Saturday, April 25, 2009

Just beat the 10 minute mark.

Ran a mile in 9:57.

Also read the book, "In the Miso Soup" by Ryu Murakami. Excellent book. Interesting story arc and tension building. Interesting all around. Also, balls-flatteningly terrifying.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Been running

So, for the first 4 months working out at the Prison I was regularly weight lifting after work. Usually 2 or 3 times a week, various different workouts depending on what I was trying to achieve.

Well, the last month and a half or so I decided to start running regularly and lifting weights just once a week, if that. I've never had a good cardio thing going on, never been able to really run very far. In 8th grade I was in 2 PE classes and basketball after school and even with all that I barely got down to a seven and a half minute mile run.

When I first started running a few weeks ago, I was doing a mile in 13+ minutes according to the treadmill clock, which I swear runs fast, cause my wrist watch timed it at 10 minutes even. Today, however, I did a mile in 10:29 according to the treadmill clock, which translates closer to 8 minutes in the real world. I'll have to get a stopwatch or something so I can find out for sure. If 8 minutes is the case though, holy cow, I'm nearly in the best shape of my life.

Even if I can't start running 7 minute miles, I can take comfort in the fact that I'm probably the only person I work with that can run that far period.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

and I had so much to say...

Where to start? I've spent the last few days detoxing and going through withdrawals from the Ritalin. I think. Maybe I'm actually sick, but the mood swings and body aches seem to fit in with my medication schedule. See, two weeks ago, I was regularly taking two 20 mg tablets twice a day, four hours apart. Of course, 20 mg doesn't go through the system in four hours, so for a short period of time every day, I'd have quite a rush from the little overload.

The good thing about that, is that I would be in a great mood, wide awake, and doing a great job at work. The bad thing is that once my body stopped getting that high every day, it made me irritable and sick.

At my last appointment, I was given a month's supply of extended release Ritalin, which was 30 mg spaced out over an entire day. It worked for about 3 days before I started getting dangerously drowsy at work and then getting body aches. Over my weekend, I decided to just not take anything and then try to go up from nothing, instead of coming down from the high dose.

Well, I haven't made up my mind yet entirely on what to do about the meds. Can't reach the doctor 'til Monday, so I have to get through the weekend. Yesterday and today I just took 10 mg in the afternoon and left it at that, but I had tonight off so I don't know how it would have fared in the work environment.

Laurie's cancer has returned with a vengeance and she's undergoing much more serious treatment this time around. Surgery is planned for this summer and she's doing three chemo/radiation treatments a week. Gotta hand it to her though. She's still working full-time on top of all of that. At Walmart, no less. Her commitment never ceases to amaze me.

Friend of mine at work lost his job the other day. Wish I knew exactly what happened. Apparently they've been trying to fire him for years, always looking for a good reason. He misses lots of work, has lots of health problems, but in my opinion was quite capable of his job. Unfortunately, he has quite severe narcolepsy, fell asleep on the job a couple times, and was demoted. The last time we spoke, he said our boss surprised him by asking him how they could work together to improve the situation (when before it was usually something along the lines of "get out, you're fired" which was always taken back). That was probably about a month ago.

Probably could all have been prevented if they let him work day shift. My network of spies say he has enemies higher up.

Last of the news is nothing exciting to anyone but me, really. I installed Fedora 10 on a Powerbook G4. It wasn't perfect, but now I have everything working except for the sound (I had it, but when I rebooted, it stopped working again.).

I did it for Rachel, who really hated Mac OS, and a little for myself, to get more familiar with using Linux. She needs a laptop for school and hopefully I can get it to emulate some Windows-Only software for her so she doesn't have to buy an expensive new laptop.

Also, just finished "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. Great book. Recommended.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Oh, by the way...

Got the definitive diagnosis a few days ago. I have a textbook case of narcolepsy. My brain goes into REM sleep faster than most people, and I end up not getting any restful sleep during the night. I wake up over 200 times per night. When I take naps, I fall asleep, on average, in 4 minutes, and immediately go into REM sleep, getting no rest, once again. According to the doctor and my latest sleep study, it's pretty "clear cut" as he said. No doubt about it.

So, the good news is, there is no more confusion, no more doubt, no more ambiguity. I know what I have, I know how to deal with it, and I don't have to worry if I am being honest with myself and others or not when it comes to my sleepiness (No, I'm not lazy, no I didn't stay up partying. I can't help it.).

The bad news is that current research seems to be a bit behind on treatment options. I'm sure there will be better ones in the not too distant future. Here's hoping.

