Searching for more

So I did not run yesterday because I ended up having to go in earlier than originally planned for work, and then it rained all morning! So when I went out today I was feeling kind of meh. But I managed a decent 5 miles and even stretched out some pace at the end. I tried to hit 6:26/mi (about 4:00/km) I was a little slower than that. I think if I really worked I could do it. I really do think with enough discipline I can manage a sub-20 5k.
So getting faster is in the cards, I’m also looking at expanding my mind. In my spare time I’m going to start researching grants and opportunities. I know it means I’ll need to subject myself to reams upon reams of paperwork, tests, creating plans and such. As I said the other day though, I need to start moving past this part of my life, I don’t want to get comfortable and stop here. I’ve hit some goals, I’ve done some of the things I set out to accomplish, but there’s more to do. There’s a real risk I run of complacency, of digging myself in again and getting too lazy and missing out on so many things I want to accomplish. Then there are new things I want to accomplish too, because as I experience more, I find more things where I say, “It’d be cool if I did that!” That’s what life is supposed to be.
We should all be getting out and seeing what there is for us in the world and figuring out what we want to do, and then making it happen. I’ve said it a thousand times or more, we are explorers! It’s our job, to look at our world, our universe in wonder, and figure it out. It doesn’t matter in what direction your figuring it out takes, it matters that that’s what you do! We’re not made to make money, money isn’t real, discovery is real. It doesn’t matter if someone else has gotten to, seen, discovered a thing before you, what matters is how you experience it. Everyone is different, everyone has a slightly different perspective on things, so if 1,000 people see the same thing, that means there’s 1,000 takes on what that thing is. Even though most of them will probably be very similar, it’s doesn’t matter, they’re all unique.
This hamster wheel we call modern “civilization” makes discovery a foreign, external thing to most people. You’re told you’re not smart enough, you don’t work hard enough, you don’t deserve to be able to do what you want. You need to be a cog in a machine. To what end? When do we end this lie of “work”. In America right now, people are working longer hours for less while the top brackets, the CEOs, financiers, they’re walking away with over 2000 times more than the average worker is making. Where is this trickle down prosperity we were all promised? It’s exactly where some of us has always said it would be. Yet people keep buying into this lie. Not just in the US, all over the world, they buy into this lie that if you give those with the most more, then they will magically share it with the rest of us, if we work hard enough. The harder we work though, the less we make, and then we’re told we don’t work hard enough. Forget that. Stop living in this lie, realize you do deserve more, you do deserve to live the life of a conscious part of the Universe, created for the sole purpose of discovering about itself.
None of that is dependent on where you were born, who your parents are, what you learned in school, what tax bracket you’re in, or anything else. Yes, we need a common framework of behavior to go off of. I think starting at “Do no harm” is a good jumping off point. Beyond that, let’s have that discussion. Let’s talk about what people should have and what we should be doing. As in, how should we act toward each other? How should we act toward our evolutionary cousins? How should we act toward our only home, Earth? How should we act toward our Solar System, our Galaxy, our Universe? Based on a cursory glance of all the data we have, our current ideas about these things, our current value system is clearly deficient.
We must have the small conversations, about the symptoms. I used the analogy the other day, Trump is like a broken leg in a patient with osteoporosis. Obviously the overall condition needs to be treated with the best medicines, exercise, vitamins, supplements, change in diet. But you don’t ignore the broken leg. At the same time, it is foolish to only treat the broken leg and not tackle the overall disease which caused it. Both issues must be addressed simultaneously. Otherwise you will either keep breaking bones at an unreasonable rate, or you will be permanently hobbled by a leg which did not heal properly. Neither is a desirable outcome. You can neither just be a micro-manager nor a big-picture guy. We must always be both, mindful of the great and the small.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Doubleshot!

Yep, see here we are. So today I got out and did another (and a different) 10 miles. My schedule was rearranged at work, so I’m not sure if I can do ten tomorrow, it depends on when I wake up. So we will see. The run itself today was fairly uneventful, which is great! It was the same pace as yesterday, even though it was an admittedly easier route. But 10 miles is 10 miles either way. I was a little tired, and a little more sore, and I band-aided the nips.
So it’s impossible to shake my confidence in the things I know I know. Meaning, if I know that something is true, you have to move heaven and earth to get me to believe it to be not true. Basically, I need to see the evidence, not just someone saying there’s evidence, I need to look at the reports, the raw data from the studies, I really need to see the information right in front of my face. I want to make sure someone isn’t fudging the numbers to make their point seem valid. It’s the skeptic in me.
