It’s All Serious Stuff

This quote is just the tip of an iceberg, a rabbit hole stemming from an offhand Tweet, to the struggle that BIPOC / LGBTQ+ face everyday in life and work:

On one hand, I find myself thinking, “astrology is a silly thing to get worked up over, especially when there are such big, important issues going on in the world right now.” 


But on the other hand, it angers me how deep these systems that marginalise women, POC, queer people, and any other group that’s not cis men, run in our lives. 


And most people don’t even realise that somewhere in Cupertino, a white man is sitting in a conference room making decisions about what categories of apps can and cannot even exist for you to download onto your phone.

Rachel Lo, co-founder of Struck

Nothing Is Real

This is a little phrase I’ve been repeating here and there lately. Perhaps we’re living in a computer simulation. Or maybe in the Fight Club-esque mindset, that our lives are tied to computer records. Deeper yet, we’re plugged into the Matrix, and really we’re all fast asleep, living in a computerized dream world.

If nothing is real, it’s a sure thing that everything is fucked. COVID-19 is as real as ever, and cops (and their budgets) are out of control.

In the mont of June we’ve been raising funds with Metal Bandcamp Gift Club, coming together to raise almost $1,300 for bail and legal funds.

Went to my first protest this past weekend, and kept my head on a swivel, staying alert for any wackadoo who might start any trouble. It felt good, though, and I want to stay involved.

Black lives matter. Defund the police. Pay teachers.

Moments are Moments

My cat broke my french press in the middle of the night, chasing a mouse – on the counter. We live in farm country, so having mice is sort of typical. A 13lb cat slamming into drying dishes, well, that’s something different.

Didn’t realize how much my day is tied to routine. Not having that morning coffee threw me for a loop. Visited my local Starbucks, thinking I could snag from through the drive-thru, but they’re closed now due to the corona-virus.

Work call, work stuff, all without my coffee. All the washed silverware fell back into the sink in a crash. Computer was acting up.

My 3pm, I said “fuck this” and went for a run (well, hit Target first for a new french press).

All those bad moments in the early part of the day – it’s easy to let them keep rolling, and before you know it it’s now a bad day.

I knew I could have stayed home, buckled down on my laptop, skipped my run, probably scroll through Twitter a bit too much, read the news.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s possible. Do I always win? Nah. But today, the moments stayed moments, and today was a good day.

Just Run a Bunch

In starting my recent run streak (four miles every day since March 30), I was mostly inspired by a friend who’s been running 10+ miles for like 50 days. He’s a monster.

Now, I’ve been running almost four years now, consistently adding mileage year over year, and building overall fitness. Someday I’d love to run 10 miles a day, too. So where do I start?

I want to fail, but smartly. Then I can pick myself up and move forward armed with new ideas on how to improve. I accept that I may get injured occasionally as I try to push limits and push myself.

Grayson Murphy

I started working with Grayson in 2019, working on my nutrition and diet. Then she was virtual coach, helping me train for the Queens Marathon that sadly got cancelled because of the Corona Virus outbreak. With her help I was able to run 18 miles in one shot!

So why not try to run four miles a day? I’m not sprinting them, or charging up 1000s of feet of elevation on these runs. I’m playing it smart, getting plenty of rest, stretching, all that good stuff.

But it’s fun to learn, and see what the body is capable of. I know I can get in 25-ish mile a week by just running a few times a week. But right now I need the peaceful experience of daily running. It helps break up my day, from work to not work, and seriously clears my head for a peaceful, restful night, which is something I definitely need during this time.

How I’m Dealing with the Corona Virus Pandemic

Thankfully, I get to work from home. I’ve been doing “web work for some publicist friends” since 2013, but in 2018 I made it official; called it Close Mondays, set up a website, and thankfully still in biz considering the circumstances going on right now in the world.

WORK

That said, my work isn’t essential or life saving, but it’s work that still needs to be done. Art and music are as vital as ever, so records need to be sold and shipped, and people are looking to be entertained, so thankfully I work with some good folks, and we’re getting that done.

I have moments, though, where some of the work seems trivial. I mean, how can it not, when 500+ people have died in my state? Guitar play through videos clash with people losing their businesses because of a state ordered shut down.

So I do my best to keep those moments as moments, and not let them derail my day. Usually I’ll just make some more coffee, or go for a walk. When I come back I do my best to get back into the flow of work.

Three big things that have helped me during this time, equipment-wise: a standing desk, a 27″ 4K monitor, and a for-real computer chair.

If you work in front of a computer for any length of time, I recommend all three things. You can even hack together a standing desk (that’s what I did for a long time). Get a bigger monitor, or at least prop up your lap top so you’re not staring down at and straining your neck, and then get a full size keyboard and mouse. Trust me – your entire body will thank you a decade from now.

Even with all those comforts, I’m not nearly as focused as I once was. There’s a global pandemic swirling around out there. There are mass graves in New York City, bodies are left in the street in Guayaquil.

These are not ordinary times, so I’m not my ordinary self. Neither are a lot of people.

HEALTH

A few weeks ago I joined with friends (virtually of course, through Instagram), and did a #fiveby5K challenge. That got me out the door everyday to run a distance of 5K, 3.1 miles.

The next week came around, and on April 1st I ran four miles. So then I ran another four miles on the 2nd. Today is the 13th, and so far I’ve kept my streak going, having run 52 miles so far this month.

With running, it’s not just the 40ish minutes of that four mile run. There’s the timing of your food intake a few hours before, there’s the 10 minutes of stretching, there’s the post-run routine of updating Strava and maybe making an Instagram post. The cool down, the shower… so that 44 minute run was really on my mind for a few hours during my day, which I think is a healthy distraction from everything going on.

