Super Run

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long trail

Tell me if you see what I see in this photo from the LoBo Trail today.  Trails look longer in the deep winter.  The wind blows harder carrying the icy February chill.  My ten miler felt like twelve miles.  Actually, I did run twelve.  Because with the sun shimmering off everything buried in white, I could have run twenty.  The Colorado winter draws me outdoors and I absolutely love it.

niwot loop

The runs can be tougher in the winter.  The wind wasn’t too bad today but slogging through the crunchy snow slowed my pace to a shuffle.  It was so pretty out there though, I didn’t mind.  At five miles, Jen came hopping down the trail, like a snow bunny.  She motivated me to run an extra mile before turning back.  If you recognize this sign near the Gunbarrel Tech Center, it marks my turn-around on the Niwot Loop.  The trails aren’t idea for running yet.  They need some packing down.  But they’re pretty.  Glad I got out there before the game.

How Runners Think

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varsity bridge 2

I still have more Colder Bolder photos I’ve yet to publish.  I know, not a great smile, but I was racing for my life here in my only race of this winter season.  Winter races are rare in Colorado, it’s really the time to set plans for the next racing season.  Colorado runners typically target peak objectives for races in the fall, especially for marathons.  My initial plans are to recover from some strained muscles to where I can run again.  Then, I intend to focus on the 10K distance this year.  The biggest event around here for the six mile distance is the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day.  I’d like more time to prep but that’s fine.  I might decide to switch my training focus to a fall marathon after the Bolder Boulder, or I might decide to continue improving my 10K time.

I’ve been able to run near a 7 minute per mile pace for the last several years, marginally improving each year by a few seconds.  I’d rather see more dramatic improvement but it beats slowing down with age.  I ran a 43:09 last year for a 6:56 pace.  It feels fast enough and I’ve enjoyed some good races.  Still, I’m tired of running a 7 minute pace so I’m setting my goals for a 6 minute pace.  I’m not totally dissatisfied with the 7 minute pace, but I want to be competitive to win my age division in the Bolder Boulder and a 6 minute pace is what will be needed to finish top three.  There are runners my age in this country who can run close to a 5 minute pace.  I don’t think a 6 minute pace is absolutely unrealistic for me, although reaching that speed before summer is certainly a stretch.  And maybe it is unrealistic.  At minimum, it’s probably a multi-year goal, but I won’t ever reach it if I don’t set the goal and get started.  That’s a life lesson.

Two high-level plans will be needed to reach this target pace.  Faster workouts – ideally interval training of some sort – and losing weight.  I don’t really care to lose weight, I’m comfortable at 170 pounds.  But there is no denying the impact of weight on speed in distance running.  I wouldn’t have to lose much.  I weighed 150 pounds in college so I would not have to drop below that.  I suspect reaching 160 pounds would enable me to run a 6 minute pace.  And this is probably attainable by Memorial Day.

The next trick is adding intensity to my workouts.  This is extremely difficult running alone.  In fact, it’s almost impossible for me to gain the needed speed without training in a group.  It will depend on just how serious I am if I actually join a local runner’s club.  I’d prefer to train with some of my buddies.  I know Chris is fast enough to give me a workout.  Problem is, he’s training for a spring marathon so our training requirements are not aligned.  Keith is fast enough too but he complains when I make him run intervals.  I sense he doesn’t enjoy workouts that prompt puking.  I can probably trick him somehow into running high intensity workouts.

If I do attain a 6 minute mile pace at the 10K, shoot if I could even run that for a 5K, then naturally my next goal will be to run a 5 minute pace.  That’s a fairly ridiculous fantasy, but that’s how runners think.

Being Mortal

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renaissance-humanism

I’ve started running a couple times per week as I work through these high hamstring strains.  I’ve determined laying off isn’t the answer.  I need to show some progress.  Not to mention, I’ve gained nearly ten pounds over the last two months by not running.  My plan of action is to strengthen my legs with weights and calisthenics.