But the things I really know, are very very few. Most things I have no more idea about than anyone else. Because in all honesty, the things humanity truly know are very few when we take in the enormity of existence. So I don’t know why so many people are so fervent about what they “know” but whatever. But it’s very easy to shake my confidence in the things I’m not sure about. I have lots of doubts, and I don’t trust my own judgment most of the time. It makes me good at learning things, because I’m usually pretty sure I don’t know what’s best. But I can also be a bit fragile. I get that people generally only say something when they want to complain, but I really do need some positivity, else I just think I’m crap at whatever I’m doing. It really is both a blessing and a curse. Particularly professionally.
But then with something I know today, someone was complaining that the attacks on Columbus Day were leaving them feeling like they would have nothing left to celebrate their “Italian-American identity”. I tried very nicely to explain that there is no such thing as an “Italian” and Columbus certainly wouldn’t have identified as such. That people from the South shouldn’t look to Columbus, the Medici, DaVinci, or any of those Renaissance figures. That it is a form of erasure of a culture, which was, and in ways still is different. But of one that is being lost, and needs to be brought back from the watered down dishes and mobster movies (which was NOT part of the South until after unification, brought about as crowd control by the North).
Now, I know I am coming from a place of knowledge about these things, I’ve been reading on it extensively. I am trying to improve, not just my Italian but, my dialect as well. When I go shopping I look at the labels on my foods to see if they were grown and produced in the South. If I can help it of course. If the government in Rome isn’t going to spend money here, if they’re not going to send an equal share of the grant monies coming from the EU down here, then I should work hard to keep my money down here. The point is, here we are over 150 years since “unification” and yet there is still horrible inequity. Our grandparents and great-grandparents went to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Brasil, Argentina, Chile because they were being hunted down and murdered because they refused to submit to the new king. Why do I want to identify with people from those lands? Now this particular person admitted that Columbus was pretty crappy, but it wasn’t about him, it was about their identity and the treatment of Italians when they arrived in the New World.
Even that isn’t a good argument though. So you are going to support a holiday celebrating someone who was as problematic as the people your ancestors were escaping in the Old World? Someone who, if the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies wasn’t so strong back then, would have been treating the citizens of that country as badly as he was treating the peoples of the Caribbean. Not to mention the day was never intended to be about Italian identity, it was about Catholic identity. The Catholics who founded the organization which ultimately lobbied for the holiday were not Italian. It was about a well-known Catholic with a tie to the New World, that was all. So basically, in no way is Columbus Day a good stand in for “Italian-American Day”. This was the only point I was making, but the person got very angry with me. I suggested that given that many of the peoples who today call themselves “Italian-American” have family roots in the Napoli area, that using San Gennaro as their day for identity was a better choice. San Gennaro being the main patron saint of Napoli. There’s already a big festival in “Little Italys” all over the US for San Gennaro, particularly in the most famous Little Italy in New York City.
I have put lots of thought into all this. I have considered it for a very long time. Because something should be done. Regardless of how people viewed him in the past, he did so much damage to the people of the Caribbean. I get it, the organization which bears his name shouldn’t have to change their name. Honestly, it kind of makes sense. They came here, he came here, he did bring Catholicism here, right or wrong. So that’s that. But beyond that, celebrating him regardless of your intent, is horribly insensitive toward indigenous peoples, particularly Taino and other peoples of the Caribbean. That was my point, it was a lost point. But celebrating Columbus is no different than celebrating Jefferson Davis. To some people they only represent oppression.

(Yep, used the same band twice even! Same Album different cuts even!)
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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A weekend off, but a busy week

I did not run this weekend, instead I am going to push myself this week. So I got out today for a 10 miler. I really should have put on band-aids, I am in pain. But I’d rather have a sore nipple than the ankle pain I’ve been dealing with for months. Which is getting better. I can walk in the mornings and the pain isn’t keeping we awake at night. There is still some tenderness at times, but it is definitely improving. I will use this week to really see how it’s going.
That’s the thing with running, there’s almost always some pain. Definitely always discomfort. But you just keep going. It doesn’t matter if you’re running for your health like I do, or if you’re running for accolades like Galen Rupp, which good on him winning the Chicago Marathon yesterday. You keep moving and you hopefully hit your goals. It’s so difficult sometimes, but when you look back and see what you’ve accomplished there’s such a great feeling to it.