In the midst of all this I somehow had a yearly check up with my doctor. Everything is fine, except my blood pressure could stand to see a drop, and the doctor said the best way to do that is lose about five pounds.

All that running is one thing, but he said I need to do more cross training. So I’ve been using the Nike Training App (which has a free premium offer going), for some good upper body work outs, and the Streaks Workout app to get me moving a little bit more throughout the day. The six minute work-out is great before my morning smoothie or a second cup of coffee, and the 12 minute workout is a lot of fun after a run.

For news, I subscribed to one of my local papers, The Morning Call. Keeping up with the world and national news is absolutely draining, so I wanted to keep it local, since this is where I live, and where I can help, both in volunteer / donation areas, but also what places are still open, and maybe who needs some support financially. This is all good for being a part of something, rather than consuming the firehose of doom and despair that’s happening all over the world right now.

FOOD

Oh, how I would love to stock up on cookies and chips, but I can not have any snacks in the house because I will devour them in 48 hours. Literally.

I’ve basically had a smoothie for breakfast everyday for years now, but I’m trying my best to switch up my recipes. My tried and true smoothie calls for one banana, but I’ve been to grocery stores lately and they’ve been out! I found this sweet potato smoothie recipe and absolutely love it, and it lessens my need for a full banana every day (okay, half a banana).

Salads. With lots of stuff. This is new for me, and I don’t know how well it’s going to hold up with going to the grocery store every 7+ days, but I know more veggies are important, so we’ll see how this works.

Dinner wise is usually burritos with lots of veggies, lettuce, and salsa. Homemade pizza. Pasta with crumbled up veggie chorizo. Once every two weeks now has been take out.

I haven’t had a drink really since the Super Bowl, back in February. All our liquor stores are closed right now, and eh, I’m trying to lose some weight, so going without beer for now is fine with me. Maybe I’ll have a celebratory beer after the first race once everything gets back to normal.

The Wind Won’t Win

The wind knocked the power out, at least for a little bit. Long enough to wait for everything to reboot, and make some more coffee.

Chose to continue my Four Miles Every Day in April streak in downtown Hamburg (Strava link), figuring the buildings might give me some shelter but the wind didn’t care. It was fierce, around 20mph according my app. The sort of gusts that suck the air from your lungs and push you backwards.

Headwinds used to upset me. Literally, I’d get mad at the wind, the conditions. I’d let it turn me sour, and ruin the moment. That really goes back to my bike riding days, but in recent years, I just accept it.

Being mad at the wind won’t stop the wind. Being upset at the current situation doesn’t change anything. As Seth Godin recently wrote, “We can’t change how things are in any given moment, but we can change how we will approach today.”

My approach to running lately has been embracing the suck, because it can literally change from one mile to the next. The first mile, the second mile… pure suck. But usually, for me, that third mile, then the fifth, the eighth, that’s when thing feel good.

So right now, in the midst of a global pandemic, and a thousand things going wrong with every passing hour, death, sorrow, and pain, well, yelling at the wind ain’t gonna help, so better to just move forward as best we can.

Looking For Normal

Trying my best to “archive” some of the stuff I share on Instagram here, on my blog, the thing that won’t go away, or get buried in a stream of other posts. When you’re here, you’re here, on a blog.

I met Mike way back in the mid 2000s or so, when I moved to NYC. Kind, gentle soul. I have no idea about the art stuff he does, but when I’ve visited his studio he would always encourage me to dive in and cut up magazines and make collages, too. I love that about him.

And the point, too, as mentioned above, is “normal” is gone now, and who the heck knows when it comes back. I don’t even think it’ll look the same. For now, anyways, I do my best to not think that far out.

Cut the Noise

I needed to read this, maybe you need it, too. From ‘Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure.’

Ignore everyone who is posting productivity porn on social media right now. It is OK that you keep waking up at 3 a.m. It is OK that you forgot to eat lunch and cannot do a Zoom yoga class. It is OK that you have not touched that revise-and-resubmit in three weeks.
Ignore the people who are posting that they are writing papers and the people who are complaining that they cannot write papers. They are on their own journey. Cut out the noise.

Aisha S. Ahmad

I’ve had my productive, break through days and moments of anxiety and fear. I’ve done a few “see 10, do 10” push up challenges, and a five days of 5K runs, too, but I haven’t learned how to play the piano.

The lull of the holidays is one thing, but we’re in the middle of a global crisis. Over 100,000 Americans might die. It’s totally fucking okay to not have all your shit together.

(via Kottke)

Setting the Tone

Since I started running in 2016, I learned that the first mile sucks. It just takes awhile for the muscles to loosen, the heart to get pumping, and mentally you have to power through it all.

This week started pretty bad, though looking back there wasn’t one external force that made it that way. A combination of many things add up and whammo, you’re having a bad day.

But it’s not a bad day, it’s a bad moment. I’m not saying we don’t get bad days, to just “toughen up” and carry on. But I mean some crappy moments don’t have to always write the full story of the rest of your day.

I wasn’t feeling in the mood for a run this morning, or in the afternoon, and figured, eh, I’ll get it tomorrow. But then… I felt like it. Or rather, things were in order mentally and emotionally and physically to just, what the hell? Let’s go for a run.

And that first mile sucked. Headwind, felt stiff, shoulda wore gloves. But by mile four, and a few hundred feet of climbing, I was feeling great.

In summary, bad mornings don’t have to become bad days, and a bad Monday doesn’t need to dictate an entire week.