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Friday, June 29, 2007

Fitquest 6/29/07

As I have mentioned before, I want/need to lose some weight. One is the obvious, I gotta get rid of this gut and regain my youthful athleticism, but more recently I've decided that I need to get back into pole vaulting shape. If I'm going to coach pole vaulting at school next year, I want to be able to do it. All too often I've seen (including in my experience) pole vaulters being taught by people who've never done it. There's nothing wrong with that... technique can be taught. The other goal... getting my 1oom time down to something I can challenge the faster guys (and girls).
Oh, and if I can get my 400m back below 60 seconds, I'd be pretty damn happy. Our fast runners would still wipe the track with my ass, but hey.

The fitquest label for my blog will be me posting my exercise regiment and other fitness related stuff, I suppose throwing in my weight from time to time would be good too. Obviously the weight issue is only part of the picture, since I'll be gaining muscle as I lose fat, but really... even that excuse has sucked out for me.

I also plan to post links to maps of my runs and stuff (all thanks to google maps and the genious coders at Sanoodi ... more for me to track, but hey, if you're around, perhaps you'll accidentally bump into me. If I don't post a map, it's possible that I didn't care to, or that I just ran the same path as last time.

Today's weight: 191 lbs
The run:
approximately 5.4 miles round trip
The sprints:

  1. 100m - 13.97s
  2. 100m - 14.08s
  3. 100m - 14.5s
Commentary - those times don't suck IMNSHO for a dude my weight and age and apparent fitness level, but my aim is to get down to a 11 or 12 second 100m. Likely a pipe dream, but I also ran in flats instead of spikes... I really should try to find my old spikes. The Burlington High School track is quite nice, but without blocks and spikes, I figure my time might be up to .2-.4 seconds slower.

So, there's fitquest entry one.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vacation Chris

Vacation Chris is the name my wife uses to describe me during times when I have no work commitments that are weighing my mind AND less distractions than normal. Often that persona is the sole purpose for getting out of town - meaning getting me away from my computer or other [feelings of] obligations for work or work related things.. I guess if I was a cell phone nutjob like most, that would also include shutting the phone off, but since I rarely talk on the phone, it's not an issue.

Here I am in Killington, VT, only a few hours away from finishing up the BEST [Building Effective Strategies for Teaching] institute. Yep. That's right. I'm on summer vacation and here I am at the end of 4 days of shop talk and education. Sheesh, really? It's actually been a good thing. I learned a few thing, but more so was reminded of the plethora of thing that have crossed my mind through the last year - my first year as a teacher - as well as hving some new ideas for how to run my class and for how we as a team need to make some changes at school.

But back to Vacation Chris. I need to figure out a way to do this at home... while here, I ran every day. My plan for summer is to lose some weight. 20 pounds would be the goal, but I'll take what I can get, as long as it's real loss and not that up and doy shit that happens all the time. I also read and played Lord of the Rings Online... most of what I had hoped to accomplish outside the organized events here. I half think not being at home helped, but that might be because the wife might have scheduled cleaning activities for me more often than I want (hehe, hi honey), which like a child I tend to fight, then revolt, then end up not doing anything productive. That sucks. Yeah, something I need to work on. Shhhh, you didn't hear that from me.

The week before this conference - or I should say the 3 week days and weekend after school ended, it just didn't feel like summer. I kept feeling the impending doom of this conference coming. More work! More school! More obligation. I decided a couple years ago that obligation is one of the things I despise the most. Commitment good. Obligation bad. Of course, the wife gets annoyed by it, but she's also supportive. This week she's also doing a conference, but she gets to go home after. The irony is that the weather here is less oppressive than there, so she's miserable. But I have called her each night - she likes that - and we IM'd a little bit as well. I will be happy to go home though. Just around a 1:45 minute drive I'm guessing.

