Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

That time of year. Sugar. Ghouls. Princesses. Heroes. Villains. And lots of tired parents. Me among them. But it is worth it, for the kiddos. When they're happy, I'm happy. And I certainly want to be happy.

So Meg decided to combine genres this year. She was an undead prom queen. Completely with black nails, black lipstick, pale makeup, and black boots that stopped fitting two years ago (but she wore them anyway.) Liam put up the typical "I'm Too Cool" defense, at first. But then the lure of candy overrode his desire to preserve his social status and at the last minute he cobbled something together. An acid trip hippy or something. Complete with 1970s pimp hat. Good enough, right? 

Since our neighborhood has longer streets and fewer nice people who will answer their doors (meaning a longer walk for few treats!) we went to Gigi's house. Uncle D & Aunt Amy had brought their youngest kids (Tolar  was Darth Vader. Alex was an Egyptian princess) so we merged the teams and tackled the night, together.

Actually went better than I thought. The four kids managed themselves. For the most part. A minimum of goal tending by us Dads. Meanwhile, the women gossiped and drank wine. Clear skies. Nice temperature. No surely teens to cause trouble. And after a couple of blocks, the crew was ready to wind to a close. All in all, an excellent outing which didn't result in any drama, tears, or bloodshed.

Afterward, I ran 10K. Yeah, I'm THAT weird. No, I wasn't dressed up. Unless you count looking like a frumpy old geek. But I'm always dressed up like that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy, The Results

Thankfully, all good news! None of my friends were excessively affected by Hurricane Sandy. Of everyone I knew (Ron, Margaret & Philip (from CEHS) and Chris F (architect) the worst damage I'm aware of was loss of power. Now that's not pleasant in this day and age, but it is far better than it could have been.

This is going to sound strange, but I'd much rather be a victim of a storm than worry about my friends going through it. They're usually (no offense!) not prepared. At least their community isn't, even if they are.

Morning came around and I heard, directly or indirectly, from all of them. Huge sigh of relief. Especially for Ron. Last year a flood engulfed his place. He's STILL recovering. Another flood would have been devastating. But he's alright. They're all alright. And that makes me alright! Well, a little more alright, if nothing else...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Approaches

As the day draws to a close, Hurricane Sandy approaches some of my friends in the North East. Ron, Margaret, Phil, and Alex's Mother, to name a few. The region isn't prepared for even a CAT1. Let alone a so-called "Super Storm" that results from Sandy colliding with two other fronts. All right over the heads of people I cannot stop thinking about. At the least, they'll lose power for up to a week. At worst, well let's not talk about that.

Here's the sad and weird part: I'd rather be directly in Sandy's path myself than to be a casual observer as she hits my friends. I hate the idea of not knowing what will happen to them. Constantly fearing the worst for them. Wanting to help them in any way I can, even though we all know there's nothing I can do.

Instead, I'm confined to my own existence. Watching their new one unfold in real time across the news, Facebook, Twitter, and private IMs. Powerless, except to watch. And wait.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I like to think I work hard. I like to think I train hard. I provide for my kids. I provide for my wife. I provide for the mop-headed dog, even. I don't ask for much. I sacrifice and make sure everyone around me has what they need. All at my own personal expense. 

So I don't feel guilty for spending a few dollars and a few hours decompressing my crushed spirit and recharging my dwindling internal batteries. Okay, my relaxing happens to take place in an Irish pub. It includes a couple of pints of Woodchuck cider. Occasionally some Rotel dip. Sometimes hearing a local band. If that's a crime, I'm guilty as charged.

I'm not going to sit in a silent house, trying not to wake the sleeping masses, and idle my remaining sane years away. I think I earn some solace. Anyone who feels otherwise needs to speak now. Or forever hold your peace. In the meanwhile, you know where to find me. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

70.3 Training - Week 7

Hardest week, yet. The peak of my training. Never pushed further or longer than I did this week. And I'm feeling GREAT! If I'm not ready now, I won't ever be ready.

Swimming was on par. I've never been worried about the swimming. I might not be the fastest fish in the water, but I've been doing a mile during training for a couple of months now.

Biking could have been better. Needed one longer ride. But I felt pretty good on what I did. On race day, with the adrenaline and lots of sleep under my belt, I'll do fine.

