Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Woke up at 2:50AM thinking about my 2009 personal checklist (some people call them "resolutions" although I think you're doomed to fail them if you call them "resolutions"). I was going through a few items in my head and then my head began to dwell on it. Now, I'm sitting behind a dark cup of coffee checking my effectiveness in completing the list. Let's start at the top.
Begin eating mushrooms.I began eating mushrooms right out of the gate this year. No, not the funky kind that make you dance like a tool. It began when Dustin stuffed some with a meat sauce and topped them with some mozzarella. Nice introduction. Now, I'm conversational with mushrooms which is a great accomplishment from avoiding them for 31 years. They're quite good. Ate an entire pizza stacked with them. That was probably the climax of my mushroom consumption to this point. Why mushrooms? Because I never had any good reason for avoiding them in the first place. Always want to consider myself to be a fairly well-rounded, cross-trained eater. Also took up bananas which I haven't touched in about 25 years. Successful.
Successfully silk screen a shirt.
Fail. Didn't even attempt it. I outsourced, however, my RUN ROC shirt to a printer in Austin instead of giving these local ripoff artists any more of my hard-earned cash. The shirts came out nice and broham didn't take any artistic licensing with my shirt. He did it just as it was designed. Which, if I may not-so humbly add, is why they came out so nicely.
Influence popular opinion regarding the current donut situation in the Yellow.
Fail. This one kinda goes hand-in-hand with the above item. I was going to silk screen the following shirt and hand out 50 of them to key members of the community.
The thought that was that we could rally against the evil donut-hawker that is Donut Stop and eventually take a stab of their profits by saying what so many people want to, but don't. They have misrepresented the doughnut to the Yellow for too long. What they make is a tasteless, cardboard bread roll which is barely touched with a glaze or icing. The result is probably the poorest representation of a doughnut this state has ever seen and now they've monopolized the market. People think that they ran off Krispy Kreme with quality and the truth is (and I mean truth) that they suffocated Krispy Kreme's off-site business locally and, because the franchiser wasn't smart enough, the ultimately closed their doors. It's not a matter of taste, it's a matter of politics. So, Yellow, if you like your sad little cardboard communist doughnut, knock yourself out. I'm demanding Krispy Kreme. That's why, in the rare instance I eat a doughnut, it's in Lubbock (a real city) and it's a Krispy Kreme (a real doughnut), you suckas. Tell me that ain't the illest shirt. No one locally would print it though. Pretty sure of that. I'd have to do it myself.
Run 5 miles in succession twice a week by end of the year.
Well, I'm not running 10 miles a week right now. But I did run about 500 miles this year including a marathon. I'm checking this one off. Still think I'll carry it over to 2010 as part of my training for the Warrior Dash. Need to be able to do 5 miles in 45 minutes. Successful.
Lose 20 pounds.
Not sure about whether or not this happened, but would say it's likely. I've since changed my view on weight. It's all a relative concept. How about just "get in shape"? Pounds will be shed to a healthy weight if you just get in shape. The new mantra is "personal health isn't measure in numbers, it's measured in miles." Success.
Give away 400 CDs.
Negative on this one. I think I may have given away a humble 50 CDs. This one's much harder than I ever thought. It's music. I did, however, reduce the number of visible CDs in the house to under 200. That's quite a mark for a collection that tops about 3,500 CDs (all quality). The fact that you're only seeing about 5% of it is quite an accomplishment. I think my lovely wife appreciates it. She thinks that CDs are kinda ugly to look at. I would agree. My problem is that I think vinyl's much prettier. Fail.
Successfully silk screen a painting of James Brown.
Fail. Still got plans for this one. I wanna create a silk screen so that I can just have a print that I take a canvas, throw a JB on it, sell it for $50, rinse and repeat. To be more specific, I want it to be about 3' x 5'. Sizable. It's the only way to properly represent the man, the legend.
Do a blog entry each day of June--30 posts total within the month.
Fail. That was before I started training for a marathon. I don't know what good come out of this, seriously. No telling how lame it would get by about, uh, June 7th. I'd be talking about the ring in my toilet, more things that annoys me about neighbors and back spasms. Lame. Won't carry over this one.
Submit to a calendar company, a fully developed idea for The Root Down desk calendar.
