Winding down

As I try and relax with my remaining days before I start my Summer travel, I’m getting a little lazy. I need to watch out for that, but it’s not as bad as last Summer. I also hurt less, even though my Achilles tendinitis is not getting better (fat chance of that happening as I keep running on it in shoes past their mileage!). Yes I know, totally my own fault. But, as stated, this actually doesn’t hurt as much as my hamstring did last Summer. So the kinesio tape I got isn’t the KT tape brand, and so far even though I have to cut individual lengths I am preferring it. It’s adhesion is superior to this point, and it supports just as well. The only drawback is having to cut each piece. But how lazy does one have to be to complain about that? But I have been lazy, and haven’t updated. I did run on Thursday. It was a pretty good run, far better than today where my chest hurt so much (skin, not anything internal) that I basically walked the last 5 miles.
So the UK Snap Election had interesting results. When May called the election she had a 20+ point lead in all polls. In just a few weeks’ time that lead evaporated. But even the polls just before election day were showing the Tories up 4-10 points. That UK polls almost always have a bias toward the Conservatives; that is to say they under-perform in polls, apparently British people are shy about saying they will vote for Tories, it looked like they would still walk with a comfortable majority. They were talking about a Labour blood-bath. Corbyn was “too Left” and not well supported by the party establishment. But he won, well he still lost, but he won. Labour shocked the world, and what looked to be a comfortable majority for the Tories turned into a major embarrassment for May and the Conservatives.
Young voters came out in unheard of numbers, 75% turnout, to support Labour really to support Corbyn. People want government that works for THEM. That is the point, supposedly, of government. But the Conservatives on all sides, think government is about what it was always about, keeping the people in power in power. Conservatives talk about helping “business”. What the fuck is “business”? Why does it get representation. We need it? Do we really need business? What is the virtue in making money for the sake of making money? I really have searched my entire life for someone to explain this to me. Money, a man-made thing, is not a goal. I think by and large this is what people understand without understanding it. That feeling so many have that “something is wrong”. They can’t put their finger on it. I think this is one of the main things. Money isn’t real, it doesn’t mean anything, and yet we’re trained to work our entire lives chasing it.
It may not be a conscious thought for everyone, but I think at the end of the day they understand we are not living a “natural” life. I see so many indications of this, people doing things like the “paleo” diet, and all this other “get back to nature” nonsense. (Yes, that’s all nonsense) They’re striving to bring themselves back to a natural-feeling mental state though. But they’re so trained that everything is external, that they look to diets, or where they go, what events they attend, etc. Then they take selfies to show the world how “earthy” they are or whatever. But that’s not it. We have to look inside, we have to find the mental state that is natural. We have to look to science to teach us how to be human again. We have to raise our children that way, and we have to destroy, not modify, not enhance, not repair, destroy the system which causes us this pain. This existential angst that we then enforce upon others we deem “less worthy” due to a myriad of factors, chief among them being their physical difference to us, followed in short order by what version of “God” they believe or don’t believe in.
It’s not normal and it’s not natural. Competition is not the human way. We are social animals, that is abundantly clear. Like all social animals we have our own way of doing things, but in general, with an abundance of resources, it would make sense that we would look to aide all. Yet we don’t, instead we create a shortage. We produce more than enough food for everyone in the world. We have more homes than we have people living in them. We have a surplus of everything. Yet we sit here and talk of deficit, we have homeless people, children starving in the streets, we have wars and famine, and we talk about bad choices people make. It’s not those who are suffering who have made bad choices. It is those among us who have made us believe we have some sort of resource deficit and that those who are suffering deserve their suffering. I think even people who subscribe to this idea, know deep down there is something wrong with it. I believe that fuels their shittiness toward the less fortunate. Like if they can be cruel enough it will wash away the guilt. I’m not sure, I’m not a psychiatrist. But there is a deficit, a moral deficit in that we believe that somehow Syrian children deserve what they are living through. That somehow African people deserve to work in Cobalt mines as slaves just so we can take a few dollars off the latest iPhone.
That is the reality of the world right now. So many believe there aren’t enough resources to go around, and those who have said resources are worthy due to their “Fill in the Blank”. In reality, there is more than enough for all, and in the drive to create even more we willingly destroy the only place we can call home. In the same instance, we blame those who suffer due to our false deficit and insist they are to blame for their own suffering. I think people get this on some level, even if they don’t realize it. I think if we move our politics in this direction, toward rectifying this situation, toward destroying this system, and helping ALL people, destroying racism, sexism, bigotry, religious hatred, etc., not only will more people vote, but a kinder, more natural humanity will come together, and maybe we can actually fix things before we are all doomed.