Running was great! Did 12.2 miles in just under two hours. The interval training has paid off enormously. No doubts that I can do the distance now. Keep focused. Keep positive. Stick to the plan. Rinse and repeat as needed. Very proud of my progress on the run and I'm doing distances I never (EVER!) thought I could do.

The hard part is over. Now I start to taper off. Let my body recover. Focus on sleep and food. Then kick all kinds of buttocks on race day. River Roux, here I come!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jon On Tape

My property donated time to Books On Tape, today. Just a few minutes out of our shift to record audio for the blind. I'm guessing young blind children. I picked "STOP THIS BIRTHDAY!"

I coyly changed the Birthday Faerie to a boy, instead of a girl, and tried to sound like Liam. And I did the protagonist (Zephyr) as if it were Meg talking. I doubt anyone will ever know. But I was proud to record Jon On Tape with subtle tributes to my kids. They're probably never know. But I will.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lesson Learned

Mile in the lake. Wet suit. Good times. Two hours on the bike. 40 miles. Feel bruised where a man doesn't want to feel bruised.

Made the mistake of not eating a proper dinner. Then having one (or so) too many drinks after hours.

But it helped. Been trying to work out all these mental clashes in my head for a while. Haven't made much ground. Until tonight. Ultimately, soothed by the song of cider, I decided to fall back on my favorite mantra: this too shall pass.

What seems difficult and horrible now will be laughable down the road. I've gotten over worse. And I'll probably have terrible challenges in the future. So: this too shall pass.

Thank you, Woodchuck!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

70.3 Training - Week 6

The astute observer will ask: What happened to the Week 5 update, Jon? Ah, ha! Good question. Answer is that Week 5 training was diminished because of Mighty Magnolia.

I registered for Mighty Magnolia months before I registered for River Roux. Didn't want to skip it. Didn't want to miss seeing everyone. And I wanted to see how I had improved.  So Week 5 wasn't really for 70.3 training. But thanks for asking!

Week 6 went well. Swimming has been tight for months. No worries there. I can swim 1.2 miles without any significant concerns. (And who would have thought I'd ever say that?) Been training in the wetsuit. Somewhat more challenging, but not severe.

Running went pretty well. Broke a new Personal Record last night, 10 miles! I feel much more confident having broken into double digit territory. Previously, my record was 8 miles, and that was a long run with Luke, prepping for the Rock N Roll.

Biking was off, though. Work got in the way and I didn't get the road time that I wanted. I'll likely have at least three hours during the race. Haven't touched that distance, yet. Needed to, but couldn't make it work. Did a lot of spinning, though. 

Overall: Feeling strong. Getting much more comfortable. Looking forward to the personal challenge. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

In The Long Run

I like Friday because it is the end of the work week.

I don't like Friday because it means I have a long run in the evening.

Today was no exception. Supposed to do An hour and forty seven minutes. (Luke makes the schedule. I just do what he says. No idea why it is an hour and forty seven minutes.)

Picked a mild pace. About 9:30/mile. But with interval training it turned closer to 10:30/mile. 1 minute walk and all. By the end (an hour and fifty minutes) I had traveled 10.3 miles.

Another personal record. A distance I'd never covered before. And wasn't sure I could do. But I did. And it didn't kill me. Nice weather. Proper hydration. Good fueling through out.

Everything came together, in the long run.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Life With Meg

Just when I think I'm feeling low all week, I get to experience the unpredictable joy of life with Meg!

She comes blazing out of her room, on the back of an inflatable horse. Complete with a Megtastic cowgirl hat! She's galloping around the living room, whooping and hollering, and yelling "Giddy up!"

I'm laughing so hard, I can barely hold the phone still long enough to take a picture.

Absolutely amazing treat from Little Red. Completely surprised us with that Wild West show. And I'm already feeling better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pedal Power

At least I'm rarely bored.

If something isn't invading my personal space, it is launching an assault on my workday. And sometimes I get dragged down for hours in the most trivial of issues. But, I'm glad to be employed. I'm happy to be able to do something I enjoy.