It’s so weird, I was just looking at today’s run and I really felt great out there, and then Strava tells me I’ve run the course once before, and was a second faster per km…Are you joking Strava? Trying to kill my buzz? It’s ok, I didn’t slow down, I didn’t pull up anywhere. So staying within a second is fine by me. Plus I feel I stayed on my midfoot pretty well, I don’t think I was heel striking the whole time. That project has been going well, as evidenced by the fact my heel is healing while I’m still running. I’m not getting any faster, but I had slowed down so much I’m happy to be back at my normal pace.
That is the next project once I’m healthy, really start working on speed and core strength. I really think I can still break 20 mins in a 5k. We shall see how that progresses. I need to find more 5ks to run around here. It can be difficult when I have to work Saturday mornings, but I imagine there must be some Sunday races. I just need to find them. Then I need to start scouting for Asian and African marathons, and cheap airfare which coincides with the races. Because I really need to get those two continents off the list. I lost focus on that this year, and most of last year honestly. It’s been a difficult few months really. It is high time I refocus my efforts on the things I really want to do. It’s time to get some new accomplishments going, time to start hitting some new goals.
I get that you can’t constantly be driving at full pace, you need to slow down sometimes and rest, but I fear I have taken too long right now with some things and really need to get myself back on track.
Speaking of which, I had to run to work yesterday and meant to finish this when I got home and never did. My internet installation was postponed this morning, I have to wait until next week now. But oh well. So anyway, I’ll publish this now and then see what I have when I get back from today’s run! It may be two for Tuesday!

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Decisions decisions

So, here I am. I got my ass up and out today. I’m doing alright. Still a little so-so about somethings. Fucked up on my work schedule yesterday and ended up being late and I hate being late. I really pride myself on getting places on time and when I’m late, it really bothers me. Like deep down, causing existential crises, bother. Ennui! The run itself was good though, right around my average for 5 miles of training on the lungomare run. I can be happy about that given my ankles are still bothering me and now I have a little twinge in my left hamstring, but again run until/if it breaks.
So anyone who knows me probably realizes that I’ve never been happy working for other people. Not to say I don’t/haven’t enjoyed working for/with certain people. To the contrary, I’ve had plenty of people who have been a joy to work for, and there is a certain satisfaction in not having to worry about paychecks and taxes and shit like that. This is also not meant to intimate in any way that I’m not enjoying my current job, or that I don’t find it fulfilling. I get to help people learn and that’s huge. But as more time goes by, and the more I think about it, I really do need to really start making concrete commitments to try and break myself from this system which I know so desperately needs to be changed. But what can I do?
Well, first I think instead of just ranting out on this blog, I really need to discipline myself to really write things down. I think if I take my time and do more research, I could make a decent philosophical treatise and really try to figure out the best way forward for all of humanity. Because I think that may be the real problem here. With no fully integrated options to replace the existing status quo, even with a vast majority of the people recognizing something isn’t right, there is simply too much apprehension about moving past the current false dichotomies of “capitalism or communism” or “libertarianism or authoritarianism”, or any of the other nonsense we cloud our lives with. Whatever words we wish to use for our socio-political spectrum extremes. I’m not here to argue semantics and no, semantics is not the only argument.
The fact is, I’ve been saying for years someone has to come up with something comprehensive, and I am starting to wonder, why not me? I see parts here and there from different people. I see things and say, “This would be a good idea, but it doesn’t address that issue.” Maybe I should be the one to try and put it all together in a package that everyone can understand and get behind. At the very least, at least I would have tried.
More than that, if I can really get myself disciplined, perhaps I could try some fiction as well, but not be Randian about it. Not interject my philosophy and make a mess of things in the process, just write enjoyable stories. Possibilities. What’s the purpose though? To work for myself, so I can get everything together and really follow my dreams, follow the things which really bring me joy. Growing food, having a house to fix up. Yes, as much as I complain, I really enjoy the feeling of seeing some awesome work I did to fix a problem on my home. And cooking. I love cooking, I really do, I like it even better when someone enjoys the food I’ve prepared. I think giving someone else an enjoyable experience, particularly one as vital as food, is just about the most amazing thing you can do. In order to do these things, either the system needs to change where I can follow these dreams without worry of myself going hungry or homeless. Or I need to save the capital and get the investors in order to make these things a reality.