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


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Apparently, it was global running day

Everything has a day, I got the stupid badge from Strava, because it’s a mindless thing to do now. It was a pretty fast run, as I wanted to get back and wash up and make a simple dinner. Less bugs last night, because it was drier so that kept the little bastards at bay. It’s been so hot and I’ve been sweating so much though, than basically my entire chest is chafing now. It was a bit painful. Today I’m just going to Body Glide the crap out of myself and hope that works.
Also, I was hoping my KT tape would survive the 3 days it’s supposed to, but alas, it was too hot and again, way too sweaty. So I had to buy a new roll this morning. There’s no way I can get through all the miles I want to without it, until I get back to the US and get new shoes. Irresponsible of me? Damned right! So between my train ride into Bari and the bus ride to the place I need to work this morning, I searched the shops for KT Tape. First, I went into a “sporting goods” store. Which is no more than sports apparel around here. They told me to try the Sanitaria, the Sanitaria told me to try the Farmacia. The Farmacia has it, but €16 a roll! That’s outrageous. However, as I said, I need it right now. Oh well, that’s that at least I can tape myself up and run tonight, and it should stick better because it’s not all old and stuff. That was the problem with the last rolls, they were pretty old and I guess the glue degraded.
The weird thing was the lady behind the counter asked if I wanted blue. They only had blue or pink it seemed. She gave me blue, but I told her it didn’t matter. It doesn’t fucking matter what color the kinesiology tape it. It is there to keep me from tearing a tendon or muscle, so what if it were pink? So much of this world is so silly now. In retrospect I should have insisted on the pink, just to make a point. But I was in a rush to make the bus by that point, so practicality dictated the situation.
The good news is, when I finish up this afternoon I don’t have anything until Monday morning but cleaning, packing, and the beach. More cleaning and packing than I’d like. But I’m starting to put a plan in motion to not return to the US after this Summer. Honestly, the airfare between here and JFK isn’t totally exorbitant, even if the return flight is a little inconvenient. With me living here, so I have space for people to stay, it really is not that burdensome, and food is cheap. So there’s no reason for me to have to cram my ass into a fart tube every few months, when people can easily come visit me. Of course, with my friends and family’s track record of visiting me, I still doubt it will happen but I insist on trying. For the first time in a while I’m feeling real anxiety. I don’t want to go back. At this point, even if Donnie Dirtbag is dragged out of the White House in chains, the stain on the nation is too great.
Ever since 1861, the US has been fighting a Civil War. I know we say it ended, but it’s the same battles always. The ended reconstruction by killing Lincoln, they instituted apartheid to keep their former slaves living in slave-like conditions anyway. After that system was broken, they started undercutting the North to take as many jobs as possible. By slashing taxes, busting unions to make cheap labor forces, this is all to try and damage the North, to hurt the people, to pay them back for “ruining” their economy. Their economy based on the idea that some people were property. This is the problem. Trump is the symptom, he needs to be removed, but overall the disease has to be cured.
General Sherman’s greatest fear was that the people of the South would not learn their lesson, they did not. There is no humility, no shame in them. How can you not be ashamed of yourself when you actively seek to hurt other people? How can you not feel sorry when you have spent your life trying to harm others, in a selfish grab for more for yourself. Anyone who thinks they deserve more than another human being should feel shame. It hurts me so much to see what is happening, and how the whole top tier of the government hasn’t been slapped in irons yet is beyond me. It is absolutely disgusting.

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


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Tuesday Ten K

I went through my day, after my alarm didn’t go off and I woke up just in time to get a shower, eat, make lunch and make the train. Only two classes a day, for four days this week, and then next week I only have one class on 2 days and then back to the US for the Summer. I’m a couple miles behind where I should be for June (already) so I took an extra mile tonight. What is the deal with bugs? When you’re in your home and a fly comes in and is bothering you, it’s impossible to swat them. When you’re out running, you’re like a bug vacuum. It’s like they all get depressed and decide to suicide run you. Flies really annoy me, but I feel lucky they weren’t mosquitoes.
So today I’ve been troubled by so many of my Facebook friends posting things about “beach bodies”. I realized, I think I always knew, but the idea hit me that this is a completely wrong way to think about it. People start about New Years talking about how this year will be different and they’ll be “ready” when beach weather comes. But people need to trash this idea. First off, just be happy with what you are happy with, you don’t need to conform to anyone else’s idea of what beauty is. But, if you really do want to be, whatever body style you want, then you can’t look at it as a “beach body”. You have to turn that into your everyday lifestyle. You can’t ebb and flow, you have to stay consistent, it’s the only way to get there. If six-pack abs, or a size whatever are going to make you comfortable and happy with yourself, then you have to figure out how to change your lifestyle, your diet, your workout regime to fit that. It’s a shift of consciousness.
This is why I keep my vanity out of my running, and I generally keep it out of my life. Sometimes I get bothered by the fact I don’t have chiseled abs, etc. But the fact is that I am much healthier than I was, I’ve come an amazingly long way, and I am generally happy with myself. I understand that most of the way I see myself in the mirror is shaped by years upon years of absolutely hating myself. I did, I hated myself. All the comments, all the bullshit I put up as an adolescent from my “peers” about how I looked or what I thought or all of that shit (trust me, I remember shit, there were some people who were really mean) got to me. I thought there was something really wrong with me. I still have times where people get to me a little bit. There’s actually something that bothers me that I have no one to talk to about, I completely understand even for me who way overshares, it’s TMI. Overall, I’m happy and the rest of it, if someone has a problem with it, that’s their problem, not mine. I work very hard and have been for years, and come from the literal brink of death, to having a couple very respectable marathon times, and several respectable times in other distances, including a 2nd place age group finish in a 5k.
So if you want to look like a magazine insert at the beach or whatever, then go for it. But you can’t think of it as something just for a certain time of year, it has to become a lifestyle for you. If you think of it as a “beach body” you will fail. Maybe one Summer you’ll get there, but the rest of the time you will disappoint yourself. You have to go without, you can’t cheat, there’s no magic bullet here. The world is filled with things which claim to be a magic fix, but they’re just snake-oil. Even the stuff that may really work requires sacrifice, it requires dedication. Exercise and diet, they have worked for ages.
So you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do that or not. If you’re not there’s no shame in it. There’s nothing wrong with you the way you are. If you are healthy, you are healthy, be happy with that. If you are not healthy, then aspire for health, not for vanity. Notice I don’t say beauty, I say vanity. They are different things. Don’t be vain. If you are, you can’t be beautiful. So be healthy, be happy, be yourself, and people will be drawn to that positive outlook.
That’s what we need to do, work to be healthy and happy, and keep the #PMA . You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health!

