

Only the trickle charger didn't charge anything. The car was COMPLETELY dead this morning. Had to summon the MiL (Gigi) to take the kids to school. Then wait for Cindy to get home because I could use her car to fetch a replacement battery.

"If it is dead, we'll replace it," says a new lad at O'Reilly's.

"It's dead now," I says.

"But we need to test it before we can replace it."

"You need a coroner? It's dead, dude."

"I know," he says. "But we have to test it. And to test it, we have to charge it."

"How long does that take?"

"About an hour."

"An hour?!?"

"Yeah, because it's dead."


An hour later.

"Okay," he says. "It's dead."

And I get the corpse swapped out. Except... not for free. It was one month (ONE MONTH!) outside the warranty. They did pro-rate it. And for $35, I received a replacement.

After installing it, the car started right up. No more extenuating circumstances...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Her Reality

I'm not fascinated by the political affiliation of this shirt wearer.

I'm not fascinated by the gender or economic strata of this shirt wearer.

I'm fascinated that all the things written on her shirt are true, in her reality. That she holds those words to be truths. That they are battle cries in her private war against the forces of Socialism and Fascist Obamacare. 

I'm fascinated that anyone, anywhere could believe Obama's departure will magically produce the following results:
  • Sixteen trillion dollars will magically fly into the Federal treasury and we'll be able to pay off six decades of accrued debt.
  • No future presidents will ever make use of Czars.
  • 105,000,000 Americans will be re-employed .
  • Too Big To Fail businesses will be allowed to fail.
  • Homeowners who have not paid their mortgages will not have to give up their unpaid homes.
  • Gasoline prices will decided they've been too high too long and return themselves to $1.25/gallon.
  • $84,000,000,000 worth of mortgages held by Freddie & Fannie will be forgiven so that those two organizations can close down quickly and quietly.
  • All the Muslims will decide their dreams of freedom and justice in America were just false, hollow promises, so they'll go on a one-way pilgrimage back to the Holy Land. 
  • And all these things coming true will make this a better, freer, happier country, like it was before Obama self-elected himself.
Somewhere, the Founding Fathers weep. And if it were not so damn funny, I'd weep, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rocketman Training #3

30 mile bike ride. First time I've ridden in the dark. Not the first time I've ridden in the rain. Rarely easy to  ride after a long day at work. But we do what we have to do in order to make our goals a reality. And mine includes an Olympic Distance event in less than two weeks. So I chase my dragon: rain or shine, night or day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rocketman Training #2

Two weeks from today, I'll be recovering. Torn between so many emotions: eager to be done, nervous with anticipation, confidence with my training thus far, fear of failing. Probably only get worse as the day moves closer. Poor ol' Jon, all aboard his emotional rollercoaster ride.

Surprised I feel so well after my swim yesterday. Slight protest from my right shoulder. But a coat of biofreeze worked the usual miracles. And I had a good lift in the gym this morning. Then tonight's run. Oh, the run...

New personal record: 5.1 miles. Never tried that distance alone. Wasn't pretty. Wasn't fast. And I pity anyone down wind of me. But I did it. And I did the last mile shirtless. Aside from swimming, I don't think I've been shirtless in public in my adult life. And here I am: middle-aged man, running through my neighborhood, sweating like a stank, furry boar.

Life is good for the Digital Redneck.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rocketman Training #1

Another Sunday at Robinwood. Usual crowd. Usual adventure. Accomplished a new personal record. Six laps. Upwards of 2640 meters. 1.6 miles, maybe?

Followed it up with a ride, all by my lonesome. Dislike riding alone. But had to get in my miles. Only two more weeks of Rocketman training left. No more excuses. The event draws near.

No records on the bike today. But I put in almost 20 miles. 18.7MPH average. And it will have to do for now.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Problem

I live in the fattest state in the union. Five years running. Maybe six by now. 34.4% of my fellow Mississippians are obese. And I'm not sure I understand the cause of the problem.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Honey Boo Boo Is America

TLC held an enormous mirror up to the face of America last night. And in our bright national reflection we beheld: Honey Boo Boo. 

The over-weight, over-talkative, would-be pagent star from McIntyre, GA, ranted and danced her way across the screen in tonight's premeire episodes. The motto of the night: "We're not rednecks," repeated like an anthem, with most of their dialog only discernable through gratuitous use of subtitles

"We're not rednecks," Mom says while cutting up then cooking roadkill recently scraped off the street.