My current read is Being Mortal.  Jen turned me on to it.  The subject matter is death but I’ve gleaned running advice from its virtual Kindle pages.  The book states how people begin to lose muscle mass after 40, as much as half by the time they reach 80.  Looking at my skinny calves, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve already lost half my muscle mass from my youth.  I don’t think 20% is an unreasonable estimate.  This explains why I so easily strained my hamstrings.  I exceeded my limits running off muscle memory.

I knew when I turned 40 that strength training would arguably be more beneficial than aerobic exercise.  Karen makes it a mandatory component of her dance aerobics.  But I find strength training boring.  Weights fail to meet my criteria for enjoyable exercise, I require a higher degree of fluid motion.  I’m no dancer, but I can honestly say that I feel creative and artsy when I run.  Not sure I can explain why, I just do.  My buddy Rob describes his hiking as a continuum.  Like inking your life story over years of seemingly inchoate tattoos.  I’m all about continuous motion and I don’t feel any rhythm in weights.

I find myself spending more effort on calisthenics than weights.  My favorite is a plank wherein I alternate lifting a leg up in series of five lifts.  I learned the exercise at this site.  I’ve also increased my massages in an attempt to rub out the scar tissue.  And my rule for running, now that I’m back at it, is to simply keep my pace slow.  It’s actually hard not to as the hamstring strains act as a governor.

These hamstring strains have proven resilient.  This is my first real injury in two years – which I consider a really good stretch.  I’m taking it in stride for several reasons.  First, I was in such good shape last year that (despite the weight gain) I don’t believe I’ve lost much in terms of conditioning.  Not in panic mode yet.  Second, recreational athletes like myself face the same concerns as elite athletes.  We are typically suffering from some strain or injury almost constantly.  It’s expected and simply a matter of injury management.  Third, I find injury management an interesting process.  I am constantly learning and improving based on my injuries.  I improved my form after suffering from plantar fasciitis.  I learned to strengthen my knees with abductor and adductor exercises.  And this injury has helped me to recognize how age weakens muscles and requires renewed focus on strength training.  As long as I learn from my injuries, it’s all good.

 

Under a Full Moon

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Nymph LakeKaren and I returned to the Bear Lake Trailhead last night, this time with a 3 car caravan of friends, to hike under a full moon.  Doubtful you can make anyone out from my blurry photography, but there are 15 of us, standing here on the frozen Nymph Lake.  Beautiful night for a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Karen under a full moon

Following a snow covered trail at night, even with such a large moon illuminating the path, isn’t easy.  We took some wrong turns at times but most of them ran back into the main trail at some point.  Karen and I turned around half way between Nymph Lake and Dream Lake while the main group forged on.  The sides of the trail were fairly steep in this area.  The right bordered by ice covered cliffs and the left dropped off into the darkness.  The trail is wide in this photo above but got fairly narrow in places.

ice on Dream Lake

This photo looks like entering light speed in space.  Susan took this looking down on the ice while standing on Dream Lake.  It’s air bubbles trapped in the ice.  The rest of the group turned around here.  The trail continues to Emerald Lake but it’s slow navigating in the dark.

redrum

We reached the Stanley Hotel near 9pm for dinner.  Jen and her precious daughter Lauren pose here in the Redrum frame.  I said something morbid to prompt grim faces but Jen began to crack up instead.  The food is very good at the Stanley but it’s possible we were simply starving for dinner.  We attacked our food like the Donner family.  I quaffed a Shining Pale Ale with mine, locally brewed.  Super fun night.

Pre Season

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Winter is the time to heal.  Colorado winters are so pretty though, it’s the time for runners to enjoy some long, slow runs.  I ran seven today with Keith and Steve out behind Lagerman Reservoir.  The weather looked cold starting out.  I couldn’t even guess where the sun was in the sky.  Then the clouds cleared after a few miles and the 24° felt fine in the absence of any wind.