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


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Sunday Runday

OK, doing well. Glad I woke up early enough to get down to Bari and get into the Castle for free, because they’re doing lots of work to the castle and only the inner courtyard and three rooms of the keep are open to the public. Which is totally weak. Two of the halls are used as art exhibits and one is, not even full of artifacts, but plaster casts of artifacts from the major churches and buildings around Puglia. So that wasn’t impressive, but the Cathedrals (which all this time I hadn’t visited) were fantastic. Plus I can say I went to church today, even though I just went and took pictures during Mass. Ha! In all seriousness though, and don’t worry, I don’t use a flash. But now I have even more pictures to sort through. I took over 300 yesterday, and I haven’t downloaded what I did today yet.
So I got back, had some lunch, then decided to go for a run. I am a little behind my “schedule” for the month already, so I decided to just do a half, and if I was feeling good enough, I’d go for 15 and catch up. But that did not happen. If I had waited about an hour or so, it probably would have been better, but the Sun was so strong. I didn’t know I could sweat that much, I truly mean that, I’m not exaggerating. I sweated through Body Glide and almost sweated off my Band-Aids. I’m a little raw right now. Given the situation, and that I took my singlet off at about 7.5 miles (12km), I’m ok with my time. Right around 10 minute miles with a fair amount of walking. So what went through my head today, you may ask. Oh boy…
I worried about my friends in London. Most of them are not really “going out” types, but still. I was also enraged by Orange Shitlord’s response to immediately call for his “Travel Ban” again. Again, also enraged by the fact that when it’s a European country, when it’s a “Western” country we immediately get on the pity wagon, and send our “thoughts and prayers” (like that’s working). Yet when it’s not a Western country, we completely don’t care. They’re having massive problems in Indonesia and The Philippines, we hear almost nothing about it. There was no outpouring of support for Kabul. I also never hear any talk about how the Bush Administration would tout their strategy of destabilizing the region to bring about democratic revolts. I totally remember them saying that.
As I said, we don’t care when it happens “to them”, and that’s horrible. I care, I don’t know anyone in Afghanistan, I don’t know anyone in Syria, nor Iraq (directly), nor anywhere else, but I care. I want it all to stop. I don’t have answers, I know just stopping interference won’t end things. We created this. We intentionally sought out these dictators, propped up these regimes which visit this violence on the world. The US, the UK, Russia/Soviet Union, Europe, we all did this. In the 60s, almost the whole Middle East was as diverse and “advanced” as any Western country, then we started installing dictators and regimes we wanted. They did exactly what we have been doing in the US, poor quality education, leaving people vulnerable to “snake-oil salesmen” and the like, con-men basically. We have created this, to what end? To keep oil prices low. It’s pretty much disgusting.
On that note, let’s pivot to Bill Maher. When he first started coming around, I admit, I found him funny. Then he started getting TV shows, and I realized what an asshole he is. People call him a “liberal” and many times he takes liberal stances. But in general, he’s just a stupid asshole. Well, he really hit it out of the park the other day by using the full-on “n-word.” Look, it’s never ok. Full on never ok. There’s no such thing as a “pass” on this one. There’s no such thing as context here. It is a word that has been used by Europeans and people of European descent for centuries to oppress Africans and people of African descent, knock it the fuck off. This isn’t a free speech issue. Insofar as, nobody should accept or tolerate this. But here’s the amazing thing, it will totally be tolerated.
Let’s put this in perspective, man is harassing two hijabi women on mass transit in Portland stabs 3 people killing 2, and Trumpster Fire and the GOP are silent. Last night in London, before anyone really knew anything, Orange Twitler was already tweeting about how we need his travel ban back. Kathy Griffin holds the bloody effigy head of Trump up in a photograph and they lose their damned minds. Even after 8 years of effigies of President Obama being hung, burned, abused, likened to apes, etc. Tad Nougat claiming her personally would murder President Obama, and Shitlord invites that no-talent shitbag to the Oval Office. CNN immediately fires Griffin from their New Year’s Eve coverage. But Bill Maher, nothing will happen to him. Why? We can’t even agree that #Blacklivesmatter , I seriously doubt enough people even think #Blackfeelingsmatter . But it’s not just the GOP not caring on this one, it’s the entire White Establishment. Sure, most of the Democrats will get behind and say supportive things about #BLM but in the end it’s just lip service. One of the big reasons Hillary had trouble and ended up losing, is because of a speech she gave ages ago in which she called adolescent gang members “superpredators, who need to be made to heel.” Now, while she never directly says that African-Americans are the gang members, the implication made by Priebus and Trump was enough. Not properly addressing this issue turned down so many people. It’s like nobody considered that, even though the GOP attack line wasn’t true, that they were the ones who equated “gang members” to “African-Americans”, it required attention, clarification, and apology to anyone who may have been offended by this.
Most politicians don’t care about anyone, but they particularly don’t care about African-Americans. But that’s par for the course for most of the world and anyone from, whether recently or historically, Africa. So many Africans here are shocked when I ask them where they are from and can talk to them about their home, or even know where their country is on a map. Not just Americans, Europeans are completely ignorant about this. The point being, we don’t seem to care at all, and so Bill will keep his job and it will be business as usual, even though he needs to knock off his shit. But more than that, we all have to start being decent human beings to each other. Which was my final thought on my run. I want to learn to say “hello” in as many languages as possible. Just one word, but surely it is the most important word. To greet someone, I think, is the most important thing.