Still like this one, but didn't get it accomplished. After a year of thinking about it, we'd have to go back to the drawing board on this idea. People don't use desk calendar's like they used to. Everything's electronic these days. Schedules are on the computer. Birthday reminders are sent through email or Facebook. Blackberries and iPhones might've replaced the desk calendar. Desk calendars are dead. You heard it hear first. That's why you read The Root Down. Fail.
Learn to shuffle cards.
Learned, but can't do it well. It's much like watching a caveman try to light a fire with two pebbles. I'm still more likely to just pass the deck to my lovely wife to shuffle rather than do it myself. I attract too much ridicule and laughter when I try. Of course, I'm thick skinned. Good when trying something new.
Complete six mixes within the year (to include The Gangsta Boogie, The Buhloone Mindstate Breakdown, The Tax-Exempt Federal Income Tax Mix, The Christmas Sweater Mix Vol. 2 and my lovely wife's request for a mix about women).
Uh, finished the Tax Mix. The Paul's Boutique Mix. The Col' New Yorkin' Mix. The Marathon Mix. The Intergalactic Mix. The Beatles Mix. The Black Moon Mix. The Wu Mix. Man, that's eight mixes and hadn't worked on one since June, really. Except for the Marathon Mix. Got some plans for the new year, but as time provides. I'm calling this one complete because while I didn't get to the Buhloone mix, the re-up of the Gangsta Mix or a second volume of the Christmas Sweater, I did eight instead of six. Done.
Wear a full-grown moustache for a week.
Did it for a half-day. I couldn't keep a straight face all day. It was extremely distractive. Fail.
Become more knowledgeable in Blues and the key components and players.
Fail. I don't think I'll ever be a huge fan of the Blues. I tried this for about two months. Because I'm not a huge fan, I decided to immerse myself thinking that I would come out a big fan and, if not a fan, at least knowledgeable. Blues is pretty boring really. The players and the stories are pretty fantastic, but just really didn't find it worth investigating any more. Let's shelve this one until I'm about sixty and have nothing better to do.
Follow up on the whereabouts of Roderick and Sean.
Found Sean. Missed his 40th birthday. Just found Roderick on Facebook. Dropped a "friend" to make room for him in the instance he accepts. Success.
Read a book. Serious. Just one.
Success. Read a book entitled Columbine about the massacre at Columbine. Very good read. Still not a reader, but can at least say cool things like, "So I was reading a book the other day and it dawned on me..." or "Yeah, I'm reading this interesting book..." or "I enjoy Saturday mornings with a good book and a cup of coffee." Figure that swings me into a few new social circles. None of those are true statements though. Replace "reading" with "listening to" and "book" with "album." I've already got another book lined up. I think I'm on page twelve.
Find out what happened to my 10-foot jump shot.
Fail. Probably would've happened had I not marathoned. I'll get back to the court in time. Need a new ball. Someone to ball with. Someone short so that I can bust the ol' McHale turnaround on them with optimum result. Great activity along with raquetball. Now that I got my cardio back, I could probably play for hours.
Pass on all fantasy sports. Most specifically Fantasy Baseball. It's not worth the time.
Check. This was quite rewarding. Just col' turkey. There was little temptation at all. I don't find anything fantastic at all about them except the incredible waste of time and money. I guess it's because I'm not that good. It's back to focusing on one team and that's the Sawx. I don't care about some loser pitcher from the Dodgers and how he did last night. I'm a Sox fan firstly. A fan of the game secondly. A Yankee hater lastly.
Begin working on family cookbook. Again.
Fail. I owe my family on this one. I lost all of the data when my laptop died a four years back. Ugh.
Begin playing harmonica.
Began playing. Never got very good, but that leaves plenty of room for improvement. Had a historical jam session between beers and games of dominos in Taos with good friend Dale.
Less coffee in 2009.
Less? Maybe not so much. I'm down to three cups a day. That's down from five to six. Still not really an acceptable level of coffee. If I could get my lovely wife to drink one, I could probably cut back to two a day. That's just one refill, the way I look at it. Establishing positive sleep patterns probably would help in this and vice versa. Staying active and fit would help with establishing positive sleep patterns. Here, I haven't worked out in more than a week and I'm up at 3:00AM for the second time since the marathon.
Cut back soda consumption to one reasonably sized soda a month.
Done. Haven't missed it much. Enjoy it when I have it, but don't need another. Body feels great. More water. Tons more water.