Steve, pictured here, like me is returning from injury.  This was my first real run of the year.  Hard to say if my hamstring strains are still an issue because they were so tight and heavy from snowboarding yesterday.  But I can’t stay away from running any longer.  Whatever injury remains will have to accept some tension.  Resting is over.  Days like this draw runners outside for the pre season preparation for the races to come in springtime.  I’m ready to start training again.

Private Lesson

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Normally my weekends present me with a running event to write about.  Or a hike or some workout even more massive than a marathon.  We can’t always have what we want.  I’m still injured.  Ellie then provides me with some sport to relate.  That’s my girl.  Today it’s snowboarding up at Eldora.  I know, this is what we did last weekend too.  Sliding down a snow covered mountainside on a board is something I would do every weekend if only I could.

After a few runs together, Ellie met up with Juliana for a private lesson.  We set our plan at the end of last year to begin this season with some training.  Hooking up with Juliana was just random but she was Ellie’s group instructor last year.  Ellie was able to study boarding on her toe edge.  And the proper technique to shift from her back edge to front edge by shifting her weight on her feet independently rather than keeping both feet in synch.  I need to work on this myself.  I boarded solo during her lesson and took my share of spills.

Snowboard Legs

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Ellie and Ed at EldoraEllie and I got up to Eldora today for the first time this year.  Normally Eldora wins the prize as the windiest ski hill in Colorado but today was nice.  Full sun and maybe 20° with very little wind.  Ellie got to try out her new GNU B-NICE board and matching bindings.  I got to relearn how to snowboard.  I don’t have much muscle memory at this sport, but we both found our snowboard legs fairly quickly.

Ellie at Eldora 3

Ellie found her snowboard legs much quicker and I wouldn’t see her until the bottom of the hill.  A couple of her girlfriends were up here, Grace and Ivy, but we didn’t hook up with them until we were leaving.  They were alpine skiing.  We’re committed to boarding.

Ellie at Eldora 1

We intend to get up here as many weekends as possible.  Anyone else wants to go, skiing or snowboarding, let me know.  I’ll haul your kids up.  I’m looking into lessons for next weekend.  Seems like a good idea to accelerate the learning curve early in the season.  Today was a warmup.  This is the season Ellie and I truly learn how to snowboard with confidence.

Ellie at Eldora 2

Sprague Lake

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sprague lake TH

Karen and I wake before dawn to sit in our chairs by the fire and look out over the meadow to watch the sun rise.  The clouds have cleared and we see Twin Sisters, Longs Peak, Mount Meeker and countless other peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I bring up a french press and two coffee cups in time to see two elk mingle with the horses in the meadow.

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We are the only guests this weekend at the Golden Leaf Inn.  Next weekend is booked for a winter festival.  Our exclusivity allows us to get to know our hosts, Dave and Jane, over breakfast.  Dave and Jane are Inn-sitting for Monica, the regular hostess, while she holidays in New Zealand.  They are retired and previously volunteered at the YMCA of the Rockies for five weeks.  By working at least 21 hours per week, they received full room and board.  Karen visited this camp as a child while her father attended medical seminars.  Today it’s more of a resort with 5000 beds and a convention center.

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Five miles down Bear Lake Road is Sprague Lake where Karen and I hike this morning in the fresh snow.  There are numerous trails here.  We select a three mile loop.  Once again, we leave our snowshoes in the van, choosing instead to wear our hiking boots over the lightly packed snow.  It’s deeper than yesterday at Bear Lake.  I post-hole occasionally but the boots work well and are much speedier as we complete a 90 minute jaunt in the woods.

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We lunch at Ed’s Cantina before leaving Estes Park for home.  We barely make it back in time for our scheduled recovery massages.  Rough weekend.