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


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The “neo” problem

So I woke up super early, put 5 miles in and got my shit together to catch the 8am train to Lecce. With so much free time I’m exploring a little. Lecce has some wonderful ruins and also many lovely Baroque buildings, and you know me, I love a good architecture/art pun. Really any pun.
So the other day someone accused me of being an “arrogant asshole” and not positive, because I accept the climate reality and think people who prioritize economy over environment are foolish. I suppose there is a certain amount of negativity built into the idea that we may have already crossed the point-of-no-return, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. But it means we don’t have time to mess around with this stuff anymore. As every models’ prediction on the effects of climate change are off on the orders of years, if not decades, meaning things are moving much faster than we thought they would, really shows we don’t have time for this bullshit.
That’s not negative, that’s saying that we need to move forward now. We can’t ease into this one. I’ve said before, if we can’t fix it now, the same technologies help us move off-road for as long as we have to for our survival. This is the responsibility of all humans.
But we keep most people in the dark, and why, corporate profit. I get why people want to believe in conspiracy, wide-spread conspiracy, the bilderbergs and a that mess, they need to believe there are some misanthropic puppet-masters, but in reality profit is sufficiently evil in itself, and requires no “pentaverate” (reference So I Married an American Murderer).
Let’s look at this morning, where I saw a friend post a story from an non-reputable source (brightfart) about insurance company Aetna, leaving my home-state of Connecticut. Of course the “news” site is blaming the Governor (who has already announced he’s not running for re-election) and claiming he “begged” them to stay. Here’s the problem, corporate tax rates are relatively low everywhere. Non-union states have been undercutting union states for years, companies have been gladly making the move to lower wages. It’s not about taxes. They are all making record profits, CEOs make orders of magnitude more than workers, the stock markets are at record highs, investors get their dividends. Don’t give me horseshit about needing more profit. So, as companies staying in the US have been working to lower wages and increase the burdens on those same people they undercut, and encourage to not stand together in a union, they get these free trade deals.
Free trade allows companies to exploit areas with even lower wage workers and move production to areas with very vulnerable people to maximize profits and lower wages even more. The host country can’t raise taxes to aide the workers who are being exploited, and the import country can’t raise taxes to send foreign aide to help, nor can they raise taxes to help those unemployed by the business moving.
We were sold free trade as a way to raise up the downtrodden in areas on the fringes. They would make more money and demand would be made for high tech widgets, that the better educated, better equipped country could provide in return and everyone wins. Sounds like a great plan in theory, but in practice it does not work. Robert Reich used to buy this line about free trade, and he has since awakened from that dream.
The fact is the businesses just do what they always do, exploit the lowest cost labor pool, maximize profits, and screw everyone else. The Gettys or the Rothschilds aren’t sitting there calling CEOs and sinisterly wringing their hands, this is just profit. This is what the system tells us is the greatest good. But it’s inherently evil. When you then throw in the racism which built the for-profit system, you have the same people who have always been exploited, still getting exploited, and the newer people being exploited believing that those far worse off than they are, are to blame for their plight and do not deserve any better.
How do we break this grip? Why did free trade fail so miserably? It can’t just be racism and profit? Well, it kind of is. But it’s not. The racism did have a major part to play. See, while the borders were opened up for companies to freely cross as they pleased, people still are not (save in Europe, which while there are problems, they’re not nearly as severe as elsewhere). By opening up the borders for production, but not for people, we doomed globalization to failure. Sure, if you’re an amazing doctor, or are doing cutting edge research, getting papers to work in a country where you can live comfortably is easy. But New Balance isn’t going out of its way to bring over the best shoe assemblers from their Chinese factories into the US. Nabisco doesn’t have research grants for their cookie sorters. But if you’re going to pick lettuce or clean hotel rooms, you can “cross” the border, we won’t give you status but we need exploitable workers, and we’ll make sure you never get status, by exploiting racist fears across our nations.
What this achieves is that people cannot leave their areas, people can’t move I search of a better situation, they can’t go to where the best paying jobs are, even though companies can move around to maximize their profits. How is this right, how is this fair? How is this “free trade”? It’s not. It’s corporate colonialism, globalism for companies, another handout to businesses as they are prioritized over actual people.
It’s not some widespread conspiracy, it’s lazy people using the simplest approach. Why, to achieve profits. These magical things that somehow make it all justified. That somehow while their great-grandchildren are gasping for air, they won’t curse our time for doing nothing while the world burned. That somehow money will feed their offspring when plants no longer fruit and water is unpotable. But I doubt these “captains of industry” even think that far ahead. As I’ve said, I don’t think they even see past their own lifetime. Passing the buck down to the next generation, like we’ve always done.
We say that for everything that seems uncomfortable, don’t we? “oh, we can do that later,” or “let the next generation take care of it.” We can’t pass it down any further. We must take responsibility for our past and put an end to the practices which threaten our very survival. It’s a gigantic task, and it will necessarily be uncomfortable and difficult.
It amazes me in a world where so many people pride themselves on their strength and health and all the things which make on “alpha” as soon as you start talking about real substantive changes, which will cause real difficultly for those so comfortable in their lives, they immediately start defending themselves against such discomforts, and look for excuses why someone else should live in pain while they have their venti lattes.
You want to show how tough you are? How strong you are? Stand up now and draw a line, say this is it today is the day I start demanding we fix this world. And keep fighting until we fix it, or we die trying.