When I say, my dreams, I mean last night I literally had a dream I owned a restaurant/bar honestly. Plus, if I don’t open a bar/restaurant, who’s going to bring the bands I love to play in the place I love to live? Who wants to go to Milan to see Propagandhi or Bad Religion, All for Nothing, Sick of it All, Wisdom in Chains, The Descendents? To name a few. Plus, I can really cook some awesome food. But I realized I’d need to keep it simple here, folks don’t really seem to go too crazy with their pallets. That’s fine, I can do frittes and soups all day! Over the next couple weeks I really need to get my shit together and get moving on something, because in the end if you don’t even try all you can left with is regret. Even if you fail, as long as you’ve done your best you’ve done something.
Do I think I’ll change the world? Be some sort of hero? Nope, not at all. Just need to give things a try, don’t care what happens. I think I need to do these things. I like the person I am, I like most of the people I know (hahaha I’m not telling you who’s who!), I’m generally happy, and I know most of my unhappiness comes from other forces. But I ask myself what I am doing with my life and as much as I’m helping, I ask if there is more I can try to do. I also ask if there’s something which can bring me more happiness, and when I look at these things, the answer is yes, it’s possible. That doesn’t mean it will, it just means it’s worth exploring, it’s worth trying. If I can also help people on a broader scale at the same time, that’s a huge bonus.
In the end, the fiscal independence to really follow my heart is what I think I’m after. I think it’s what everyone is after. There should always be a way to do that, follow your heart. So that’s what I’ll look for and see where it takes me, and maybe I end up staying right as things are. But I have these dreams and they seem like good ideas, so I will take a look.

Have fun, keep running and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Back at it

I have been terrible, I really have. Being back in the US, things didn’t feel right, I had a hard time focusing, frankly I had some depression issues. I still do right now, I spent all day yesterday in bed, save cooking, a little cleaning and a trip to the store to buy a few things to make a decent dinner. I did run my Italian hometown Half Marathon on Sunday. I love the shirt, and overall it was nice, but the turns, why they put so many turns in is beyond me. Looping around the city a few times, but never quite in the same place, over 20 turns in a half marathon. And they’re not avoiding hills or anything like that. Then I got out today and put in a pretty decent 7 miler. The only problem today, besides some soreness from Sunday, was a rock that got in my shoe and I had to stop to remove it.
But yeah, it was a rough Summer, and as of right now I have a hinky feeling about this work-year. I’m hoping it’s just the depression and it will pass, but I don’t know. I’m happy to be back and I’m excited to get to work, but my whole schedule seems to have changed, and I guess none of my students wanted me back, or whatever. That kind of hurts. It’s because I like stability sometimes. It seems like I don’t, but there is a certain part of me that really enjoys the same thing over and over and over again, it’s soothing. When it comes to certain aspects in life. Anyway, as I said, I hope it will pass and that it’s just part of the general malaise I am feeling.
Speaking of which, the whole time, as I said, I was in the US not just me but it seemed a little dimmer, a little more miserable, a little sadder, like a blanket of shame had come down to cover everything. It really did, I don’t know if people notice, but it’s a changed place and not for the better. The events of this week have made it that much worse. The fact that lawmakers will not do anything to stop the slaughter makes it even worse. Already people started with the “those guns were illegal to buy in the first place” and yes, he didn’t buy them. He bought the legal version, then bought the legal conversion accessories…anyway. Screw that. I have to push through this. I have to keep going. I’m not going to let all this mess break me.
Things to look forward to this year:
I have my motorcycle endorsement, so now I either need to find a cheap motorcycle to buy, or a place that will let me rent one cheap when I need one. So hopefully lots more adventures. New students, new challenges, new opportunities to grow and learn. Real internet coming soon to my apartment! And so much more.
I am going to do my best to keep myself updating regularly again. I make no excuse for my lack of attention, my dropping out. It was terrible of me and I should be ashamed of myself. But I will get there, and I will get it done. I have to keep putting in the work, it’s the least I can do, my lazy Summer is over.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Stop looking for a center here

OK, it’s been a while and I’ve been running, but I can’t focus on running right now. We all know what happened over the weekend and we know the piece of garbage occupying the Executive Branch has shit all over himself on it. Listen, there’s no “center” position here. You are either a racist, fascist, Nazi piece of garbage or you’re not. If you want to cape for these people, try and say, “They’re not all bad”, try and mitigate some of their positions as possibly being sensible in some light, you are one of them. And I will fight you.