Work work work

Day in, day out, working all the time. Yet for the first time in my life, I'm actually fully enjoying my job. Well, considering that this is normally the time period where work starts to really drag.

Every job I've ever had, I've hated and wanted to quit. With the exception of my job at Union Telephone Company, which I left for more personal reasons than work-related ones. Burger King? Dreaded going in every day after school. Both times I worked there. Shari's? Only went because I worked with cool people. Terrible job though. Walmart? Don't even get me started (icy roads for 35 miles every day).

But working in a prison is actually fulfilling to me. Call me crazy, or blame the endorphins from the mile I just ran, but I'm actually fond of my work, and I get really good feedback, and some nights I actually look forward to doing my job. I know I won't work there forever, but this is looking like the kind of job where I will not leave from frustration, but more from a desire for something else in order to change things up.

My boss also told me "Thanks for doing a good job" over the radio, so everyone in the facility could hear it. I would have blushed if anyone were nearby.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Something weird I learned

Did you know that Insulin, the hormone that helps us regulate our blood sugar, is known to cause cancer? I just found out today while reading a newsletter in my work inbox.

That just intrigues me because it pretty much proves that the human body is imperfect, despite many people believing that it is perfect and can fix anything if it knows how. I mean, in a sense, that may be true, but it goes to show that no amount of natural living will protect you from everything.

Anyway, that also means that sugar indirectly aids cancer growth, meaning that the fuel that makes your body move and think and jump and hit your wife is the very thing that will kill you someday. You cannot escape it. It's both fascinating and depressing to think about.

Being sick, suffering, dying, all part of the human experience, yet it makes us so miserable.

Curtis moved out yesterday, if he doesn't get filleted on the highway while he hitchhikes then it'll be a great experience for him. Before he left we had a long talk about spirituality and philosophy and the many reasons we think Mormonism is a joke after our years of being so devoted to it.

The concept of suffering came up in a roundabout way. If, in our universe, the popular Christian model is false, then what exactly is suffering? In the reverse, what exactly is pleasure? If the universe really is just a series of physical reactions that coincidentally created life and sentience, then how do you find meaning in anything?

I personally believe in a rather uncommon view of reincarnation. I don't follow any one religion, but I believe in a particular model of the universe that generally frees me from worry about many things. However, my instinct tells me that suffering is empirically "bad". When I think about it, I believe that suffering is good, because it gives us something relative to base "good" from.

So, if suffering is good and pleasure is bad, yet the opposite at the same time, then who do you end up admiring most in the following two scenarios:

1.) A tribal person is taken from his life of squatting in the dirt and eating tree bark to the clean lavish lifestyle of a Hollywood millionaire overnight. He learns languages and gets schooling and starts eating healthy and exercising and everything "good" you can think of. He is very happy now that he has everything, it would seem, and can't believe he lived for so long pooping in his front yard.

2.) The CEO of a huge corporation who has it all realizes that his blood pressure is reaching dangerous levels. If he doesn't change anything drastic, he could develop serious heart disease and not live much longer, and if he quits his job and gives everything up, he will most likely return to a normal healthy state. He decides not to risk the "if" and gives up everything, going so far as to take his millions and buy a plot of land in the woods and live off the land for the rest of his life. He finds he is very happy now that he has almost nothing, and can't believe he wasted so much time on trivial things like money, cars, and business.

So, which guy is more admirable? Who finds more worth in life? The guy who gained everything, or the guy who gave up everything?

Unfortunately, those scenarios aren't extensive enough. Maybe the CEO ends up with heart disease anyway and dies slowly on the mountain from a mild heart attack that leaves him too frail to stand and walk. Maybe the Tribesman finds he has no friends and gives up on life, throwing himself from a bridge, only to find that he's broken both legs and cannot crawl to anyone or thing that could help him. Who knows?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


So, I woke up Thursday morning toward the end of my trip after a relatively nice nap. The weather outside was a bit windy and oddly cold for the time of year and geographic location, but nice regardless compared to 90% of the weather in Wyoming at any given time of the year.

I sat down to watch some morning news and beheld a foreboding broadcast. Twenty inches of snow forecasted in Denver. Nearly two feet in a 24 hour period. Two feet accumulating before and during the expected time I would be actually driving through Denver on Interstate Highway #70.

Curtis woke up a bit later and I greeted him with a semi-typical, "WE ARE GOING TO DIE TODAY" to which he replied, "The early morning death visions are a sign of your deteriorating condition and I think you forgot your meds." "Nay, brother," I exclaimed, "Look upon the news box and define what thine eyes might see!"