Make my own sauerkraut by rotting cabbage buried under the ground.
Eh. No. This was a stretch goal. Made some damn-good sauerkraut for Thanksgiving, though. But cheated because it came out of a jar.
Eat the sauerkraut.
Fail. I ate me some sauerkraut, but not kraut out of the backyard.
Take two one-week vacations. Possibly one to Idaho and then to the northeast catching a Sox game and visiting New York.
Half-check. Took one full-week vacation to a Sox game and to New York. That was huge. Huge taking that time off and even bigger going up to New York, Maine and Boston. Still gotta finish up my New York posts. Got some good photos and stories yet to come. For me, that trip was probably the best thing to happen to me in years. So relaxing to be with my lovely wife in upstate Maine with nowhere to go, nothing to do. Wish I could go back and stay. New York was hella-ill. Gotta get up to Idaho. My Aunt Pam insists at this point. It used to be politely suggested. Now it's, "Get your ass up to Idaho." That should be a shirt.
Become salty in discussions about 1989 hip hop.
Done. The Top 30 Hip Hop Recordings of 1989 is right around the corner. It should be a rewarding read.
Have a garage sale and use the proceeds to buy a ping pong table to then put in that empty garage.
Had a garage sale. Absolutely hated it. Proceeds went back into the bank. Probably a better use of that money. Guess you could say that, instead of buying more crap, we paid our way to Juarez so we could build a house for a family that desperately needed a solid roof over their head. We're gonna call it complete.
Go an entire month without sugar or sweets.
Check. That was the first complete. Did that in January. Might try it again. It's like a post-Christmas detox and gives you a nice jump on the year.
Use swimming as a primary form of exercise at the gym.Fail. This year might be the year for swimming as I have already teased at the thought of a triathlon. That requires getting back on a bike for some serious road miles. And more training. Maybe I should just start swimming. See if I can still do it.
2010 list soon to come. I need another nightless sleep, er, sleepless night before I can get to that. Pillow, I miss you. I love you. Where are you?
Monday, December 14, 2009
I approached a table for a free shirt. Apparently the bib was a dead giveaway to the volunteer. She yells out, "First-timer!" and a host of volunteers begin cheering. I had arrived.
They wished me luck. I walked away from the table probably more intimidated than I had approached it with. I continued to walk confusedly around the expo as everyone was hocking products from shoes to water filtration devices, from home alarm systems to humanitarian causes. Exhausted, I just wanted to get lost. Kool Aid and I found a pisser and then left. We did the afternoon separately. He went to watch a rugby match. I sat around and visited with in-laws. Sitting upright made my sciatic nerve flare so I leaned back as much as I could wherever I could. Oh, did some record shopping. Looked for some Eric Dolphy. Found nothing worth owning.
Did dinner. Went back to the Hilton where I tried to relax and sleep. I just remember beating my lovely wife back to the room as she was hitting a couple of errands on the way back from dinner. I feel asleep and she came in and kissed me and I drifted off again.
About 3:30, sleeping became futile. My body was awake. My body was urging me to get ready. I had to tell myself to relax. Close your eyes. You've gotta run 26.2 miles in about five hours. You're gonna need everything you got. About thirty minutes passed and I drifted back off. But, like Christmas morning, I was awake in another hour. Five o'clock. A familiar hour for me. I went back to sleep for thirty minutes and then I was up for good.
Runday had arrived.
It was a foggy morning. I took a shower. Ate two bagels. Two bananas. Four ibuprofen. About a pint of Gatorade. Final preparations.
Went through some final prayers before trusting directly into the madness. Recalled my goal of finishing between 4:48 and 5:00 (those be hours, homie). Said, for my last time, my affirmation:
I am a marathoner. I can run on any day, at any time, in any weather. While my body wasn't born to do this, I can train my body to do anything and nothing can hold me back. With God on my side and hell on my heels, I'm going to run my happy ass 26.2 miles.
That day had arrived. T-minus two hours.
My ride arrived at 0645 in the circle drive of the Hilton. I stood outside for a few moments and breathed the morning air. It was cool and a little thick. Perfect. The forecast had the race ending at an unseasonal 70 degrees. Not-so perfect.
