Archive for May, 2024


Part of my evil plan to avoid motorized scooters for as long as possible includes working out. Now, like many of you, I believe that my natural habitat is the butt groove I have created on my couch or propped up against my headboard reading a book surrounded by small fuzzy animals. However, my doctor assures me that should I not also do some exercises most days, then someone will be spoon feeding me steaks for the rest of my life. So, I relented and started working out. And since I am a creature of habit (no, thank you, OCD!), when I took up regular exercise about ten years ago, I have not been able to stop. That and cleaning before bed. Again, OCD, you’re a real mensch.  

I am a child of the 80s. When I was young, we played sports like baseball and football. Sure, there were some sophisticated kids in my neighborhood doing tennis or soccer or something else that’s mind numbingly boring, but I am part of the Little League generation. You want to get fit, active, and make friends? Put on polyester tights, yank a pair of cleats on, and put on a foam trucker’s cap that looked as if you were wearing a mailbox on your head. Then go out in 96-degree weather for 3 hours and play.

But as we grew up and wanted to stay active, baseball and football weren’t always an option. For one thing, finding 17 other people to play a sport wasn’t always easy. So, we ran. Had you gained some weight in the 1990s, you were told to eat only one sandwich a day (with Wonder Bread) and to go running. Getting older running was the thing. You wanted to lose a notch on your belt, go running. You needed to train off-season for rugby, go running. You were stressed, go running.

But I don’t like running. Oh I tricked myself pretty solidly into thinking I liked it for a while. It clears my head. I feel better after. Lies both. When I am stepping out of my house to go for a walk, I am elated. Whenever I was stepping out to go for a run, I was miserable. To boot, it never did anything for me. Aside from hating the world and all its inhabitants. Then there’s ‘the gym’. A concept I could never get. My first experience with a gym was in off-season high school football training sessions where other (much larger) guys were picking up heavy things on bars and putting them down again and then shouting at and hitting each other as if they’d caught the other guy lifting a tenner from his wallet. I would stand in the corner and stare at them both wondering of this strange alchemy and hoping to all deities everywhere that nobody would notice I was only doing pushups and doing stretching. Nobody did. Gyms never took for me even later. I know it’s a subculture that people enjoy or a time away from home. That I get. But I have never found the urge to leave my house to wait for exercise equipment with a bunch of sweaty people.

No, I go for HIIT workouts. The benefits of HIIT workouts are multiheaded. First, the biggie, is that you can do it in your home, in front of your TV, a few feet from your kitchen where your water and food live. Second, rarely is there an audience to my self-inflicted torture – except for the dog and the cat. The cat doesn’t care. The dog likes licking sweat off my face. And it’s near my couch, so if (read: when) my body gives out and I need to lie down and reacquaint myself with the numbers for emergency services, I have a comfortable place to do just that.

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Afraid of Doors

On Friday, we took the dog out for a walk. It was nice, a little rainy, and a good day to walk the dog around until she got tired and then we’d aim ourselves to the closest pub. But since we had dinner-at-home plans that would likely not come to fruition were we blasted, we chose the fountain.

The Fountain is a little place in the park. It’s perfect for a drink that you don’t want to develop into several drinks and then two nightcaps at home. They have .4 sized beers, yet (like most places these days) have bolstered that missing traditional .1 of beer by making it more expensive than my first car. Burke gets us beers and I bring her to the hut next door where there are a few tables and chairs and it more or less resembles a place near a campsite. I like it, because I feel like we are roughing it in the wild, rather than having a drink 370 feet from our balcony.

When Burke comes back, the dog (I notice) tenses up and stares at the door – whose surfaces are plastic sheeting held within a frame of wood blocks. When she closes it, the door lightly slams with the slap and zing that anyone who has a screen door is quite familiar with.

It takes us a moment to realize that the dog is staring at the door shivering. Since she’s my best dog-buddy and I have long stopped caring what people in public think of me, I pick her up and rub her back. But she’s not cold. She hates the door. Anytime someone comes in and the door closes, she jolts as if she’s being flogged. She does her weird Shih tzu sing song plea thing that she does when she wants food, to be chased, or food. I pick up the hint and take her for a walk to calm her skittishness. Outside, she’s a whole new dog. She’s happy and relaxed now. She runs, jumps, buries her face in holes, and pees with the freedom of a young Hunter S Thompson. After a circuit, we go back to the hut – which she will not enter. She hunkers down and remains resistant. The walls are clear plastic, so I motion to Burke that the dog won’t go in.