Well, I'm home now... seems the hotel's connection dropped so I get fed up trying to locate a proper signal. I don't know how long the ride home was, I forgot to check my watxch when I walked in the door... but I'm home and it's time for the summer of Chris Part II.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chew Chew choose not to return

The wife and I went to the Green Mountain Chew Chew Fest this afternoon, an annual event where local restaurants and vendors set up and you pay for tokens for the privilege of overpaying for tiny sample portions of their foods. We've gone for about 10 years, missing one year. I always think it's a bad deal, but she loves it and we have found a couple restaurants by seeing them there that we frequent. That's the best part of it really.

Every year I try to stick to not eating anything I've tried before - or at least never tried from that particular restaurant.

The "deal": $5 gets you 9 brass tokens that you spend at the booths. Prices at the booths range from 2 to 4 tokens. You get sample sizes of dishes. Usually a few bites worth. You walk around with a map of the vendors located under 3 tents and figure out what looks worthy of taste testing and where to get it. Request the item, dump your tokens into bowl or jar or whatever and eat.

This year, the person who sponsors the event decided to charge a $2 per adult admission fee. Yep... a fee to get into a place where you for the last 20+ years got in free to spend money. We were angry, but that was only the tip of the iceberg, since 3 vendor spots listed were empty and the selection pretty much sucked for what was there.

Normally I complain about the event - being expensive for the end results [though we have discovered restaurants through being there] - but this year even my wife was annoyed and even angered. I was annoyed to the point that I wrote an email to the organizer detailing my complaints. I don't expect any resolution from it - the changes appear to be purely financially driven, so who am I to defy capitalism??

On that note, we watched SiCKO tonight. Michael Moore does a killer job at entertaining us and angering us at the same time. This country is out of control with it's capitalism and it's brought to light in me the realization - over the last few years it's been brewing in me - that the core of our evils in this country are capitalism and the driving force of much of that capitalism is christianity. I'll leave more discussion on that topic for another time, but the documentary is about the sick nature of our health care system when compared to other countries. Much like the Chew Chew Fest, if you don't have much money, it's just not the place for you. don't get hungry, don't get sick, sit down and shut up... "let the entrepreneurs do their thing - their American duties - and make a few greenbacks on your hard work".

We now have no intention of returning to the Chew Chew Fest. I have been burned enough, and now the burn is shared. Good job guys... you took what was once likely a really cool thing and turned it into the shit we now expect of anyone who tried to turn a buck on anything that might have any social value.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Night and day...

So, I teach kids with emotional and behavioral disturbances. The truth is, under most of the hard crusts, most of them are at least good people. Sometimes you just have to carve much deeper to find that good person, but then it's often worth it.

My other side, with respect to being a part of the high school community is that I have been an assistant track coach (I believe I blogged about it before). I am coaching high school kids who are in a sport that loves individual accomplishment and thrives on encouraging each other. Boundaries break and people just get along, even if they have to try a little harder.

So, today was a very long and strange day. Only one more real academic day and a review day are left. The rest is a field trip and finals. So on this next to last real class day one of the kids who has been having a lot of troubles in the last month and a half decided to go the wrong way. If you're an adult, how does it feel when a 14 year old kid says "fuck you" TO YOU? Well, I experience it from time to time at school with these kids, but today, this one student accumulated more "fuck you"s in one day than I have gotten this whole semester. To top it off (actually, since it wasn't the last straw, I can't say it tops it off) he decided it would be funny to fart in the class. He does it often. I'm not sure if he has GI issues or if it really is intentional, but he is never apologetic and never seems to care that he always causes one other student to leave the room angry, another student to no shut up about it - therefore being distracted from doing actual work, and causing me to need to step out of the room. No, he's downright proud of such an accomplishment. The accumulation of all the crap and verbal abuse turned into a suspension for the rest of the academic days and restricted access to time to do his finals. Truth is, two months ago I would have felt very bad. Tonight, I think he's getting better than he deserves. It's still a question if he'll be back in the program next year. While I think he could succeed in our program, I think the cost would include bringing other students down and creating a hostile environment. The benefit of one nowhere near comes close to being more important the benefit of the whole or others.

