Friday, April 27, 2012

Something from Nothing

Today in the gym, after a brutal circuit training strength workout, I was sitting there recovering trying my best to fight all the thoughts I was having of skipping my run.  I was very, very close to skipping my run, and I wanted to share with you the mental bargaining that I went through.  It felt like a revelation. 

I realized as I was sitting there, that my idea of going for a run was very narrow.  Somehow, it has been ingrained in my mind that a "run" for me is at least 30 minutes, because running for any less amount of time felt like nothing and just didn't seem like it was worth it.   There was just no way I could mentally go out for a 30 minute run after the circuit train that I just went through. 

Then the obvious hit me, and I began bargaining with myself.  "Am I willing to go out and run to Patterson and back?" (This is less than a mile).  "How about to LaHarpe and back?" (This would be a little over a mile).  You get the idea.  I tried to arrive at the most I was willing to do.  

I ended up running a small loop back to the gym that took 17 minutes. 

If I could revisit all of the times I didn't run because I didn't want to go the full distance or time, and inserted 10-20 minute runs in there instead of nothing, I wonder how much better a runner I would be?  I wonder if I'd be getting something from these runs that are "nothing".

Look for me to employ this philosophy in more areas than just running from now on.   


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Preezie of the United Steezie

I read the Week quite a bit for my news, and I'm very happy that they shared this clip from Jimmy Fallon's TV show since I don't have cable.  I hope you enjoy this 5 minute clip as much as I did.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bloomington Love

Erin and I left for Bloomington, Indiana really early in the morning on Friday, April 6.  Although the rehearsal dinner for our friends Rob and Holly wasn't to begin until 6:30pm we wanted to get there early to enjoy a lunch and get settled in.

Erin first met Rob and Holly in 2009 when I took her to Bloomington for the first time.  Not surprisingly, Erin fell in love with Bloomington instantly.  We've been back to visit them again between 2009 and now, and also to Madison, WI to visit them again and help them move.  Our return to Bloomington was most welcome.  We were excited to celebrate the love that Rob and Holly share, and we were excited to indulge in our own love of B-Town.

Scotty's Brewhouse was our lunch stop where Erin and I shared 12 Mo' Fo' wings and a Mo' Fo' Cluck over her pint of Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA and my pint of Flat 12 Half Cycle IPA.  There is something about the Mo' Fo' sauce that make my taste buds dance.  Nothing spells love like sharing some of those super hot morsels of burning fire with my inferno flavor loving spouse.

Handsome Men at Founders in Michigan

 Once we checked in to the Courtyard at Marriott and dropped off our stuff we drove to Upland Brewery. What we thought was a late arrival turned out to be an early one.  They were already serving an Upland Pilsner, Wheat, Pale, and the Dragonfly (an IPA).  Erin and I opted for the Dragonfly.  Duh.  It was great seeing Rob and Brian again, even though we had just spent some quality time together in Michigan in January during our Michigan Brewery tour.  In fact, here is a good time to show off how much weight I've lost since January.
Extremely Handsome Men in Bloomington, IN

It was a real treat to catch up with my Indiana graduate school colleagues.  My wife finally was able to meet Justin Mazur, whom I've talked about a lot since we've been together.  I found out he is happy working with an oil company writing algorithms that assess the quality of oil pipelines.  His work has him traveling to Germany a lot right now.  He lives in Texas where he says everyone's life long dream is to own a really huge truck.

As a night with these kind of people would go in Bloomington, it did not end at Upland.  We rendezvoused at The Vid where we played some darts and enjoyed pitchers of Two Hearted Ale.  I remember playing with Steve Morrow and kicking some ass, but then losing to Brian and his teammate at the end of the night.

For some reason, Brian's wife Kelly thought that 9am was not too early to meet for breakfast.  Boy, was she wrong.  This was my major downer of the trip, because I was really excited for the coffee, breakfast, and mimosas at Runcible Spoon.  It didn't stop me from ordering coffee, eggs Benedict, and mimosas.  However, my belly said, "if you think you're going to eat more than two bites of those Eggs Benedict, you, and the people with you, and the rest of the people in the restaurant, are in for a big surprise."  I got down some coffee, some water, and some mimosas, but those Eggs Benedict didn't go anywhere.