Anyway, didn't get to hit the road for a long ride, so I did two, back to back, spin classes. Generated a ton of pedal power: 37 miles and almost 1350 calories.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cheaper Than Therapy

A long (1.2 mile) swim. Followed by a 10K run. Amazing how two or so hours of exercise can improve your mental state. In a really bad mood most of the day. Should be happy about my checkup. Should be happy about the progress of my training. But I'm all sideways about trivial stuff. And having trouble shaking the negative thoughts. 

Fortunately, the training realigns some of my thoughts. Takes the hard, sharp edges off my mood. I'm not going to win any geniality medals, but it works. And it is far cheaper than therapy. And more effective. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Win some. Lose some.

Win some: clean bill of health from the doc. Including 118/70 blood pressure and 55BPM heart rate.

Win some more: Dropping below 185lbs for the first time in probably 15 years. Empty stomach and buck naked, I might even be 180. Booyah! Celebrated my healthy diagnosis and weight loss with several pints of Woodchuck and a serving of Fried Shepard's Pie. (Yes, fried!) 

Lose some: I'm completely bummed out by the realization that after two years of triathlons, I'm barely out of the bottom 50% of competitors. And I'll likely never get a medal unless I hold out for another 25yrs and I'm one of three (or less!) competitors in my age group. Yeah yeah, I know I should be happy that I can finish. I should be pleased with my personal records. That I'm getting better every time. But it is a complete pisser to be beaten by guys doing their first triathlon and to see EVERYONE getting awards, except me. Hey, I'm super happy for them. They all trained hard and deserve their awards. But Ol' Jon trains pretty damn hard, and he'd like an award, too. Or a medal. Or just a pat on the back and a carton of cigarettes, "Smoke up, Johnny."

So I've got that clogging my head. Too many thoughts and recent disappointments. Everything co-mingling and completely sapping my strength. Giving me ideas like: "Why bother?" 

And as the Woodchuck buzz wears off I remember how mad I used to be. Back when I wasn't happy. 

But. This too shall pass.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Dive. The Hall. The Meg.

Never a dull moment these days. Always an adventure waiting to be had.

On the 65th anniversary of Chuck Yeager becoming the first human to break the speed barrier (by piloting an experimental rocket powered aircraft) Felix Baumgartner successfully completed Red Bull's Stratos skydive attempt. After dangling in a one-man space capsule under 30,000,000 cubic feet of helium for two hours to the very edge of space, Felix leaped from a height of  128,100 feet, reached a maximum estimated speed of 833.9MPH, and would free fall for 4:22 before landing in near Roswell, NM. Started watching it live on YouTube, then CNN picked it up. But they had LOTS of distracting talking heads. Ended up catching it on Discovery, with a lack of sockpuppets drowning in the background and naught but the chattering of Mission Control as Felix soared through the sky, like Buzz Lightyear writ large.

In the meanwhile, Jon had to whittle away at his never-ending list of To Do items. Today's chore: cover up the water stain on the ceiling. A hold over from the @#$!ing AC drain pipes got clogged and spilled over the collection pain. ($200 that I didn't have for a smiling plumber to "blow them out.")

Drop cloth. Step ladder. Killz. 3" roller. Then it takes me longer to set up and clean up than it takes to roll out the paint. Of course I'll have to put down a second coat next weekend. But it's looking much nicer, now. And maybe, just maybe, SOMEBODY will get off my back long enough for me to catch a breath and relax for a few minutes. Then again, there's always Woodchuck for that.

And speaking of God-only-knows-what-to-expect-next, there is life with Meg. One minute the girl is writing philosophical quotes on the dew-covered hood of my car ("Energy follows thought" in this case) and the next  minute she is screaming at the top of her lungs how she is tired of going to The Dock "the last seven times we went out to eat!" and WANTS MEXICAN! Meg screaming about her dinner plans is akin to an ice pick to the eyeball. Over. And over. And... ...over. For the next 7 years. Or more?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mighty Magnolia 2012

Mighty Magnolia was supposed to be my first triathlon, back in 2010. Days before, I caught pneumonia. Didn't quite make it that year. So Tradition's was my first triathlon, in 2011, and Mighty Magnolia was my last of the year. Normally, it marks the end of the season for the triathletes around here. Since I've been training for a 70.3, I didn't give any extra thought to preparing for it. I was pretty sure I'd be ready.