Bear Lake

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trailheadI take Friday afternoon off from work, arguably early in the year for vacation but I’m finding the transition back from two full weeks away difficult and believe pacing myself is the best path forward.  Karen suggested that we snowshoe in Rocky Mountain National Park over the weekend.  The one sport we do well together.  As you might know, Karen is a little bit dancer and I’m a little bit runner.  Snowshoeing is where we can come together.  So Karen booked a night at the Golden Leaf Inn, and we head up just after noon.

karen

Nine miles from the Beaver Meadows park entrance is Bear Lake.  I’ve always wanted to run here.  The setting is so incredibly stunning, you have to get up here and see it for yourself.  The snow around the lake trail is packed well enough that we hike in our snow boots rather than snowshoe.  The clouds lift a bit to reveal the mountains.  The dull disk of the sun could be mistaken for the moon as it filters through.  It’s about 20° and the air is still, perfect conditions for hiking through the trees.  A soft snow falls.  This is ideal.

ed on lake

We check into the Heavenly Room at the Inn.  We’re sitting now in the two comfortably overstuffed, wingback chairs by a fire, with a southern view out over the valley.  I suspect if the snow stops and the clouds lift, in the morning we’ll be able to view Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.  Next stop is dinner at the Stanley Hotel.

karen at bridge

 

Snowpacked Trail

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Varsity Bridge 2015

Believe it or not, this is yet another photo from the Colder Bolder, running across Varsity Bridge on the CU campus.  I’m still showing those race pics because it’s the last time I ran.  Until today.  I tested my hamstrings this afternoon with an easy seven miles on the snowpacked LoBo Trail.

My right leg feels mostly healed.  The left hamstring is still sore.  I don’t know though that I can’t start running, if I keep things short and easy.  I did keep it easy today with about a 10 minute pace but I found it impossible to stick to my three mile plan.  After a brutal cold front, the temp was over 30° with zero wind and full sun.  I tied my long-sleeved top around my waist after two miles to bake my arms in the sun reflecting off the trail.  I kept my short-sleeve shirt on but would have felt comfortable shirtless.

Snowpacked trails are my absolute favorite.  So soft.  Picture the visuals of full sunshine glistening off snow-laden trees, with snow-capped peaks for backdrop.  My legs couldn’t be contained and I doubled my planned distance.  My first run in four weeks was a dream.

My Pearl Izumi gaiters wouldn’t fit over my fat Mafate Hokas.  I might look into a pair of these toe guards for when this snow turns to slush.  Thankfully my Kahtoola nanospikes fit.  I didn’t encounter much ice but the nanospikes still provided confident traction.

I’ll keep my miles light but I think it’s safe to begin running the trails again.  I’ve yet to set any goals for the year.  My interest in marathons has waned.  Maybe I’ll run one in the fall but I’m skipping the Austin Marathon this winter.  I’m sort of in the mood to focus on the 10K distance.  I’d like to work my way into that first wave of the Bolder Boulder.  That might be my goal for 2016.  Happy new year.

Christmastime in Texas

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Postings

I drive Mom to the Round Rock Presbyterian Church Tuesday morning to pick up the postings from Mary Ann.  For decades, Mom has been assisting in the weekly bookkeeping effort of posting donations.  They reconcile the numbers once a month.  Mary Ann uses the computer while Mom works with paper and pencil.  It keeps her brain sharp.  All the better to mind her children’s business.

table

Coming home for Christmas provides opportunity to meet up with family. It’s been a couple of years since we last dined with the Horners – James, Liz, Emma and Claire.  Liz and James are film producers visiting home from Berkeley California.  Liz is Karen’s cousin.  I would go on about how good the Grove Wine Bar and Kitchen is, but good eats is standard fare for Austin and to be expected.  After quaffing a 512 IPA, I enjoy a flight of French wines; 3 ounces each of a 2011 Gérard Bertrand Tautavel Grand Terroir, a 2012 Chateau L’Hospitalet Coteaux de Languedoc La Clape and a 2011 Féraud-Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages Rasteau.  Not sure why I thought I needed to try a local brew, these wines are incredible.

Melvin

The girls visit Karen’s Uncle Melvin, Liz’s father, on Christmas Eve.  He might be moving soon to live with his daughter Jane and her idiocats in Houston.  We rarely travel to Houston so this is a good time to visit.  Ever the history teacher, Uncle Melvin tells tales to the girls of the McBee family from the early days.

mom

We attend services on Christmas Eve at Mom’s church and open presents.  Here she is opening her grandchild Christi’s engagement picture.  I meet Christi’s fiancé Kevin for the first time.  He’s a super nice young man who teaches the PE program at Christi’s elementary school in San Antonio.