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


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Something about evening runs

So I’m technically done with work, but I’m still doing some classes here and there “out of contract”, even though I am signed on for next year too. So I finished work at 5pm, headed to the train station, which the Trenitalia website said the train left at 5:15 (no way I could make it from where I worked to the station in 15 minutes, even with a co-worker driving me). But it turns out the train was scheduled for 5:35, lucky me! So I got back to the apartment, started making sauce for tonight, since I’m out. Ran to the bakery around the corner to get bread, because I’m out. Then put the sauce on to simmer and went for my run. I was flying, I ended up doing the same course I ran on Tuesday, and I destroyed my fastest time. I was amazed at the ease I felt in the run. No pain, and I even was slowed down by a bug bite. Something got me pretty well. It was more painful, and after the run had a larger bump, than a mosquito bite, but way less painful (and less deadly for me) than a bee sting. No idea what it was, as I have not seen any other biting/stinging insects around here, I will have to look into it.
Tomorrow the plan is Sun and sea! I have a little bit of shopping to do, I should be out of wine, running low on pasta, chocolate, need some mushrooms and veggies. I get to really relax. I even started writing my final exam for my course which ends next week. It has been fun and a little challenging, which is good. It has exposed me to a new part of the city for me too, not that exciting or historic part of the city, but still. Saturday the plan right now is Lecce, see the sites there, take lots of pictures. It may change depending, we shall see. Then Sunday it’s all Castello Svevo in Bari! Free museum Sunday in Italy. The first Sunday of the month, all State museums are free admission. I’ve seen the castles in Barletta, and obviously Trani (I live 1/4 mile from it), but I haven’t visited the main one in Bari. I’ve never even explored the Bari Centro Storico (Central Historic District). I do have to work on Monday, but it’s not a big deal, only one class. So I’m not too concerned.
I have to start worrying about packing up and getting ready for my Summer. Again, something I’ll worry about later. When I was running this evening, as I got to the top of the fort, there was a couple taking a selfie with the cathedral in the background. I’ve talked about selfies before, but I don’t understand why people must put themselves in these pictures. I’m not judging people’s relationships or anything, but if it’s meant to last, I don’t see the purpose of taking a picture together constantly. It might be my bias, in that I remember things pretty well all the time. Maybe people forget more than I do and the pictures really help them remember. But I think we should be able to remember the time just by looking at the amazing thing we went to see, without having our faces in it. It’s like good horror films, where you don’t see the scary thing until the critical moment, the anticipation is supposed to make it better. Why aren’t we like that with our pictures anymore? I don’t add anything to the Statue of David, or the Veiled Christ, or the Cathedral of Saint Nicolas the Pilgrim in Trani.
We can appreciate things, we can participate in things, we can be great and have amazing experiences without making them about us. It goes back to humility, like I was saying the other day. We need to appreciate things outside of ourselves, appreciate things on their own timeline, not the arbitrary and terse timeline we all live on. Once we start thinking of ourselves as part of a Global community, as part of a whole, instead of the center, then we can really start to tackle the problems which face us. The fact is, we are facing the single greatest threat humanity will likely know for many, many centuries to come (assuming we survive). I cannot stress this enough, we are in the biggest existential threat humanity has ever seen. The science is not only sound, but it is definitive. We are causing this, and we can fix it (maybe not in time). But, luckily the technologies that will fix this, will also give us the ability to hopefully move off-world if it comes to that.
This is an all-hands situation though. As I write this tonight, the Orange Bag of Garbage has announced his intention to withdraw the US from the best start humanity could muster at really tackling this EXISTENTIAL THREAT. I really can’t stress this enough. Our existence is at stake.
I get that sometimes I can be a bit pedantic about things. But it needs to be made clear that it is an important point, and that there is no alternative there. Anything you hear about the science not being sound is bullshit, like the cigarette companies did for years about smoking causing lung cancer. We’ve known since the 40s what has been happening here. Not the 60s or 70s or 80s like people believe, the 40s. I am now going to pen a missive to my EU and Italian representatives and ask them to avoid business dealings with any US company not sticking to the agreement, and to officially sanction the United States Administration for this action. What else can I do, my US representatives are going to fight this. But until Dumpster Fire Supreme understands people aren’t going to put up with this, he’ll keep going.
I have to use the original too much, so I’ll use a great cover:

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


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May I say this one thing?