To contrast is a freshman, about the same age, on the track team. He's an athletic high achiever, but he is still a normal kid. He's respectful and kind to me and even cares about what I think, about his running, but other things. He has his head on straight, even for a sometimes "airheaded" (as another person put it) freshman boy. Sorry, this is short on description... it doesn't need much. It's really that simple.

The connection? The father of the second boy is a guy I graduated high school with. He was an asshole to me a number of times. We didn't hang out. We didn't do the same sports. He wasn't college track, so we didn't even have a single class together. He just found a few reasons within the four year time span to be an ass to me. I never understood it. He was a few steps better than the first boy. I finally got to meet him again tonight and chat about his kid and him. He's changed. He sees what he was at that age and refuses to allow his kids to be that way. He was super positive and completely owned his past - and like me still know how to hold a proper grudge, not against me that is - and was a pleasure to speak with for the nearly 10-15 minutes it must have been. I told him I think his kid is great and he told me I have permission to keep his kid in line if he seems to be going in the wrong direction. I doubt it'll need to happen, but hey, he's a frosh, there's lots of time for things to change or even go wrong. I'm an optimist tough.

I said my good-bye and good luck for the summer to boy #2, wishing him a healthy and active summer, and looking forward to seeing him next year. Boy #1 is currently nowhere near to getting such a positive release statement. Of course me being me, I'll likely change my tune and come next Thursday (I won't be there Friday) I'll give him my best wished for the summer. I suppose that means, in all reality, "I hope you don't get locked up over the summer".

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Personal day

It's amazing the power school boards have over teachers.

Today I'm taking my first of two personal days from work. By the book, it's only supposed to be for purposes that cannot be normally handled during normal school hours. I believe most teachers use it as vacation days, which quite frankly is what they should be. Yep, we get summers off and a week here and there when the kids get the same vacations, but mandated vacations aren't the same as ones where you have a choice. Worse even, since we had 3 snow days, the school board decided that they'd add an extra day for students... wait for it.... wait for it...
and two extra "in-service" days for teachers at the end of the year. They sho' do want they money's worth huh? Even though there are more days built into the academic calendar than are required by Vermont requirements.

So, I'm home today trying to relax a little before the last 3 days of academics, a day field trip and a day of review, then 2 exam days, a make-up exam day (which I'm also taking off as a personal day, followed by a Monday and Tuesday in-service
... ultimately followed up by my summer vacation - though I'm doing a 4 day long conference a week after the first week of vacation, gar!!

I thus far accomplished getting my [rental] violin fixed. It's been making a major buzz when I play. Apparently there was some varnish in a very small place (the clef holes?) that was causing all the trouble. Phew. I tested it out when I got home and no more buzz. Yay!! Then I went outside and installed the replacement speedo cable that came in the mail yesterday on the bike. Took a little longer than I expected - the bugger is in an awkward place for reaching in. But it appears to be working. I noticed I need to replace my grips asap. I put it off for years, but I think it's getting down to goo now. Not nice.

I was going to play some Lord of the Rings Online today, but for some reason I'm just feeling like shutting down everything so I can play. I've got current work up for a web client (Quarterstaff Games) that I keep enhancing. Man, I hope they realize they are getting a killer steal of a deal for the energy and time I'm putting into this. I think it looks great and will be an awesome site. I'll link it when it's actually live.

I watched "The Hills Have Eyes 2" this morning. Creepy, but still not really scary. I have some other horror beauties awaiting, but they might have to wait until break proper or next Friday.

I also ordered the wife an anniversary gift today. She'll be surprised, but I still need to figure out the dinner or "day away" plan. 8 years kicks ass, but I just don't always get excited about anniversaries. My birthday doesn't excite me... I guess I'm just odd.

So, a day of reflection, correction, repair and despair... what a great personal day.

Oh, and yesterday my old partner in musical crime finally showed up again, married and thinner than I remember. Glad he's back in the picture. I hope his time away took at least a little of his religious illness away. Hehehe, hey Todd... I didn't see you there. Um, you know me...