"We're not rednecks," says the unwed-but-pregnant oldest sister, her BabyDaddy's identity a mystery for later episodes.

"We're not rednecks," another sister, this one clad in a rebel-flag bikinni top, drunkenly hollers before belly flopping into a mud pit strategically placed at the end of the Redneck Pride march. 

And TRUE rednecks would certainly never hop their daughter up on home brewed "Go-Go Juice" (a combination of Mountain Dew & Red Bull) before she goes on stage at a pagent. They know fifteen Pixie Sticks just don't do it for her. They tried that. No go, there. So the completely non-redneck adults give Honey Boo Boo a 20oz of "Go-Go Juice" then set her loose upon the world.

Honey Boo Boo is America writ small: Slow. Cranky. Unintelligible. Sitting around the house eating "Fat Cakes." Squeeling heinously in chorus with our pet pot bellied pig (that is actually male but we dress it up like its female!) And taking long draws of Go-Go Juice just to keep us conscious enough to make it through the delerious tedium of our sweltering summer days.

Thank you, TLC. That was a refreshing little wake-up call. Now pass the roadkill jerky!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Beginning & End

Beginning of another school year. The years ticking by too quickly. The kids growing and slowly becoming their own person.

Liam, freshly thirteen, entering 7th grade. All advanced classes. Straight A average. Hasn't touched an instrument he cannot play. Recently started chatting with a local girl on FB, and Skyping on a webcam. Only five more years and he'll fly the nest.
Meg, midway through ten and on her way to eighteen, in 5th grade. Art and dance and songs all co-mingle behind her eyes. The whole day a performance when I'm with her. The bright sun in my sky. A living firework.
Hopefully the school year goes well. Stays in the lanes. I'm going to stick closer this time. Put out any sign of trouble as soon as I see it. No repeats of last year's woes. Learned that lesson. 

End of the day, I go to tuck Liam into bed. I find him pretzeled around his covers. His legs knotted up behind him, all rubbery and completely relaxed. Careful not to wake him up, I unwind the kid from the blanket and cover him up. Couldn't help but take a picture. Nobody would believe it without photographic evidence! Sleep well, little dude. You'll need it.

We all will.

Karmic Bandit

If you're happy, I'm happy. Funny how simple that is.

Tried to make some friends happy today. Too different friends. Two different coasts. Atlanta. San Francisco. They'll be surprised. I hope happily surprised. Maybe for a few minutes. Maybe a few days. Maybe a lifetime.

Point is, I tried. Something of an attempt at being a karmic bandit. Score some points. Tip the balance in my favor. Or just earn a chuckle while they think, "Oh, McDougal, you silly bastard."

If you're happy, I'm happy. That's how simple it is.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Granny Pam's Dinner

"I'm officially a speed limit," Granny Pam said.
She wouldn't allow a party, but she allowed a dinner with the family.
Gathered at Half Shell Oyster House.
Darren's crew. My crew.Robert, and Pam.
Good to see everyone. Bad when work interrupted. Cut my meal short. But everyone had a good time. Nice way to end a long night.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Prepping For Rocketman

Adding a new event to my schedule: Rocketman. An Olympic distance triathlon. Mile swim. 25 mile bike. 6 mile run. August 26th. My longest event, to date. I've been prepping for Rocketman, already. My swim should be good. My bike should be good. Running, however, will suck. I'm up to 4+ miles on my training. But it isn't pretty. I still have a couple more weeks to get in shape. Have to focus on the run. Maintain the rest. And I should be good. Only one way to find out...

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Model The New Suit

Bought a new one piece triathlon suit.Figured it would help speed up my transitions. Won't have to slap on a shirt. That's my theory, at least.

Liam agreed to model the new suit. He thinks it fits him really well. Very comfortable, he said. Doesn't know it is supposed to fit like a second skin.

My own little Bolt, zipping around the back yard and posing for the camera.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Liam Turns Thirteen

I blink and suddenly I'm the father of a teenager. Yesterday I was taking him home from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Today, he's texting his peeps and thanking everyone on FB for the birthday wishes. Another blink and he'll be driving off to college. All too fast, it seems. All too fast.

Great day for everyone involved. Cindy took the kids (Bryce, Liam, and Meg) to play laser tag in D'Iberville. Afterwards, we meet for lunch at Mugshot's. The usual for the kids. The usual for the adults. Long wait, though. Unusually long. Kids had a good time though. Liam getting everything he wanted. Hard for him to argue when he's calling the shots.