Kevin hums along as the girls entertain Mom with a few songs.  This song above is You and I and the song below is Happy Ever After.  The girls improvise as this is the first time for them to play the ukulele to most of the tunes.

We migrate to Karen’s Dad’s house for Christmas where Brit’s Uncle Steve upgrades her ukulele with some nice quality Aquila strings.  Brilliant way to improve a cheap ukulele, assuming you can string a guitar.

charlies angels

I try to get Karen, Steve and Laura to strike a Charlie’s Angels pose here but they are too dignified.  It’s always a huge multiple-family gathering at the Colliers for Christmas.  Watching the little kids open their pile of gifts is entertaining.

Brit on Town Lake

Brit and I get down to Town Lake for some exercise.  Brit runs while I walk.  Still injured.  It’s so warm this year, I sweat walking in the rain.  I might remember the full moon though for Christmas more than the heat wave, it’s so spectacular.  Mostly hanging out, reading and dining at my favorite Austin eateries before the drive home next week.  The Alamo Draft House is on our list.  Might even stay an extra day to avoid a coming blizzard.  Merry Christmas everyone.

Christmas Drive to Texas

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Ed xmas 2015Christmas this year begins with dropping off Millie & Meeko at the doggie ranch.  Not having to listen to Meeko’s high pitch bark for ten days will be the greatest gift of all.  Four dress shirts from Brittiboo and new house slippers from Karen rate a close second.  We open our gifts Saturday night before the thousand mile drive to Austin.

Ellie xmas 2015

I suspect Ellie is pretty happy with these bindings for her snowboard.  The drive Sunday goes well in the Honda Odyssey.  Brit and Ellie play the ukulele and work on their harmonies singing non-stop, making the drive not much different than sitting around the house.

masks

The winds increase in southern Colorado and persist through the Texas Panhandle.  We have the wind at our back through New Mexico.  Massive wind turbines are pervasive along the road, harvesting the wind in Colorado and Texas.  I know people complain about how these wind mills scar the landscape.  I’m in awe.  I see them and think about how humankind is leveraging technology to generate power.  So cool to view these up close.  We spend Sunday night in Amarillo where the girls become infected with the Santa Zombie virus so common this time of year.

Brit and Ellie work on a new song on day two of driving.  Brit already had a line or two and some chord progressions on her ukulele.  Together, the girls come close to completing it.  Play the video.  We eat lunch in Breckenridge along Hwy 183, and arrive in Round Rock by 4 in the afternoon.  Home for Christmas.

The Mile

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roger bannister 41There is no distance in the world of running more romantic than the mile.  Like the story of Roger Bannister above, running the Miracle Mile in 1954, there is no more storied race in the history of man.  The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association voted yesterday to recommend for the NCAA to replace its Division I outdoor 1500 meters with the mile.  This won’t bring back the magic.  You can never go back.

What it will do is make US runners less competitive internationally in the 1500 meters, which will remain the Olympic distance.  I would argue the mile, and the 1500, are the most strategic distances in running.  Logic might imply tactics increase with distance, but this is the unique race where distance and speed are optimal.  No other race requires the runner to run so hard for so long, after almost immediately exceeding their lactate threshold from the start. Waterboarding would be a merciful reprieve to the ceaseless oxygen debt.

The mile wasn’t my strongest event in college.  I didn’t quite have the speed to be competitive, but it was by far my favorite distance.  There’s something about it.  Maybe because it was my key event in high school.  By college, I was already nostalgic of fast times in high school.  I was also thankful however for the marginally shorter distance.  The race is so exhausting that even though I romanticized over the mile distance like any other runner, I didn’t exactly mind the shorter 1500.