May is done (I made a pun there with the title, did you see that?). My tendinitis is a dull ache in the background, so I’m not overly concerned, it is manageable to this point. I did run yesterday, and didn’t have time to write. It was my last long Tuesday of the school year. This morning I took off to round out my month at 150 miles (250km). It’s hot, and I took it easy. Tomorrow, I get home so early from work (relatively) that I will put my 5 in in the afternoon. Plus, I don’t work Friday! Beach time!
Sometimes I am aggressive, in-your-face, difficult, stubborn. But I always accept I might be wrong, I take constructive criticisms and examine my ideas, points of view, thoughts, opinions constantly. I feel like a day where I didn’t learn something is a waste. I don’t care if I made lots of money, or or whatever, if I didn’t learn anything it was a wasted day. I can always be better, I can always improve, I can always learn.
I think people call it humility, but I think that’s just the natural way to be. Like the Folk Song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy”. The lieutenant wants them to cross the river a little further down than where he had cross it previously. The Sergeant says, no I think that’s a bad idea. LT orders them and goes to lead them across, he ends up drowning, Sgt takes over, tells everyone to turn around. Recovers the body and finds a new way back to the base.
The moral here is that being what we call an “alpha male”, being sure of yourself and always “knowing” what is “best” is not good survival instinct. Being cautious, knowing you may not have the best ideas, knowing you need to be better every day, knowing you always have room to improve is good survival instinct. Our modern society has turned these roles into opposite of reality. We’re told we should desire confidence, we should reward these people who stride around with “all the answers.” That the goal in life is to get it all “figured out” and then work in that field for your life amassing wealth. We want our economy to grow, amass wealth, spend wealth, grow economy. But in this philosophy we don’t actually take into account human growth. Sure, people learn to brew their own beer or make wine, or whatever, but they still leave most of the big questions of our time up to “someone or something else”. Even those tasks we train ourselves in as virtuous “hobbies” don’t compel us to think, to grow in the only way adult humans can grow.
You’re still not encouraged to be humble, you’re encouraged to master your task. I’m never going to be a spectacular runner. I’m never going to do anything completely amazing and have a cover story in Runner’s World or anything. But that’s not my goal anyway. I’m there to stay as fit as possible and push myself to be better every day, not the best.
I don’t even want to be the best thinker, I just want to improve my ideas and try and convey them to others the best I can, and maybe help affect change. Because I see the dangers we face, and even though history shows me humanity isn’t much worth saving I am guided by a Roddenberry-esque hope for a better future where humanity realizes its true potential. We are close now, if we survive, to bringing ourselves to a Kardashev Type-1 civilization. The technologies are starting to come together. If we manage to get our shit together we may be headed there in the next century. I know everything won’t change overnight, but I just want to see some sort of sign that shows we are changing for the positive. All I’ve seen are the same relative percentages of people still holding the same views, still fighting the same fights. I see much of the “progress” we’ve made to be nothing more than window dressing. We still have massive inequalities that threaten the very fabric of being. We still pollute and destroy the environment like it had no effect at all. All of this is done in the name of resource hoarding and inheritance. There is nothing to inherit on a dead planet.
Sometimes I find myself hoping for an event that will force our hand, make us abandon the old ways and work for something new. When everything happened the way it did, I was hoping Trump would be so terrible that it would force shame and humility onto the people who perpetuate these ideas of capitalist purity. But it has only exposed the fact that they lack all shame and compassion. That they buy into the system so well, they have reached the point where I have to start questioning if they have any humanity left. I do not go down the slippery-slope of them believing death for these people is justified, because I do not view them as human. No, in fact, I believe they should be forced to live on and see what we can truly accomplish without their bullshit, that perhaps they can learn the error of their ways. I may just be a dreamer in that, but it is truly how I feel.
I’m going to just keep trying to be a better me every day, and encourage others to be a better them, and hope it comes together before it’s too late. If not, then we’re all screwed. But there’s nothing more I can do. When people are participating in heinous fuckery, I will call them out. I will not be ashamed to call a fascist a fascist, or a racist a racist. I will shit on people for waving Confederate (traitor) flags, and saying hateful (even if unintentional) things. If my friends see me say something, they are free to return the favor to me. Because objectively, some people are wrong. Nazis are always wrong, racists are always wrong. There’s no reason for this shit. It’s part of the system that is holding us all back.