Last year I finished it in 1:40. This year I finished it in 1:34. Wanted closer to 1:30. I have a big problem with my time in the water, but I finished, and I did better than last year. So I'm thankful for that.

After a great night's sleep at Aunt Judy's house, I was the sixth person on site. Numbered. Chipped. Setup my transition. Then debated: wetsuit or no wetsuit. The water was cold enough to wince for a second but didn't feel cold enough to suffer through a suit the whole swim. I would have been hot after the first 100 meters. And it would have affected my stroke the whole time. Ultimately, I decided to do the swim without my wetsuit.

The start was a bit late. And they manually tracked our time (more on that later.) Not many buoys in the water but lots of kayaks. No big issues in the water. Just a slight bit cold. Plenty of energy. No lizard brain whispering to me. Didn't need to stop once to catch my breath. And came out of the water feeling great.

Ultimately, my time was 11 minutes and some change. Somehow worse than my time (10:34) last year! Even though I thought it was one of my best swims ever, it was one of my worst times. Several folks said the same thing. The working theory is that the manual start times were very off. But if they were off for everyone, then it is what it is. However, I still felt great and thought it was a magnificent performance. Damn the clock!

Ride turned out great. The road was super rough in several places. One hill (at 12 miles) was steep enough to make me stand up. But I was behind Lisa McCombs (seen posing with me) and pushed hard through the whole race. Over all, only six people passed me, including Lisa, and I was happy about that. Last year, my average was around 17.7MPH. This time, it was close to 19.5MPH. A significant improvement and (again) I felt great the whole time.

Run was good. For the first time in a race, I didn't stop to catch my breath. Not for water. Not for fuel. Not for anything. I found a good pace and stuck to it. Finished below thirty minutes (my time last year was 29:21.)

So, Mighty Magnolia was a good warm up. I almost hit my goal. I question some of the times. But I have much more confidence that my run training is paying off.

Four weeks from today: showtime at River Roux!

Friday, October 12, 2012

On The Road

Was supposed to have today off. Didn't have today off. Too many irons in the fire. Hot ones needing my attention. Did leave a bit early, but traffic from Cruisin' The Coast turned my twenty minute commute into an hour of gridlock. Eventually made it home, packed for Mighty Magnolia, I was on the road again.

Headed to Hattiesburg. Family farm. Aunt Judy. Uncle Terry. Baby McKinley. Pitch black roads. Lots of quiet. And (surprise!) a bed only 10 minutes from the race site tomorrow.

Mighty Magnolia, here I come!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Perceptions

My father picked up some of my pictures today. Rocketman photos. (I'm pretty happy with them, too.)

Dad checks them out and says, "Geez, look how skinny you are, son!" 

"I'm not skinny, Dad. I'm just not as overweight anymore."

"You weren't overweight! If you were overweight, I'm really fat."

"I was almost 220lbs. Down to about 185lbs, now. Actually pretty close to my ideal. First time in more than a decade." 

"Well, you weren't fat." 

Maybe I wasn't. But I certainly wasn't healthy. And I didn't feel good. And I wasn't happy. Forty five pounds later, I'm much better. 

Maybe I'm skinny? I don't know. My belly isn't. But I'll suffer being skinny if it means I sleep better, feel better, and go through life better. I'll take skinny any day. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Diversity 2012 - Day Two

Last night, I slept like a baby. And needed it. Diversity 2012, Day Two, was as dynamic and challenging as Day One! Another 10+ hours of helping and coaching and challenging and supporting and running and lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Couple of surprising demonstrations at my expense. Had to start off the morning with a dance. And anyone who knows me should know I would rather set my manparts on fire than dance in front of people. Concluded with a very personal, very revealing public revelation of my fear concerning my first attempt at a 70.3 next month. A huge mental barrier for me, and I put my mind and body into breaking through it today.