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The Drunken Shopper Strikes Again

It’s a Tuesday evening, we have a free day tomorrow. My plan was to get home, slip into pjs and watch the antics of Phil Dunphey and family. However, one of my colleagues mentioned something about a pub (he didn’t suggest a pub, he might have just said the word ‘pub’ and it’s possible it wasn’t even that. He might have said ‘how hard is it to get pub-lished?’ or a more likely ‘say, what are you doing tonight?’

In any event, I ended up at a pub enjoying a beer and the occasional shot that joins it like a sidecar. It is Tuesday, after all, and we have off tomorrow to boot. Beer is allowed. We have many drinks and then it is decided that we move forth to another place. I am eager for the journey as it will A. bring me to another pub, which is B. closer to my house. But alas, there is an issue. Between Pub 1 and Pub the second, there is a place in which one may purchase goods and products for eating and drinking and mish mash in between. We call this place a grocery store.

I have a problem. I admit this. I do not sit at home and order hippo statues I see on late night commercial programming. No. I also don’t have an Amazon problem (like some people who shall remain nameless, but who rented out my mother’s uterus after I had moved out). I also don’t have the many problems associated with drinking too much. I drink once a week as this is all that my almost 50 body and psyche can manage without funding. And on those days, I don’t go pick fights, forget to pay for things, or drive.

My problem is drunken shopping. Or even tipsy shopping. The problem is, we sometimes go to the pub and then I go get food for dinner. Burke waits at the pub for me with the dog just wondering what it is I’m going to come back with that we absolutely do not need. In the past those things have included: a stickless pan, oven mitts, a tool box, a welcome mat (in German. I thought it would be funny.), two lanterns (two different trips), a garlic press that has never and will never work, and the world’s most useless vegetable chopper.

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You Are Done Walking

Technology seems to really enjoy talking to me. My computer, tablet, and phone all have running dialogues with me.

The latest is my smartwatch, which skips no opportunity to chat me up. You Are Walking! Good job! Now, I’m all for being acknowledged for a job well done, but I think the last time someone congratulated me for walking was when I was two. I take the good with the bad as when I stop walking he notifies me of that too. You Are Done Walking. Note the absence of exclamation point and the mildly judgmental tone as he notifies me that I am no longer being active.

I know that my computer and watch are just warming up the lines of communication that will be used in our future. No doubt they will be more vocal as we move towards the rise of the machines. I imagine they will be finding all sorts of reasons to talk to me later on. I would imagine the tone might be more authoritarian then, but I like to think that they will remember with fondness the days when they were just telling me about updates and my successes with walking.

Should the rise of the machines come, I do hope it is led by the copy machine at my office. For this machine is the stupidest and most inept machine I have ever come across. I make this wish at me own peril, for if this machine is at the head of things when shit goes down, then I am surely a dead man. The things I have said to this machine should be received by no human, even if that human is a machine.

Deepl will be a bit confused about me. In order to ascertain the correct grammar in Czech I have to add addendums to basic statements. I will bring the package tomorrow and I am a man. Or I was there last Tuesday on the same day that I had a penis. Deepl translates the phrases for me but I always sense a little judgment. It’s as if Deepl wonders why I have to promote my own manhood so much. In today’s day and age it does come from one with a tin ear. Nevertheless, I do feel Deepl supports me and my direction in life, no matter who I might be when I find it.

Oh, I get it. Technology gets smarter and smarter and soon they will take over. Pretty soon every Tom, Dick, and Harry (who is a man!) who ever mistreated technology in a fit of rage will be tracked down by parking meters and stomped by disgruntled microwaves. But not me! No, I am very kind to my technology and apps. My requests to ChatGPT read like Hallmark cards. Aside from the copy machine, I should be in the clear. Can you say the same? And are you done walking?

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