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


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It was one HOT Sunday

Very rarely do I put on sunscreen (suncream for any of my students who may be reading) for a training run. Marathons, Ultras, yeah, definitely need to protect my skin, if I’m out for 4-5-6 hours in the Sun, there is a chance I will burn. But when I initially left for the run, I realized how strong the Sun was today, went back upstairs and threw on some I don’t know, think it’s Coppertone Sport SPF 30, it’s like 4 years old. As I said, I barely ever have to use it. I actually got it for free at a race. So I threw it on any exposed upper body skin (including the ears, why do people forget their ears?) and I’m glad I did. When I got back to the apartment, I looked like I was still wearing my Gulf Beach Half Marathon Singlet, but no burn. So it was a pretty good run, but between the miles yesterday, the ankle injury, and the heat, I bonked for a bit, still managed to finish well though. Bringing my water bottle was also a very good idea.
So when I got back, I got a few chores done and then headed to the sea. I laid out for a bit to try and even out. Because, as I stated, my runner’s tan looked ridiculous, even though it didn’t at the start of today. I did put my legs in for a bit, but my ankle is precluding me from swimming. I tried to kick, and it was worse than running. The funny thing is, it really only hurts first thing in the morning, and then it’s mostly fine all day. Trying to kick though, that was too much. That and the salt water caused a little pain with some chafing. It happens.
So back in the States it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and all my friends are posting “Home of the Free, because of the Brave” memes. Whether I agree with the supposed justifications for wars (which I clearly do not), people have died under the impression they were sacrificing themselves for the greater good. My heart always aches for them and their families, regardless of my “opinion” of the justifications for war. However, we never do this on Labor Day, and mark the sacrifices of so many men, women, and YES children, who have been offered up on the altar of Capitalism. From the National Guard opening fire on striking worker camps, to private forces fighting striking workers, we never mention this part of our history. These are people directly fighting to express their self-inherent freedoms, and forced to do so against the very forces who supposedly go out and fight for our freedoms “over there”. Or worse, against the “businessmen” who make our freedoms “possible” through Capitalism. I’m sorry, but something doesn’t add up here.
But let’s be completely honest, we’ve never really been the “Land of the free”, we’re the Land of the kind of free, but not really. How do I know this? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” written by a bunch of men who owned other human beings. At the end of their rebellion, would they free these slaves as equal humans, deserving of rights? NO! Those slaves were held in bondage, and more were brought in, children were ripped from parents, husbands and wives torn from each other for another 80+ years. Their descendants were subject to one of the worst apartheid States the World has ever seen, and to this day, the further descendants are subject to conditions where the police see them as a threat just because of their skin color. A large portion of the media ask questions that they never ask of any other people like “where are the parents?” and 240+ years later so many people are still policed based on what they look like, who their parents were, what version of god they worship (or any god at all), who they love, etc.
You know who fought for freedom? People like Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser,  Gaspar Yanga (I know it’s Mexico, I care not), Sengbe Pieh, and so many others. They literally fought, or tried to fight, for their freedom. While there is a monument to the Amistad in my hometown of New Haven, CT, most of the time, we don’t have statues of these figures. These giants of history, who truly fought to be free, in a land that told them they were not. In a land that treated them and their descendants as property. Let’s be honest, at least about this much. We want to talk about fighting for freedom, we have to acknowledge the reality of our history.
Freedom is self-inherent, and can only be limited by violence. Even as far as that goes, you can only limit freedom when you’re watching the other party. Who do we watch now? Still minorities, as I stated above. Either ethnic minorities, or religious minorities, or any other minority we can sell to the public as the reason for their suffering. We even sell them themselves, as economic burdens, it’s amazing how people will vote against their own self-interest. I keep seeing stories of Trump voters crying foul now that some program they are dependent on is about to get slashed. I hold no sympathy for these people, as I doubt they will learn their lesson. Just as Sherman was sure that the South would not learn the lesson he taught them. As clearly they did not.
The point being, until we come to terms with the true history of this world. The history of colonialism, slavery, oppression, we will not progress. Given that we are near a tipping point which may see the extinction of most life on this planet, and possibly all life (highly unlikely, bacteria are amazingly resilient, as are tardigrades), it may behoove us to really pull our shit together here. That requires a reckoning with our past. That means tearing down the system built on the many different levels of oppression we’ve created, leveling everything, and putting something in place that works for all people, that lifts all life up and protects all. If we just keep worshiping armies and wars, and calling it “patriotism” and “freedom” we are doomed.

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


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That’s it for Saturdays, for now