He watched the news for a bit and apologized for the comment regarding my deteriorating mental state. We discussed our options and decided that neither of us had ever been to New Mexico before. Since it was south in the warm part of the country, we could circumvent the snow and see new sights before getting home, and hey, we might save time too by avoiding road closures.

We packed up and left at 12:15 PM, then said goodbye to my mom at the gas station she manages while I filled up with fuel. She bought us drinks and reminded us to wear our seatbelts and then we were off.

We drove through Zion National Park.

Then down to I-40 whre we began our trip East.

Oh wait, no, we didn't. We got stuck in traffic just outside Winslow, Arizona. 14 miles to be exact, where traffic was at a standstill for seven straight miles due to some kind of accident ahead of us. It took two hours of turning off the engine, waiting around, starting it, then moving twenty feet just to repeat the process in order to travel seven miles. Seven. 7. Ciete (Spanish). Set (Questionably-spelled French). Seven.

And Winslow was jam packed with vehicles, so we didn't stop until Joseph City, where Curtis and I finally switched off. I slept for about two hours in the back seat while Curtis drove through an ice storm in Galup, New Mexico. I didn't realize this, otherwise, I wouldn't have slept.

I woke up just outside of Albuquerque where we stopped at the Indian Reservation. I took over driving again there where the weather was clear. On the west side of Albuquerque, the roads were clear and dry. On the east side, the roads had an inch of snow upon them. Thus began the next 8 STRAIGHT HOURS OF NON STOP SOLID ICE ON THE ROAD AND NOT A SINGLE MINUTE OF CLEAR SKY NOR A MOMENT OF PEACE FROM THE RAGING TORRENTS OF WIND THAT THREATENED TO PUSH ME STRAIGHT OFF THE SLICK PAVEMENT INTO A SNOW DRIFT BEYOND.

Let me try to recall what happened in some semblance of an order. Uh, I followed a Plow Truck for about 30 seconds before he himself crashed into the median where I promptly followed since I couldn't see the road (apparently, neither could he!). Luckily, I hit my brakes before I hit him, so I was able to continue my journey.

A few hours later, I was going up a hill where I saw two semi trucks stopped in both lanes ahead of me. I slowed down to gauge my decision regarding my next move, when the truck ahead of me tried to pull forward. Unfortunately, the road was so slick that he could not pull forward. In fact, he started sliding diagonally backwards and to the right when he spun his wheels. The truck behind me realized he couldn't stop if he wanted to avoid being stranded, so he went onto the relatively narrow shoulder to keep moving ahead and came roughly six inches from taking my side mirror clean off the driver's side door.

Since I was then stopped, I tried to move ahead and found that I could only spin my tires, so I spun them to a rate of about 40 mph in order to lazily slide to the left onto the shoulder to where I found traction and then continued my travel.

Later, in Toscanini? Tucanini? Something like that, New Mexico, the snow was then drifting onto the highway. It was about a foot high on the north side of the road. The highway was not closed. I paid particularly close attention to that fact as I drove onward, despite the fact that the wind was blowing so hard that I literally could not see my hood, let alone the street. Between gusts, I would accelerate to twenty miles per hour and go until the next gust, where I would stop and wait until it was safe again. (Pro tip: In harsh snow where city street lights reflect and scatter from snowflake to snowflake, it is actually easier to see the road if you turn your headlights off completely and rely on the faint yellow glow of the metropolis you are driving through, instead of having to squint through the heavy contrast caused by your headlights bouncing direct light into your eyes.)

8 hours after Albuquerque, we made it to Amarillo, Texas, where the snow was still blowing, drifting, and icing over the road. A few miles outside of Amarillo, we traded driving so I could hallucinate with my eyes closed instead of open and on the road (at one point I saw a giant robot smash a car ahead of me with his/her laser-drill fist). I slept for about an hour (according to Curtis, through another spontaneous ice storm.) and then woke up to the sweet smell of a McDonalds Big Mac. I took over driving again an hour north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The rest of the road was wet, but not icy. Total trip time coming home was 28 hours, almost on the dot. Trip time to Utah was 21 hours, again, almost on the dot. Gas mileage was worse coming home. First two tanks averaged between 37 and 39 mpg, and the second tank and a half averaged 30 to 33 mpg, as opposed to the solid 38-39 range going to Utah a few days before.

In conclusion, cars suck, the weather sucks, and I'm never driving that kind of idiotic retarded moronic drive in one straight shot in the unpredictable spring ever again in my life.