When we arrived down at American Airlines Center, it was pandamonium. Kool Aid and I looked for our "corral"--the wave in which we would begin. Being that we were 11-minute milers, we would start with people of the same speed to ensure there was no trampling. After locating our corral, we headed inside to hit the bathrooms. Fundamental.
I'll put it this way: all the urinals were available. The line was for the "sitting" commodes. We stood in line.
After heading outside, I saw fella runner Sarah who was hitting the half. Wished her luck. Small-talked. Tried to get my gameface on without getting too primed. Advice was to start slow, don't get wrapped up in the hype. Pace yourself. If you rush out of the gate, you're gonna wish you had it later.
(just put in an Art Blakey record I got in Dallas...lovely)
I spent about three minutes wondering what I was going to do with my iPod. Funny the details you don't think about until you're standing at the starting line. I was concerned about wearing it on my arm for five hours. I opted to put it in my Camelbak pocket. Time counted down. I heard Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" and some cheering. I checked out at that point. All of the noises became fuzzy. I put on my headphones and listened to the official Team Root Down mix. I did it with one earphone off, though, to hear the crowd. It was loud. Cacophony. Megaphones. Confetti.
Before you knew it, we had begun and this five-hour dance with D-Town had begun.
We meandered around downtown and two miles passed quickly. Just do that 13 times and this was history. Right knee soreness began almost immediately. I thought, "I knew you were going to be here. Welcome. Take off your jacket. Stay a while. Let me show you to the bar. Have a drink."
THE LEFT CALF
We made our way through Turtle Creek. My left knee worries subsided as I just came to the realization that it wasn't going to hurt any less so I might as well just accept the pain and live with it.
Then it appeared in the left calf. This was all very familiar to me. I pushed forward without worrying too much. I knew that if my heart and my lungs could do it, I could push myself through the muscle pains. As they say, "Pain is temporary. Pride is forever." I said my affirmation again and then just decided to enjoy it from there on.
Running in the crowd proved to be challenging. It was like a big game of leapfrog as everyone pushed for position. Kool Aid and I were in no big hurry, but knew that we didn't want to surrender too much at the beginning. The crowds were troublesome. We tried to initiate a pace and it would be broken up by a turn, aid station, someone goofing around.
At about the third mile, the pace set in and the marathon had really started to expose itself. The crowd was dispersing. Spacing. Breathing room. I remember seeing my dad somewhere around mile five or six. He was standing there smiling proudly. I took off one earphone. Yelled, "How's it going?" Continued onward across Central.
The neighborhoods were especially pleasant. I always liked the neighborhoods in our training. Relaxing. They were lined with families coming out to feed us. Give us water. Some offered beer. Bloody Mary. Bagels. Most just sat and applauded as the crowds passed their lawns. They'd wave. Tell us to "go" or "run" or "do it." I'd just read their lips as I we traversed through the neighborhood. I'd smile.
Then, I came across some familiar faces. That of my lovely wife and my sister-in-law. It was "GO JEFF" or "OGFJ" as they took creative license with the signs. My brother held up a sign that said, "So easy even a caveman can do it," and a few other sentiments. Nice to have a cheering section.
Just about eight miles in, I did an inventory on my body. Everything was holding up alright. Right knee was still in pain. Left calf pain had begun to lessen as it spread throughout my left leg. Otherwise, everything felt alright. We were nearing the lake. I could feel it as we descended through the neighborhoods. I remembered that we dove down into White Rock so as we took downhill after downhill, I knew it was close. When the halfers broke off somewhere around the seventh mile, it got about five degrees cooler. We lost more than half of the runners. This was the group of the longhaulers. The marathoners.
THE LEFT ILLIOTIBIAL BAND
As the lake exposed itself, I was reminded of it's massive size. Essentially, mile nine through nineteen took place at this monstrous lake. White Rock (which my lovely wife has affectionately come to call "Dead Body Lake" because of all the murders that have gone unsolved in its depths) was covered in a dense fog. Probably better. You couldn't see how much of a huge-ass body of water this thing was. It just kinda looked like a calendar. Something from a LL Bean catalog. Coltrane came on the headphones. I took deep breaths. Enjoyed the scenary. The Coltrane.
Saw my mother-in-law in there.
As we rounded the lake, I saw Cory, Brian and my lovely wife. As Kool Aid stopped to take a piss, I headed forward and slowed down (didn't stop) for one short kiss from my lovely wife. I think I might've hit her cheek. Don't know what she hit. Maybe I just dragged my left sideburn across her face. This is what it looked like.