This shit needs to stop, there’s no excuses anymore. “Well that’s how they were raised.” No, fuck that how long are we going to continue to ALLOW people to be raised this way? It’s been going on for generations and it never gets better and it never stops. I said it earlier, fascists, racists, etc. are easy to fight. But the people in the center, or searching for the center are the ones that keep it going. They turn escaped slaves in and send them back into bondage, because they don’t want to cause any waves, they don’t want to rock the boat. They want reconstruction to end and the freed peoples to not get reparations because the traitors of the confederacy are still our “countrymen”. They kept an apartheid regime in place because it was what the “people” voted for. They talk about how it is just for police to “fear for their lives” at a rate of 7:1 against POC, and that these murders are just because maybe those victims did something bad in their past. Now they sit there and tell me and all of us, that it’s both sides here, and it’s not. One side has always been about protecting the exploited, protecting and elevating the downtrodden, making the world a better and just place. The other side has been about murder and mayhem, slavery and exploiting peoples, and telling them they should be thankful for the opportunity. There is no comparison here.
Nazi Germany modeled their apartheid on ours. You don’t understand the link between the US and Nazis, you need to read.┬áThere is nothing that makes any of this acceptable. Anyone who wants to try and tell me that the people fighting against the models of what the Nazis did in Germany are the same, you have no clue what you’re talking about and you only prolong the pain and suffering of millions of people in this world. Shame on you.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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A new start, and immigration on the brain

OK, I took July off basically, from here. It’s been tough, I’ve been dealing with some depression, it’s really hard being here. But I have been running, I’m averaging 140 miles per month. Got a good run in today. I’m feeling alright, but the heat and humidity is still getting to me some days. Finally signed up for my motorcycle safety course to get my motorcycle endorsement when I renew my license. That’s something to look forward to. Still have to get my ticket back home at the end of the Summer, but that will work itself out.
Meanwhile, I’ve been seeing some pretty heavy anti-immigrant crap showing up. I’m not going to call anyone out, I’m not going to point fingers, well politicians will get mentioned probably. But the right wing seems to be reveling in showing naked, or partially nude Africans as some way of trying to make a point. I see these pictures as prurient and pointless. Trying to somehow shame them, or get other people angry over people bathing in fountains or some such. It’s shit. It’s absolute shit.
Listen, here’s the thing, politicians like Trump, Salvini, LePen, all these other fuckheads, they profit off the exploitation of people. I don’t care if a refugee has a cellphone or not, or if they’re begging outside a store, or bathing in a fountain. Someone, somewhere is profiting off of their situation. They are profiting from these people being exploited. Usually, they are the same politicians telling us to hate these people. They have no interest in anything other than keeping them in an unsure, and easily exploitable status. International trade deals create the situations they are escaping from in their home countries, and then they are exploited still when they leave. This is sick and disgusting, but these are the facts.
We know Trump has been caught exploiting undocumented workers. I’ve personally spoken to exploited workers in every country I have visited and lived in. Many times, these people are brought in legally for a brief period and when that status runs out their “employer” offers to keep them on, at a lower wage, for more hours, less protection, and making sure they get less and less as the worker now has no legal standing to do anything. But even the “unwanted” people who are out on the street begging for change. The politicians and that class exploit those people to reinforce their positions, garner more votes and more power, to keep the system working where they profit off the exploitation of others. It’s vicious.
This planet has more than enough for everyone’s need. Yet our choice to live in a system which creates deficit and scarcity causes this, and those people in power absolutely know this and they absolutely revel in turning the rest of us against the very least of us in order to continue to live off their misery, like a leech or a vulture. It sickens me when people fall into this. Usually, I’ll just tell people to their faces, but honestly I am an immigrant myself, I don’t even know how to approach it. It fills me with so much anger. Sure I’m not really an “immigrant” I’m a citizen, jure sanguinis, and I serve a very important function. But that doesn’t matter, I’m an immigrant, and I see all other immigrants as the same as me. They should all be given a chance, regardless of their status, and they should be protected and defended. Immigrants or not, all people are my brothers and sisters, I’ve said that before and I’ll keep saying it, and we all deserve basic dignity and respect, we should all be allowed to live free.
So, these images sicken me, the exploitation of people sickens me. Anytime, anyone in a position to help instead harms a vulnerable person it fills me with rage. When other people then use that harm to try and tell me or anyone else I should be angry about the exploited person, it fills me with an indescribable pain. I don’t have much of a vent for this. It’s all just so fucking insane, and people seem to just look past the obvious. It’s like no one ever can just land on the simplest explanation for things. They must complicate matters. When the fact is, always follow the money.