I absolutely had to have a nap afterwards.  Erin and I got a nice nap in at the hotel, but she woke up before I did eager to go shopping for some Dansko shoes on the square.  She had some fun shopping and bought some really cool stuff, including a crafty journal for me to write in.  How thoughtful.

Roots on the Square

I finally got up and was really hungry (since I didn't get much substance for breakfast) and met Erin up at Roots on the Square.  I had some more coffee and a Peanut Pad Thai dish at the spiciest level they could make it.  It was awesome, and got me well prepared for the amazing wedding that was about to ensue. 

Believe me, before we arrived, I knew this was going to be an awesome wedding.  But when I found my table, and saw a brochure with "Don't Panic" written on the front cover, it was then I knew Rob and Holly's wedding would join the ranks of "epic," second only to Erin and my wedding.  Grown men got teary eyed, a tell tale sign that the wedding was a legendary one indeed. 

Use Ctrl and + to increase the size of your screen to read the finer print

The ceremony was very well done with this beautiful reading from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else's heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter."
Kelly, Erin, Jason at the Farm
Other kick ass parts of their ceremony included a reenactment of a Calvin and Hobbes strip, The Book of Love by Stephen Merritt, and Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!  Holly and Rob's wedding truly rocked, and gave us something to exuberantly celebrate 2 hours later.  The 2 hour delay was a perfect way to let guests optimize the resources downtown Bloomington had to offer while the wedding party had to get their pictures taken (those poor souls).  Here you see Kelly, Erin, and me sipping on some Framboise Lambic, a delicious and now traditional pre-reception warm-up (to go along with the morning pre-wedding mimosas).

It is probably a good time (before I get into the reception) to let those of you know who missed the wedding and were invited that you have lost a paramount moment of your life that you will never get back.  Although you have no concept or frame of reference, believe me when I tell you that your life sucks worse for having missed this joyous beginning of the joining of two wonderful people about to embark on one of the greatest love sagas planet Earth has ever been graced with.  Really, you missed a sense of elevation and such a life enhancing experience that I feel terribly sorry for you.

It really helps when the couple are foodies and everything edible is not only that, but a mouth watering orgasm for your taste buds. The food was fantastic, and the table arrangement (at least on my end) was great.  Our table was a mixture of beer makers (Brian, Ryan, Erin and myself), and trouble makers (Mazur and myself).  The continuous stream of Dragonfly IPA, the conversation, the occasional distraction the couple had to offer doing their wedding day stuff, all put fuel into everyone's dance and party engines.  Someone mentioned a photo booth and then started playing music, and before a lamb could give a few shakes of its tail, the craziness began.

The Efficient Officiant (with tie on head)
You know when you are in a crowd of beer drinkers when the Dragonfly IPA keg gets cashed before the Upland Wheat.  Their wedding needs to be recognized by some elite wedding award giving organization just for this accomplishment alone, even though it would deserve it for so much more.  I'm not sure in what order some of these highlights go in, but here are a few.  The shirtless man you see in the photo with a tie on his head; that is the officiant of the wedding.  His name is Kyle Riggs and he is awesome.  As you can see in the photo, much dancing took place.  In fact, at one point in the evening, I helped Mazur resurrect the famous "Mazur dance" that we have all come to know and love.