After the final class exercise, the Diversity Instructors from LV thanked us for our efforts and sacrifices, then presented us with a very unique lapel pin. (I'll post a picture and details later.) After their polite words, I offered a few suggestions to everyone. Suggested that we are honored to have any manner of impact on their lives or thoughts, but experiencing the class with them and coaching them had affected all of us (coaches) Their journey has also been a journey for us. And I left them with the final thought: lasting results only come from lasting changes. They cannot practice the lessons they learned once or twice and expect to remain changed forever. They have to commit to lasting changes. And only then will they achieve lasting results.

The 600th Diversity Graduation followed. The Champions celebrated. Existing Champions cheered them on. Food. Drink. Cleaning up. The long drive home. And thus concluded Diversity 2012, Day Two. Until next year!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Diversity 2012 - Day One

The first rule of Diversity training is: you don't talk about Diversity training. So I'll skip the fine details. The heart of the matter is that I had a fantastic day with my fellow Diversity Champions as we helped coach the next generation of champions through their first day of training.

Andra Berry is one of the Founding Fathers of MGM's Diversity. He's a seething fireball of energy and inspiration. I enjoyed every moment of his presentations. Even when they brought us to verge of tears. It was a rare treat to work with him and I am only saddened to see him once a year.

I'll say this about Diversity training: It is a very different experience to go through the training the first time than it is to help coach new students through it their first time. To see the change as it swept across the class was amazing. To observe them the first morning, all sullen and suspicious, then compare it against their faces as they leave.. it bordered on magical. But it was painful not to help them through certain exercises. We had to let them fail. Then we picked them up. And encouraged them. Before sending them out on their own to try again.

On a personal note, Andra hit a surprising note with me. We were talking about his last visit and he remember meeting me. Said I look much happier, now. Smiling more. Standing straighter. Holding my head up. He asked what was different. Why the change? I brushed it off a little, glad that outwardly I appear as happy as I am internally. I said things were clicking better in my life for me. Training and such. He said, to paraphrase, whatever has happened to me has happened for a reason. There are no accidents. We are the architects of our own happiness. And whatever I'm doing to be happier, stick with it.

That really hit home with me. As well as the rest of the day. It was all exciting and enjoyable and enlightening. But it tires you fast. And I'm ready for some sleep at the end of Diversity 2012, Day One.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

70.3 Training - Week 4

Interesting week of training for our would-be Ironman. Continuing to improve and gain more confidence each day.

  • Booked a room at the New Roads, LA, Cypress Inn. Two nights. Figured a nap would follow the race. And perhaps the legs will not be too cooperative until after a long break.
  • Started thinking about fuel plans during the event. Won't be able to burn upwards of a thousand calories an hour without good fuel in the tank. Luke says munch every thirty minutes. Keep things simple. Just have to experiment and dial in the details over the next few weeks.
  • Started wetsuit swims. Regretting the long sleeves while the weather is relatively warm. A good bit more work on the arms. Having to caught my breath a little every 200 yards, right now. But in early November, they'll likely be a godsend. Not to mention the added buoyancy!
  • Crushed a run on Monday. 6 miles in less than an hour. New PR. But failed miserably on Wednesday's short run. Calves like lead. Tasers for feet, shooting bright doses of pain up shins and quads and eventually vertebrae. Maybe 2.5 miles, mostly walking, in 30 minutes. Good run tonight, though. An hour and fifteen minutes. 7.2 miles. A pitstop and a funked up phone created minor delays. 
  • The cycle reset this week. Last week was a peak. This week, start building up again. Culminates in two hour runs and three hour rides by the end of the month. 
Hoping to have less distractions. Stick to the plan. Train solo if needed. But stick to the plan. 

Only four weeks to go. 

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hodge At 40

Misery loves company. So it was with warm regard that I welcomed my man Gregory Hodge to the "Over The Hill," club today. We all float down here!

Celebrated the end of his youth with a visit to our favorite Biloxi haunt: The Fillin Station. An experimental crawfish piroux for birthday boy. A Biloxi Blues wrap por moi. Always good food. Always good drink. And the 20-something waitresses know we're harmless old men, so they came out in droves to chat up us lame-o casino geeks. (That's Courtney in the photo.) Concluded with the bringing of a nummy slice of birthday cheesecake (Hodge spared a lone bite) and lots of goodbye hugs, for him.