That kiss lasted about three more miles before we hit what is commonly referred to as "the wall." The "wall," in runners terms, is when your glycogen that has been stored is completely depleted and where most runners are reduced to their slowest speed. White Rock's wall exist at the 18th mile where it begins to make a 100-foot ascension over the course of a two mile drag. The apex of this is just after the Hooters aid station (which Kool Aid took full advantage of) and you enter what was known as Dolly Parton's Hills. As you turn the corner, you see nothing but marathoners walking uphill. Not Kool Aid and I. We pressed on. The runners on the right and us on the left. Just like a small car passing big rigs on a hillside. I asked Kool Aid if he wanted to walk (almost secretly hoping he would say "yes"). He answered, "No. I can't stop now. But don't push me either."
I kept the pace. As much as I wanted to walk, I just kept going. That climb through the neighborhood was just as I had anticipated. Which is why the mix goes over to NWA and Ice Cube for mile 19 and 20. Once we reached the top and made our way over to Swiss Ave, I spotted my brother in the distance. He dashed through the crowd and shouldered up against me and we jogged about fifty yards together. He told me that we had made it through the worst and we were on our way downhill.
Todd on the left. Kool Aid, in his excitable state, mentioned with some explicitaves, that his plan was to finish strong and give it all we had left in us as we finished line. I laughed it off thinking, "I just wanna finish at this point." Saw more family as I entered the beautiful Swiss Ave. We made our descension into downtown. I told myself that I had done six mile runs countless times. This was the easy part. It didn't get easier.
THE WHOLE LEFT LEG AND RIGHT ANKLE
In fact, the sun came out and, almost immediately, my blood temperature skyrocketed. All day, we had enjoyed the cool breeze off the lake, the soothing mist in the air that coated our skin. Now, with the sun out, there was nothing to protect us. We were at her mercy. The mist evaporated. The cool breeze disappeared. I looked for shade on the trail. Never had I run so long and so late in the day. December felt like August. I looked around though and people still had jackets and earmuffs on. To the spectators, it was still relatively cool. In fact, all the way into downtown, I could still see my breath.
Unsure of my pace and only certain of my pain, I pressed on with Kool Aid right beside me. The buildings of downtown exposed themselves above the huge oak trees. We were nearing the end.
And it couldn't come fast enough.
We rounded Central Expressway and went underneath it and the shade almost pulled me to a stop. I wanted to enjoy the shade. I didn't mind walking just for a few steps just to get a little shade in. Cool off. But we didn't. We kept jogging. As we made our way back through downtown, my body began to relieve itself (no, not that way). My muscles began to relax. I could feel my joints, my feet, my legs, my arms exhaling. I thought, "Wait, not yet!" We still had a mile and a half to go.
When we turned the corner and saw the finish line, I just put my head down and headed forward. I felt Kool Aid pushing a little from the excitement. I wasn't concerned about how my ending appeared. I had just gone through the most excrutiating and brutal physical confrontation of my life. I just wanted it to be over. Sooner the better, yes, but I didn't to stumble like that that cat who busts face while getting his diploma. Take it cool. Don't walk, but don't go so fast the only way you'll stop is with your chin.
My whole left leg was throbbing at this point and my right ankle...ah, a familiar foe. When I first started running it was my right ankle that gave me such hell. In fact, it was my right ankle that my lovely wife told me to get checked out before I actually ran a marathon. I guess we both forgot about it until Runday. That bastard came back. It was like a rodent gnawing at your foot. I didn't feel so bad I was going to stop, but it didn't feel that good. Amazing how it disappeared on the third week of training but then just came back on the last few miles to remind me, "Yeah, bro. Should've had them look at me like your lovely wife advised."
The crowds cheered as we shot toward the finish line. I watched the clock ticking from afar. The crowd cheered as I had both earphones off at this point so I could enjoy the moment.
We finished. The exact time was yet to be determined. Some guy called me "Chops" as I made my way to the finish line. That meant more to me than anyone calling me by the name that was on my bib. "Jeffrey." I remember waving to that dude over my head to salute his salutation of my ferocious sideburns.