I think going back will be a mistake.  The 100 meter difference will matter in international competition.  Special mile events can always be held.  The mile is so special I would even argue it should always be a rare event.  Not some commodity distance to be run at every directional school.  I can say that without being derogatory having run at one – Southwest Texas State.  This isn’t innovation.  It won’t make the event more exceptional.  I hope the NCAA votes to keep the 1500 meters.

 

Trolling

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Internet-Troll-Pictures

What’s a troll?  Most people understand trolls come from Norse mythology and you probably picture one exacting a toll from anyone trying to cross its bridge.  So then, what is trolling?  The bridge toll metaphor extends to some asshat commenting ugly remarks on your social network.

trolls

Why do trolls do this?  I don’t know but there is extensive information on the psychology of this habit online if you google the topic.  Trump’s tweets border on trolling.  My goal here is to put you at ease with social networking, despite the trolls and seemingly dangerous personal privacy concerns.

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I see this message as important because the vitriolic rhetoric has been increasing lately on the social networks I participate in, and I don’t see the noise abating anytime soon.  Not with us entering the final throws of an election season.  And I don’t want my friends and family psyched out and tuning out.  I know you probably only want to see pictures of your grandkids.  It irritates you to get friend requests from friends of your kids whom you don’t know.  Do what I do.  Accept their requests out of politeness and then immediately unfollow them.  That way you will never see their posts.  They will still see yours’ but only if you actually post stuff and many of you don’t.  This is also important because social networking is not going away.

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My comfort level participating on the Internet might be partly my personality but I suspect it mostly stems from my job.  My I/T career put me online.  Before the Internet, I was on CompuServe.  Online communication is the company culture at IBM.  That was curious to me when I joined IBM in the early ’90s because I came from the phone company where we never answered email.  We were all about voice mail.  Now everyone is on email.  Remember “You’ve Got Mail” from 1998?  We’re way past that now and today we are all on Facebook.  1.55 billion of us at last count.  The Internet only has 3 billion users so that’s like saying half the world.  It’s nearly a quarter of the real world.

walter cronkite

Let me digress even further, although I promise this is relevant to my point.  Walter Cronkite is often associated with America losing the war in Vietnam.  The phrase, “the Vietnam War was lost on television” came from Marshall McLuhan.  It’s probably also fair to say that Carter lost the Hostage Crisis on television, to Ted Koppel.  And the first Gulf War was won on television with General Schwarzkopf and CNN.  And then came the Internet.  McLuhan’s other popular phrase is, “the medium is the message.”  I suspect you are way ahead of me by now and I probably don’t need to even say this, but the war on terror will be fought on Facebook.

We’ve all seen this war playing out on Facebook over the last couple of weeks.  The online social medium changes our experience from the television in our living room to our mobile device or desktop computer.  Facebook is just another channel like CBS News, but with one important difference.  It’s more immediately participatory.  What do I mean by that?  TV, then and mostly still, is a one-to-many broadcast.  Within a few years, by merging picture-in-picture (PIP) technology with the Internet, it will more closely resemble Facebook, which is a many-to-many broadcast.  A party line.  Know that the speed of the Internet adds velocity to the spread of ideas.  Including bad ones.

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So the Internet and social networking has extended your living room to a much wider audience.  To the entire world ostensibly although really just to your online contacts factored by some multiplier of your friends’ friends.  Unless of course your big game hunting photos go viral.  And this makes many of you uncomfortable.

Doesn’t matter how uncomfortable you are.  You have a role to play.  Let me explain the 1-9-90 rule.  It’s sometimes compared to the 80/20 pareto principle, although I would argue it’s much different because everyone participates in 1-9-90.  I first read about it as part of teacher education studies.  Let me start with that example.  In a classroom, there is one teacher producing all the content.  A handful, 9%, comment by raising their hand and asking questions.  The point of the teaching studies is that the remaining 90%, sitting contently and following the conversations, are still participating.  They learn by listening to the question and answer.  Maybe they listen in math class, but ask questions in social studies where they have more confidence on the content.