I’ve laid this out before, this isn’t some hypothesis, this is provable fact. People like Salvini and Trump, etc, simply want to keep the people they complain about in a position where they have no voice, so they can profit off them. They need a group to exploit for their interests, and they need to make sure these people can’t fight back. It’s weak, sure, but in the end it’s all about money for them. Well fuck them, and fuck their money. It’s criminal, it’s the true criminality in this world, instead of recognizing our common human brotherhood, we turn people against each other all in the name of profit.
What’s worse is, those who buy this shit and spread the hate and stupidity further, thinking it will aid them in some way. But they’re just helping these conmen and conwomen continue to exploit people, hurt people. The really fucked up part, they’re also exploiting those who support them. It’s garbage, I don’t care where someone was born, I don’t care who their parents were, what god they believe in if they even believe in one, or any of that shit. Everyone is welcome and everyone is my brother, everyone is my sister. I face this world with the knowledge that we are wasting our talent, everyone is wasting their talent. Everyone. I have the humility to say I don’t know, I have the humility to say other people may have a better idea. But dammit, I know we aren’t supposed to be doing this shit. I know we’re not supposed to be fucking each other over, I know we’re not supposed to make misery in order to collect imaginary bank notes. I know we’re not supposed to destroy our fellow creatures, human and otherwise, destroy our planet in the pursuit of economy.
So if you’re falling into this shit, expand your mind, look to what is really happening, and throw out the bullshit. I’m just out of patience with that. The more I run, the more my consciousness expands, the more I see this shit as flat out wrong, the clearer my thoughts become on this. So listen, if you’re hung up on this immigration shit, if you’re hung up on language shit, if you’re sharing pictures of half-naked immigrants, just fucking stop. If your answer to whatever perceived threat to you isn’t based in the idea even someone trying to directly harm you is your brother or sister, then you need to just stop.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Where I’ve been

No excuses, just a reason. I have been keeping up my running, but I’ve been in a weird place. I have said before that every interaction you have in life builds up who you are. Some are good, some are bad, most have barely any effect at all. But there are some people, parents, maybe a teacher, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors who can have a profound impact on you.
I did not have a lot of friends as a kid. Of the few friends I did have there was one house where no matter what was going on I was always welcome. My friend’s mom was always greeting everyone with a smile, she’d even play video games with us, or just talk to us. She was an educator and a historian. Even though she had her work, and research, and societies which she belonged to, she made time for the kids, all of us. After a very sudden illness she died the other day and I’ve been dealing with all this. Trying to be there for my friend and his family the best I can, and trying to process my feelings from my end.
My parents gave me so much of my care and drive to help people, to raise everyone up, to make sure every human being is treated with dignity and respect regardless of where they were born, who their parents were, what god they pray to, who they love, where they work, if they work, whatever. Valerie taught me a different side of this though. She knew her story, she knew where she came from and she taught us. She showed us the shackles they brought her ancestors to the New World in. She discussed the racism, apartheid, she shared with us her personal stories about her experiences even in “liberal, enlightened Connecticut.” She was not shy, she was not ashamed. As I sat and listened, I could feel the hurt and the anger, but she never showed it. Even if I didn’t realize it then, she taught me how to listen to other people’s stories and not just take in the words, but to truly take in all of what was said. But it also taught me that no matter what I thought of where society was, or is, I need to listen to other people and accept their experiences, and that I am not the final judge or arbiter of where society stands.
What is amazing is, she didn’t just stop at her family and friends. She reached out to the community at large and taught people about all these things. Fully engaged in teaching New Haven about its own history. Through the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society and Ethnic Heritage Center. They did tours through New Haven of very important sites, even finding a secret room in a house in New Haven that most likely was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Her and her fellow historians brought these lessons out into the community and made New Haven a better place.
More than that, those talks also gave me an appreciation for education in general. She wasn’t the only person to tell me the virtues of good education. Not just in a school, just taking the time to learn for yourself, to pursue your own interests in subjects. I definitely would not be an English teacher today without her. I would not have had such in interest in archaeology and history by far. I definitely would not have the perspective on it all that I have today.