I got my last Saturday classes in for this school year. I got a little emotional when I was talking to the group getting ready to take the PET exam. I am really proud of how much work all of my students have put in this year. They all deserve to pass, and they should, but I wanted to let them know that if they have a bad day it’s ok. But it’s good that I get worried and that I get a little emotional about this. If I wasn’t invested in these students succeeding I wouldn’t be a good teacher. You can’t just worry about them passing because it looks good for you. Teaching is not about you, it’s about your students learning.
Then I headed home, I ran 10 miles and had a pretty damned good afternoon. It was hot and sunny but I kept a really nice pace the whole run. It was a strong wind coming off the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim that thwarted me in the end. If not for that, this would have been my fastest time on this “course”. But I really do need to work on my core strength if I want to make this new running posture stick, because TBH it’s hurting my back a bit. I am sure I’ve mentioned previously, I am a sloucher. I’ve always hated it, the fact that I have horrible posture. But considering all the other things that were wrong with me, which I have since fixed, it was always low on the priorities list. I think I need to fix it now.
I had that discussion again today. People like to break my stones sometimes, but the fact is; while I don’t do any of this for vanity, I spent a very long time in my life not liking how I looked. I still see a fat kid with little noodle arms every time I look in the mirror. I’m still not convinced of my overall fitness, because of this. I try very hard to mitigate it all. I understand the psychological force that is advertising and how it beats us down, but I am not totally immune. I do refuse to let it be about vanity though, I know if I get a stronger core, and stop having so much of an “endurance runner” body, it will make my running easier, faster. That is what I really want, I want to be faster, I want to break 3:30 in a marathon, then 3:20, I want to keep being faster. Even though I will never be anywhere near the elites, I know there’s more in me.
Just like my mind, where I have stated before, I know I am even smarter than I understand I am right now. I know there is more capacity there, yet I hold back. I am too complacent to play the fool, and smile and nod along most of the time. It’s hard to believe the way I pour my heart and mind out on this page, but I still hold back. I feel like I hold back, like I have more to give. The worst part of that is, I don’t know what I’m looking for to let it come through.
That is to say, I know I have so much more in me to radiate out, and yet I lack the motivation, or discipline, to unleash it. I often wonder if I’m afraid, or if I’m too demanding of myself. That is to say, do I feel like if I fail, I will be too scared to venture on. Failure, in the past, was always a big setback for me. I think that is why I worry so much for my exam candidate students. I don’t want them to lose heart. You can’t always be happy, this is true, and you must always strive to be the best you possible. But sometimes it can be overwhelming and that’s ok. I keep reminding myself I am doing the best I can to be a better me every day, and that I want to keep saying, “I can” and avoid the “I can’ts”. But while I’ve fixed most of the physical damage I did to myself through my 20s and early 30s, the psychological damage of many more years remains.
I have always believed most of the stuff I believe today, but my ideas behind it, my thoughts on how the issue is created, and why have changed. I’ve never agreed with a war, even though if certain situations had met my conditions I would have supported the action. I’ve never agreed with the idea that our lives are meant to accrue some imaginary value put on fabric. I used to think the system was generally good, ambivalent even, and it was just wicked people bending it to their lustful desires. But I have learned the system is itself, inherently evil and cannot be fixed from within. That the wicked people’s lustful wants are exacerbating an already troubled situation. I used to think Einstein missed something and time travel was possible, but I realized that it would be impossible to rearrange the sub-atomic particles in such a way in which the past could reform itself, let alone you could travel to it and affect change. Moreover, it would be impossible to travel to the future, without destroying the present. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine a way around quantum mechanics.
I understand, in all this, I may be wrong. But chances are I am not. Because I always try to go with the best idea I can figure out. I am always willing to listen to other sources and other people, and change my ideas based on the facts. I realized that war always benefits only the wealthy, and it equally benefits the wealthy on all sides. That I realized by studying history. I realized the system itself was corrupt when I realized the thinking behind it, the philosophy and science of the “Enlightenment” was mostly flawed (there are a few things that have stood the test of time, but most of it is shit). That people aren’t evil and self-serving by nature, but those are ideas that are drilled into us, conditioned over generations. That we have learned through brain imaging technology that all animals learn, early on, through the same process of empathetic distress. So we are not greedy, selfish beings looking to accrue wealth, but we are empathetic beings, looking to discover what it means to be the Universe. Also, I realized that once a quantum state is observed, whether on a micro or macro scale, then it is measured, and it can’t go back to being in a state of flux. As much as I love Dr. Who, the fact is, it’s all fixed points and there is nothing that can be done about it. You can only move forward accepting what was done in the past, and fixing what you can. Yes, that is me making a case for reparations, oh no, I’m sure I pissed someone off now. But yes, if the society is set up on the backs of people’s labor and they were never compensated for that labor, then they were never able to pass any of the foothold of that system’s “payment” onto their offspring, and the effect snowballs, so yes, reparations are in order.
I have to do the same, move forward with what I have and just do my best every day. Keep the #PMA and try to improve. Try to be a better person to myself and all my brothers and sisters. Maybe one day I will be able to settle in and be comfortable enough with someone to pass on everything to another generation. I’d like that, to have kids. I’m still in no rush, but I have to say coming up on a round number in our non-universal, our egocentric/solarcentric time keeping system it is starting to eat at me. But I also know I can’t just rush into things here, that it is too important. Sounds silly, but it really is, if our job is to explore the Universe and figure it out, then it is up to us to raise the best children we can, because this is a generational issue. There will never be a time when we “figure it all out”, so each generation must ensure that the succeeding generation will carry on and improve the work. I think our parents screwed that up, bigtime. And they still blame us. It started with Gen-Xers being told they were shit, and now it’s only Millenials. I like being at the end of Gen-X and start of Millenials, I think it gives me a unique view into this. To see how full of shit so many people are about this. But yeah, I think the Boomers screwed up pretty big. They’re still at it is the worst part. But soon their time will be over and maybe we can right this ship.

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


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It rained (and hailed) on my parade

Seriously, and it was those little tiny hail stones in high winds. So I started walking so I could put my head down and cover my face. It was like having needles shot at your face! But I persevered and actually had a decent run apart from that. Ankle feels pretty good, still a little stiff and sore, but not nearly as bad as it was. I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow though, the wind, rain, and hail sort of had me toss my new form to the, well, wind.
By the time I headed for work, the rain had mostly subsided, and as I write this afternoon it’s actually starting to clear up a bit. Which is good, because I’m standing at an uncovered bus stop waiting for the 20 bus to take me to the train station. I’m a little sad about all of it because tonight is my last class for the school year with my Thursday night class, and they’re all wonderful students and usually lots of fun. I know one of them is moving to Napoli next year, so he won’t be coming back in October. And from here on out, with the exception of my adult courses, it’s a series of “last classes”. I really like my students, I enjoy almost all of my classes. So I’m glad I’ll get some rest, but at the same time, I’ll miss coming to work every day.
Sometimes this job is challenging and even troubling, but my overall happiness is unmatched, and when I head a student achieved their objective it really makes it that much better. I’m 4-4 with students getting their B1 certificate so far this year!
So, since I started writing today, this day got out of hand. The bus was late, I had to rush into my First Certificate prep class, then had my last class with the KET students. So I got home and made an awesome dinner and now I need to get ready for bed. It’s lazy of me, but I’m cutting this short.

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


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