1: Erin & Me 2: Erin & Kelly 3: Me & Holly 4: Brian & Me
The photo booth was a hit.  Each photo shoot consisted of four shots, which produced two copies: one for the couple and one for yourself.  I'm a little leery showing you these photos, but I can't help it.  I feel the fourth strip including Brian and I needs explanation.  It is difficult to come up with four different and unique shots in the photo booth, and so the idea of making out comes naturally (especially after several Dragonfly IPAs).  What made the moment even funnier was Erin opened the curtain at that precise moment.  Back on the dance floor, I felt an extreme high whenever I requested a song.  Why?  Because it was played next each time.  I'm more proud of the second one I requested because it was one of the last songs of the night: "Tonight's going to be a good, good night."  Rob danced in the middle to cheering and praise.  Everyone got goosebumps in that beautiful moment of intense rave.  Holly announced that the party would continue at The Vid.  Everyone met up there for a few more drinks and darts to start the slow cool down.  It was a good, good night indeed.

Rob and Holly's wedding will always be remembered.  It brought back fond and loving memories of my time with wonderful people while I was a graduate student at IU.  My love of Bloomington has not diminished, and if anything, grows with the distance and time I spend away.  After sharing Bloomington with Erin, she has fallen in love with it perhaps more than me.  My lack of great writing hinders me from coming up with a clever way to tie in all the love that happened in Bloomington that weekend, but that was my goal when I titled it Bloomington Love. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Intelligent design" bill in Missouri

The Missouri Standard Science Act was recently brought to my attention and I've been making myself sick over it because it absolutely disgusts me.  Several of Missouri congressmen, most of which are high school graduates (one with a B.A. in Business, and the other with a B.S. and an M.S in Physical Therapy) and none bearing any kind of "science" degree, want to establish this act that requires equal treatment be given in textbooks and presentation to intelligent design and evolution in the scientific theory of the origin of life in public elementary and secondary schools, as well as in introductory science courses in public higher education.

I think Jefferson said it best in his Wall of Separation Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

Learning about intelligent design is for Church. It requires a faith-based approach.  Learning scientific theory is for school.  It requires the scientific method, something that is despised (or at least should be) by the Church for reasons such as this article for example, or this one

There are several things that are wrong with this bill, a few of which I will name here.  In the new section 170.018, under part 2(3), they are defining a term "Biological Intelligent Design."  There are several parts in this section where they have several misuses of the word "imply" in a logical, scholarly setting.  For example, in part (h) the writers believe "irreducible complexity of certain biological systems implies a completed design and construction at inception rather than step-by-step development."  What individuals that use an irreducible complexity argument fail to do EVERY time is to apply the same logic of irreducible complexity to the "intelligent designer" herself.  What is it that makes this extremely complex being work?  The irreducible complexity of the "intelligent designer" must imply yet a "more intelligent designer" if we are to adopt this logic.  This continues ad infinitum.  

When they come back with the idea that the "intelligent designer" has always existed, they fail to see that the same logic could have been applied at the previous setting, in the natural world.  The universe has always existed (in one form or another).  

A second thing that is wrong with this bill is the frequent use of statements like these two: 
  • There are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic origin of the first independent living organism.
  • There are no significant mechanisms or present-day experiments to prove the naturalistic development of earth's species from microscopic organisms.
The writers of this bill presume too much here.  These mechanisms or experiments may not exist yet.  However, I can safely say that there are no plausible mechanisms or present-day experiments that prove an intelligent designer of the first independent living organism or the development of earth's species from microscopic organisms, nor will there ever be.  

Although there are several more things wrong with this bill, I will stop with after this third thing.  They define  biological intelligent design as a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence.  I'm sorry, but there is no way to test these hypotheses by inference.  You are distorting the scientific method.  You must already have the conclusion that there is an intelligent designer, and then most data collected by inference will be ignored.  Only the data that may somehow obscurely indicate an intelligent designer will be paid heed.  This has no place in an academic setting.  

When individuals that are teaching science right now in high school and colleges were going to school, they were not trained in theology.  They will be unqualified to teach this faith based material, especially give equal treatment to it.  This is discrimination.

I implore all of you to do what it takes to kill this bill. If this bill ever does pass, I would encourage all teachers that have to cover intelligent design, to use sources like "Intelligent Design Made Mankind?" If we threaten to teach intelligent design like this, maybe they won't be so eager to pass such a bill.