As we finished, the medal hit my neck, the heat sheet hit my shoulders and I was pushed aside for a picture all in one continuous motion. I found my lovely wife and kissed her through the chainlinked fence. I met with family after that. Had a granola bar, a banana, two beers.
My muscles were going crazy. It was like I was getting a charlie horse every step I took. They were on absolute overdrive. My back tightened up almost immediately. My feet felt like they had exploded. Not like a flat tire, but more like the tire blew up. When I sat down in my father's car, my right calf charlied up and I looked at it in a flexed position. It was as hard as a can of green beans and I couldn't unflex it. Freakiest thing.
We did lunch with family. It was awesome. After that, I went back to the hotel and watched television. Slept for a few hours. Woke up at about 10. Fell back asleep at 11. Can barely walk today. The car ride home was torture.
I sit here thinking back to when I first had an innocent conversation with Sam Prose at a retirement party for my father. Sam Prose mentored my brother in his first marathon. He told me that the human body is not meant to run 26 miles. I would agree. But it's amazing what you can do when you're fueled by stubborn will and the fire of God. I think about my worst runs and how I could've easily just packed up and moved on like I had a million times before. For every cool thing I'm fortunate to finish, there's a thousand that I gave up on. But not this one. For six months, I put myself through absolute hell until my body accepted it. Three miles felt like one. Eight miles felt like three. 18 felt like ten.
26 felt like 50.
There's no overstating finishing a marathon. As much as my body hurts, I'd live with it for months to do what we did. I almost don't wanna go to bed because I know I'm going to have that electric pain up my leg as I walk down the hall, but that pain is your body proclaiming "I'm alive!" I think I'm about lose a toenail, but can't reach down to check it out.
Would I recommend marathoning? Absolutely. I feel like I'm 25 again and have a new appreciation for each day. When you're pushed to the limit, you have a slightly new perspective on what surrounds you. It's a solo sport. Sometimes it's completely without reward. Sometimes you feel stupid. You feel like a nincompoop chasing some moronic romantic notion that only exists in Nike commercials. But, in the process, those moments that you feel small and insignificant in God's great kingdom are irreplaceable. Some days you feel small and insignificant. Other days you feel powerful and unstoppable. Either way, you feel humbled.
Maybe I have a affinity to solo sports. It's the same gravitation that you feel when standing on a mountain overlooking the beautiful snowcapped peaks of regions nearby. It's when you're alone and pushing yourself to the brink that you learn the most of yourself. Competitive sports are only possible when there's an opposing force to drive you. Something particularly sweet when that opposing force is yourself.
Contemplating the next event. Rory said during breakfast today that he was considering doing a marathon. I told him to not even lead on lightly because I'll do it again in a second.
Here are the stats. My goal for Kool Aid and I was between 4:48 and 5:00. We finished at 4:58. Our rank at 10K was #4008. Our rank at halfway was #3815. Our time at halfway was 2:27:32. At the 20.1 mile mark, my rank was #3570. My rank at the 24-mile mark was #3442. I finished at #3434. From the 20-mile mark to the end, we passed 166 runners and were passed by only twelve. Probably 90% of those passed we did on that hellish hill at mile 19.
Our first half was at 2:27:32 and our second half was at 2:30:28. We didn't give up pace hardly at all. The perfect tortoise pace. I ran non-stop and Kool Aid did except for one bathroom break. Probably wasn't the smartest thing for me to do given that my body was screaming for a break and I didn't listen to it. But then again, maybe marathoning isn't the smartest thing in the first place.
Thanks to my lovely wife for being patient and supportive. God. My family. Bananas. Sly and Family Stone. Sleep. Ibuprofen. Nike. Vaseline. Gatorade.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
As some of you might know, the other day I decided that I was going to start purging my "friends" list on Facebook simply because I didn't see much sense in never really having more than about 15 friends in real life but having over 200 online. Plus, I'm a tightwad by nature and I feel that having more than 200 friends online is like overspending my attention. For that reason, I made some cuts to get me back at 200. And, honestly, it wasn't really that hard. As I viewed my friend-scape, it appeared to me that I let a few too many in the sidedoor in the early going as I was trying to increase my stock value. I see some of my friends have nearly a thousand friends on Facebook and I can't make any sense of letting that many people see all that throw up about yourself on a daily basis. I feel that when I get above 200, it's like there's a leak somewhere or a crack where my privacy is quickly leaking outward. So, in an attempt to keep it local and make sure my "circle of friends" isn't the size of Asia, I decided to make some cuts. I need a Dream Team of Friends. There's a standard that needs to be upheld. Quality not quantity. I mean, I like to think that I'm a pretty good friend to people online. I like to be insightful. Intriguing. Challenging yet polite, respectful. I'm not lazy. I work hard at what I post. I don't assume greatness as a friend. I work for it. Sometimes I achieve it. Sometimes not. Some of my "friends" are the worst ever.