After lunch, a long long (LONG!) viewing of Batman - The Dark Knight Rises. Interesting twists. Surprised us several times. Smidge too long. Odd development of Catwoman. Very unpleasant changes to Bane. But I'm old fashioned. My memories dating to 1993, when Bane broke Batman and started the Knightfall saga. Twenty years later, the big screen doesn't seem to do it much justice. But Liam & Bryce thought it was great. I enjoyed it for what it was. Glad it finally made it to the big screen. An excellent trilogy. Finally something worthy of the character of Batman.
Finally, we all gathered at the house, Cindy's family and mine. She and Meg lit the candles. We all sang. Liam made a wish. And blew out the candles. Cookie cake. What he wanted. Delicious, the small piece I enjoyed. Everyone enjoying the company and sweets.

Good way to end the night. And the first day of Liam's thirteenth year. Onward and upward, son. The world is yours.

Bye Bye Beetle

I've been avoiding the inevitable for the better part of a year. Maybe more. Trying to keep the mental wound closed. Not admit my defeat. My own shortcomings. How I failed at another of my many daydreams.

The Beetle was an expensive lesson to learn. Too much time. Too much effort. And too much money went into it. I did a fraction of what I wanted to do with it. Just not rewarding enough. I thought it would go better. Make a bigger impact. Have more fans. More friends. More help. More success. None of which emerged. Regardless of what I did. So I stopped doing. And the Beetle has sat in my driveway, unmoving, ever since.
Shipped it off to a new home, today. With Dale Ridenour. A good home for my old project. A better owner. Dale's far more industrious and talented with such things than I'll ever be. He's done solar heaters and panels and even has a solar trailer that could (in theory) charge the Beetle for free.
Hopefully Dale can get it working again. Then we'll figure out how the legal mumbo jumbo. No need to get tangled in red tape or paperwork right now. I want him to succeed. Where I failed.
So it is bye bye Beetle. Off you go, old friend. It was fun while it lasted. You fly back , now, little Beetle. Fly, fly, fly.

Friday, August 03, 2012

RIP Kramer: 2005 - 2012

I didn't really know Kramer. The cat. But I buried him, today. 
A hard life as a semi-stray in the furnace of a South Mississippi summer took him at a relatively early age. Glenda tried to help. Cindy tried. The vet tried. But there's only so much they could do for a cat on its last legs. In the end, nature ran its course.
The ceremony was low key and subdued. I changed into some comfortable clothes. Glenda picked an appropriate locating, on a shaded knoll that Kramer frequented. Cindy respectfully transported the body. And I dug the grave.
Brutal heat. Lots of sweat. Glenda thanking me quietly the whole time. My sweltering hot workout concluded. The ladies said a few kind words. Shared a story or three about Kramer. Then put flowers on the lid. And sprinkled some dirt on top. Once I was done, they marked the site with an iron sculpture of a butterfly. Added an old stone from Glenda's mother's house.

And there resides Kramer. The cat. Rest in peace, Kramer. You deserve it. You were a good cat.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

How Digital Should Be

A first today: bought an eBook. So simple. And fast. Doubt I'll ever go back to buying dead tree books again!
Read a review of vN (for Von Nueman (a type of robot.)) Looked like something I'd dig. Fired up the Nexus 7. Hopped into Google Play. Found the book for $6. Clicked Buy. Google did the rest. BOOM! The book is on my tablet and I'm reading it.

Songs? Just as easy to buy. Movies? Ditto. Games? Yup! Apps? Hell yeah!

Now THIS is how digital should be done. And I'll be back for more.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Ron Asked

"Didn't you used to have a blog?" Ron asked. "Tales from the Bayou, or something like that?"
I've been talking about posting for weeks. But Jon's talk is cheap. And Jon's action has been lacking.

When I was on my busiest, most creative posting streak, it was due to soul-crushing insomnia. Many nights I would not get sleepy until well after midnight and be lucky to drift off around two in the morning. But triathlon training has mostly cured. By nine o'clock I'm usually winding down for the night. By ten o'clock I'm getting ready, possibly in bed, usually reading. And by eleven o'clock, I'm usually fast asleep. For the first time in over a decade, I'm actually getting a good night's rest! Unfortunately, my writing has suffered, but I can catch up. I still have notes!

So, Uncle Ron has set me straight. (Thanks, Ron!) I'm getting my priorities together. And I'm back to recording my adventures, before they're lost and forgotten.