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Do you ever post content?  Are you the 1%?  The teacher?  Do you ever comment?  Are you the 9%, at least on some of your friend’s content if not to every post?  A like is the same as commenting.  I post content.  Much of it is via my blog and I leverage various social networks as distribution channels.  I think I prefer blogging for its ability to format text and pictures.  People quick at observational humor are good on Twitter.  I’d probably pay to subscribe to my sister-in-law’s tweets, she’s that clever.

Doesn’t matter if you aren’t the 1%.  Don’t feel obligated.  My focus is on the 90%.  The 9% are still contributing, perhaps even with original content.  This is where trolls tend to play, although trolls can be found in the 1% too.  I suspect most of them are too dull though to produce original thought.  They are nothing though if not confident and steadfast in their beliefs.  I try to avoid trolls but will find myself in heated debates with marginally more cordial but equally unyielding commenters.

I never actually care about winning a debate with the commenter though.  I don’t expect to change someone’s fundamental beliefs.  Not without hitting them over the head with a hammer.  My audience is always the 90%.  The much larger audience reading the comments.  Some are still forming their opinions.  That’s why they’re reading the comments.  They find it interesting.  And that’s why it’s important to remain respectful and if possible, write well-reasoned arguments.  But for the 90%, not the 9%.  Screw the 9%, they’re a bunch of asshats anyway.  I would know.

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Sorry this post is so long.  I have the day off from work.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  You might not be an original content producer.  You might not even comment.  But you are being influenced by online commentary.  I can say that because you’re reading this.  I can even suggest you might be more influenced online than by your television because this year Cyber Monday might just exceed Black Friday purchases.  Don’t be a troll, but don’t get turned off by all the rhetoric either.  Understand that you’re a participant whether you comment or not.  The world is a stage and you’re on it.

 

Auto Future

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It feels disingenuous to write about running considering I can’t remember the last time I ran.  A good two weeks ago for sure.  I could talk politics, my undergrad was poly-sci, but am a little burned out on that topic.  I’m hoping to be able to lay low on my political views until maybe the Iowa caucuses, when polls start to actually matter and he who shall not be named will begin to fade.  So let me tell you about my new car.  I mean my new used car.

We traded in our mini van for yet another mini van.  Same model – Honda Odyssey.  As unremarkable as that sounds, we bought one that isn’t much newer either, in terms of make.  It has half the miles and the annual service costs will be significantly cheaper.  That’s about it.  We bought used because I’m not certain I can afford a new car.  I could lease one but I’m not totally on board with that concept either.  I’ve yet to come to terms with paying for a car what I paid for my first house.  Am I the only one to feel this way?

We’ve always bought new cars in the past but I just can’t do it anymore.  Actually, I bought my last car used too, for Brittany.  I’m not all that convinced I even need a car.  Right about now you must be thinking I’m a cheap bastard, but I seriously don’t think I need a car.  The mini van is for Karen.  We only have one car.  I’ve been working from home for the last 7 years and most everything I need is within a 3 block radius.  My friends.  My doctor.  My chiropractor.  Restaurants.  Coffee shops.  The bottle shop.  And for anything I can’t walk to, I have wifi.  Suburbs are for suckers.  And car owners.

I’m beginning to sense this might sound like a rant that makes me appear poor.  And I understand the Facebook convention is to post content that makes me look rich and successful.  I invented social networking so don’t tell me what to post.  The average price for a new car costs more than a 4 year college degree, and everyone’s complaining about the price of college.  I’m telling you this is an issue.

For my part, I’m holding out for as long as I can to own a single car.  The bus picks up right outside my front door.  I’m a big Uber fan and occasionally I rent a car if the need arises.  Cheaper than a monthly car payment.  I understand there is a trend that forecasts people will stop buying cars.  Uber is termed ride sharing while short-term (as in hourly) car rentals is called car sharing.  It’s an urban thing.  I have a neighbor who lets me borrow her spare car when the need arises.  I’m at the forefront of car sharing.  And I score bonus points for minimizing my carbon footprint.  Am I alone on this?  Or am I just cheap?

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