And that was the highlight of my Friday. Won't mention the lack of training. The new leak. Circular arguments. Or wasting half an hour in traffic where (as a 40-something) I was one of the youngest drivers on the road. For all those woes: this too shall pass. In the meanwhile, very proud to spend a day with Hodge at 40.

Thursday, October 04, 2012


I don't know where we reside on the timeline of The Great Recession. I'd like to think we're at least half way through. Who knows? What I do know is that when I bought my house, nearly seven years ago,we were still  at the peak of the housing bubble. Compounded by the lack of available homes in the wake of Katrina. We paid too much. And we had an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. If things had gone according to plan, we would have sold the house for some kind of profit, and upgraded. Or at least refinanced at a better rate.

Flash forward to the present. Ouch. The market imploded. Despite pouring between twenty and forty grand (not including all my personal man hours) into it, the house isn't worth what we paid. And it probably is not even worth the value of the mortgage. Let alone capable of returning our investment. We've become one of the millions of families "trapped" in our mortgage.

Refinancing was going to be tough. We spent a big chunk of our reserves on the kitchen. (No debt on it, thankfully!) In the best possible world, the house would be worth the value of the mortgage. To refinance it, we'd have to pay down ten to twenty percent of it. (Fifteen to thirty grand.) Plus the fees and blah blah blah associated with a new mortgage. (Maybe seven more grand.) So on a good day I'd have to come up with twenty two - forty grand. Just to keep the house. On top of losing our initial 10% we put in when we bought it. On top of remodeling many rooms. On top of remodeling the kitchen. Tens of thousands MORE. Just to keep floating. 

That's a big burden for a man to bear. It weighed down many of my thoughts. And certainly made me want to drink rather than deal with the sad reality of the situation. 

But (drum roll) I found some help. The HARP Program. I'm sure it benefits the mortgage companies SOMEHOW, but the program is going to allow me to refinance the house at a lower, fixed rate, without having to get it re-appraised. The HARP Program assumes it is worth what I paid for it. And the fees are a fraction of a normal mortgage. Sounds too good to be true, right? God, I hope not! But we'll find out shortly. 

In theory, I pay <$200 in fees, and my mortgage is converted to a conventional one. My monthly rate won't go down (I wasn't paying any principal on the old mortgage, but now I am) but I don't have to pay upwards of forty thousand dollars, that I don't have, to get stable. 

I'll take it. Huge burden lifted off my chest. Now let's get HARPed!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Slings & Arrows

It is a shame that we're more affected by the bad things in our lives and the good. We take so much for granted. Health, money, food, cars, houses. We go through the majority of our lives with an abundance of choices and abundance, rarely stopping to realize how blessed we are. With our air conditioned, always-connected homes, running water, and access to modern medicine, we live like modern gods compared to the majority of the people on earth.  

Example? I complain and beat myself when I have a bad run. Like tonight. Calves made of lead. Shins tight like snare drums. Getting madder with each step. Ended up walking most of the way.And could not get through 5K (3 miles) in a half hour. Horrible, godawful performance, and I should have just stayed home.  

But in the end, I have plenty to be thankful for. Including two absolutely amazing kids that continue to surprise me with their talents and abilities. Example? Miss Meg dancing around the house, drawing little cartoons & characters on stray slips of paper, and playing her fiddle for me. It's like living with a magical Disney character where nothing is every grim or impossible. Another example? Young Mister Liam and his unparalleled affinity for musical instruments. Sitting on his futon tonight, playing music HE wrote, and combining it with everything from Jaws to Adele. 

I'll suffer any number of slings & arrows, as long as I have my kids to come home to at the end of a long run.

Monday, October 01, 2012

SERIES: The Booth At The End

I'm a big fan of well-written shows. And I'm a big fan of Hulu. So when the web-based broadcaster decided to produce their own series, I was double excited.

The Booth At The End follows the twists and turns of several characters who visit a mysterious deal broker at the back of a road-side diner. Each of them has heard The Man can grant wishes if they're willing to do something in return. Their different requests and different tasks co-mingle, overlap, or sometimes unknowingly come into conflict with one another.

The episodes are short, well-written, masterfully directed, and instantly engrossing. All of the first two seasons are online. An excellent way to spend a few hours. And I hope Hulu decides to create more of their own content if this is what we have to expect from them.