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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