I’m glad I got the chance to hang out with the family during Christmas, I feel bad I didn’t stop right in when I got back here this Summer. Loss is hard to deal with. I’m always left wondering if I’ve done enough to live up to what people have given to me. I know so many people have said they just wish me to be happy and healthy, but I feel if people are giving me such wonderful lessons about life and giving me fun, happy, safe places to learn and grow then I really do feel like I owe it to them to do more. I know I can’t help disappointing people at some point, life is full of highs and lows, of successes and failures. I just hope I succeed more than I fail and that all the people who helped get me there are happy they helped me reach that point, and that they feel the time, care, knowledge they used on me was worth it.
That seems like a lot of pressure to put on oneself, put that’s always been the pressure I’ve felt. I am my worst critic by far. Always hoping I did enough, always looking to do better. It can be difficult sometimes, but I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I wouldn’t want to be complacent with myself. First, I’d be a jerk. Second, I think that would be horribly boring. I don’t want to be better so I can walk around talking about how great I am. If I want to raise everyone else up, I have to be strong enough to lift. I have to be kind and compassionate enough to extend that help to all who ask for it. I have to be humble enough to excuse myself when someone doesn’t want that help. Every day, as I say, work to be better than I was the day before. The only competition I’m interested in, against myself.
Not to get too sad, but I’d be remiss at this point if I didn’t mention I actually had two wakes at the same time happening. It was very difficult to miss one, but my cousin was there to pass along my condolences. I have limits and sometimes I don’t want to push them. Let’s go out and do the best we can every day. Also, let’s take the lessons we learn and pass them on, it’s the best way to honor the people who gave us those lessons, it’s the way to keep their memory going.

Have fun, keep running and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Looking up, kind of

Alright, it was the ‘Murica Day holiday on Tuesday, so I didn’t run. Made it to the club run last night which was fun. Got to talk to a new member (sort of) and have fun until I had to run off to get my dad’s car dropped off for some work it needed. The club run did not record on my Garmin for some reason. But today’s run did. My headphones broke this morning, so I had no music and then it was raining on me. So I kind of lost my focus toward the end. Oh well. However, upon returning to my house I had a message from my sister that a large retailer was hiring in my town, so I applied. I have an interview on Tuesday, so we’ll see what happens.
If I can get enough hours and do the things I want to do this will work out well. I know sacrifices will have to be made unfortunately. I did run out and get new headphones too, so I’ll give those a go. I went back to JVC, but bluetooth, the product line has worked well for me in the past, and hopefully these will continue that tradition. Still haven’t been paid for the extra contract I took on at the end of the school year, pretty angry about that. But I will remain patient.
I found myself re-examining my philosophy on freedom, and where it comes from. Because one of the people I was talking with on the club run had an extensive military history, and we ended up talking a little bit about that stuff. I keep returning to the same conclusion though. No matter what the government is, no matter what the rules are, you are only as free as you allow yourself to be. Yes, there may be consequences for your freedom, but that’s just the way it is. I don’t require a government to “protect” my freedoms, I only require my own courage. No government, military, piece of paper, nothing gives any human being freedom save their own willingness to face any consequences. Not that things should always have negative consequences.
That is a different argument though, what should and shouldn’t be allowed to be done without consequence. Governments shouldn’t be in the business of deciding who lives or dies, that’s for certain. Yet still, it’s up to the people to demand justice. Any government not deriving its power from the consent of the people is illegitimate. But who is to say who should be removed by force. If the people refuse to capitulate to the illegitimate government’s demands they will be forced to stop. The problem is too many people are too obedient. Why there aren’t mass protests shutting shit down everywhere at this point amazes me.
Look at all the political arguments across the globe, they’re all the same. How is it possible all governments in the world aren’t doing a damned thing to stop the problems causing so many people to flee their homes and look for safe haven elsewhere, yet at the same time refuse to let in “too many” refugees? How is that possible? How is it possible the economy runs off of exploiting workers all over the world, and yet all governments are refusing to protect their workers from being exploited? Some are working hard to destroy the safeguards won by generations past, others are setting up rules to ensure those safeguards can never be put in place.
So many people are complicit in this system, if they just were to stop force everything to grind to a halt, force their voices to be heard it would all end. Yes, some governments would respond with violence, some people would die. It wouldn’t be all sunshine and lollipops, but it would work. It needs to work. If you look through history it does work. In fact, it is the only thing which ever has. We think of the “Founding Fathers” (for all their major flaws) as “Americans” but they weren’t. They were British. They were citizens of the crown, it was an internal conflict. History is filled with peasant revolts, general strikes, specific strikes, slow-downs, demonstrations, this is how the people have forced the oligarchs to allow them freedom of whatever those people were fighting for. But it’s always followed by the oligarchs finding a way to keep control, either by proxy or directly.
You want to fight for freedom? Go on strike, organize with your coworkers, your neighbors, demand more. There’s no outside force trying to take anything from you, it is all internal. I know what people think, “but what about this country doing this, or that one doing that?” No oligarch anywhere could have ever done anything without the obedience, the capitulation of their population. If you cow the people into not resisting you, then you can do these things. Worse, if you get people to believe that acting externally and punishing other peoples can enrich their lives, you can commit some of the worst crimes humanity is aware of. Refuse to participate, militarily, economically, socially. I don’t watch reality shows, I don’t follow trends, I don’t give a crap about the latest “Rah Rah the world is awesome” music. I decide to fight, in my own small way, every day. Stop participating, stop allowing this to happen.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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We hold these truths

So yesterday was my running club’s annual 4th of July race, they decided to do it on the weekend, instead of the actual 4th as they traditionally did. We show up early and run the course as a club before, well some of us do. So I went and did that and had a great day catching up with as many friends as I could. Even met some new friends which was totally cool. Then I waited until the Sun was low in the sky before running today, and still struggled because the air quality was horrible. As tough as it is in Italy sometimes, it seems like my lungs burn much worse here.
So I’ve mentioned before I run by the Amistad Memorial when I run past City Hall in New Haven. People have been posting all their ‘Murica posts, and whatnot and as I passed by today it bothered me. I love that there was justice in New Haven on this particular case. But the whole thing should have never happened. I’ve talked about this in pieces before. The founders of this nation wrote a document we celebrate every July 4th and it claimed “all men are created equal”, and yet they owned slaves and claimed that those men weren’t equal. They didn’t treat women equal, and well generally if you weren’t rich and European and a man, you were screwed.
In one breath they’re talking about freedom and equality and on the other hand they codified slavery, the idea that those slaves weren’t people (3/5ths look it up). They weren’t interested in freedom or equality (ok, a very few of them did argue for abolition then but clearly not enough). They weren’t great minds, they weren’t “enlightened”, they were just shitty rich guys screwing over whomever they could. They didn’t want soldiers in their homes, fine. They wanted a say in legislation that effected them, whatever. They turned around and they kept other people as property. They made that part of the law, that you were allowed to keep other humans beings, buy, sell, trade, treat them as property.
All these years later, there’s never been a proper apology and there’s never been recompense to the descendants of those unjustly held. They were promised a payment, and it was never made. Then we have so many people running around saying that the descendants of slaves; who never had any inheritance, had their history, culture, and identities ripped from them, their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents had their husbands, wives, children ripped from them and sold off or worse, are somehow to blame for not having these things. After being “set free” they were still treated as less than. Driven away from the voting booths, denied education, basic services, jobs, any sense of equal treatment. Their lives were forfeit at the drop of a hat, just because of an accusation. Still to this day, when police and even citizens murder them in cold blood they merely have to say they “felt threatened” and they are let go.
At no point has this nation dealt with this. At no point, even after a war over slavery, have we ever rectified this situation. We continue on, and people that have benefited directly or indirectly from this system continue to profit and those who have been victimized continue to be victimized, and if you talk about it you’re “divisive”. No, I’m not. I’m trying to bring about real unity. Unity isn’t achieved through everyone ignoring the past and blaming the poor for being poor, and blaming the victims for being victims, and claiming “the past is the past”. Unity is found through accepting the damage that has been done and putting an end to injustice. Truly putting an end to it. That won’t happen until we literally destroy the system which created the past. If you keep the system, there will always be inequity, and the many will always force the few to suffer. They will justify it however they want, and that is true across the board.
So I’m not too much into celebrating, never really have been. It needs to end, it is evident with the idiot we have posing as a head of state right now. His video tweet this morning was another completely indecent display of jackassery. But it is a glimpse into the buffoonery which has weaved it way through the history of this country, and much of the world. This is what we have sewn. We should have thousands of statues and memorials around the country to all the slave revolts, all labor strikes, all the times the real people, the exploited, the hunted, the disenfranchised tried valiantly to fight back, to gain ground. We don’t, there are controversies over removing statues and monuments to the people who fought to oppress! We elect the people who want so badly to uphold the injustice to office, and cheer their speeches full of hate and bigotry.
So no, I’m not celebrating, sure I’ll go see my family and I’ll celebrate them. But this shit needs to change, and yesterday.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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