Quality over quantity. I have to envision and enforce a commitment to excellence.
So, after lunch with my "friend" (in real life too) Denis, I started thinking about about making the cuts. I needed some sort of Guide to Unfriending...some criteria. Because as easy as it is to make someone your friend, firing them is a little dicier. When, how or where do you determine that a friend of yours isn't cutting it anymore? Well, while there's still no science to it, there certainly is an ART TO UNFRIENDING. Here's the lowdown.
I've never been the popular cat. Mostly on my own account. I lean to the road less traveled. I like my quiet time. I like quiet evenings at home with my lovely wife and two dogs. I hate crowds. I stick to a mission that sometimes means I'm out less to please others. I don't like being a jerk, but I don't mind being one in an attempt to achieve something I see as valuable. I believe in goodwill. I believe in helping others. I believe a higher cause. But, friends, well, that's something I've never been too good at. Keeping friends, however, I've had some good luck with. I think I've always had a threshold for friendships. It was about twelve to fifteen. After that, I just really didn't see much point. I wasn't going to extend myself to a level I couldn't maintain. If I called you a friend, I meant it. Some came and went over the years. But it my closest friends, I've had for almost my whole life. Danny...since third grade. Dale...since pre-school. Chris and Steve...my whole life. There are others. Some come and go. But it's like I went out and gathered as many friends as I could at a young age and just kinda "topped out." You'll notice one thing about me and it's that I don't have a lotta "new friends." Try as a may, they just don't stick like my first friends.
With that being said, it wouldn't make much sense that my online friends would be growing exponentially day-on-day. The payroll got too high. I can't afford these relationships. It's tasking on me in time, attention and ultimately energy.
I devised a method to cutting based on the following criteria in this order. As I cut below the 200-friend level, I can then add as I see fit. Right now, I have no room for anymore friends because I'm sitting precisely at 200. If I see someone that I really want to be friends with, I'll make a cut and I'll start with number one here.
This ain't no peepshow, son. You gotta dance too. And it's probably less the people that don't post as much as it is the people that don't even have a profile picture. Like they got on there one night, decided to join Facebook, you were among the twenty names they first searched for some reason and they haven't logged on since. You're out, kid. I'm not gonna be your one night stand. And, you ain't gonna have everyday access to me if you don't budge a little and give me something to look at too. And, no, just clicking the "like" button every so often does not qualify as "recent activity."
Let's be real, here. It's abuse when you post about everything that happens in your life. I want insight. I want commentary. I want opinion. I want perspective. People that get up on there and post "good morning!" or "good night!" are a waste of my index finger's strength to scroll past you. One day, I'm gonna develop carpal tunnel and it's gonna be because I had three friends who simply couldn't resist posting something everytime they farted or laughed. Just save it. I want complete sentences and thoughts. Get up on there and say, "It's a good morning because I pulled someone out of a burning car and then high-fived a cop" or "after wrestling a bear to the ground and then getting him to join me for a game of Yahtzee, all I gotta say is good night."
Additionally, when you post over five times a day, it's time to get up and leave your computer, go outside and take a walk. Yes, that coming from the author of the Root Down who has devoted months of his life to this thing since starting over four years ago. There's nothing that important in your life that it warrants five posts in one day. That includes the "ha," the "ROFL," the "totally!", the "I still love you!", and the "call me!" Just stop posting. Message them so the rest of us don't have to see it.
If you had a baby, just put in one post, "went to the hospital today after my water broke and had a baby."
I don't need:
"on the way to the hospital"
"waiting in room for doctor"
"I love my husband. he's the best!"
"baby's on it's way."
"we'll call him 'corbin'"
Not that I don't care about your baby, but, c'mon, I got 200 friends. Spend your comments wisely. One update will do and then put some pictures up later. There's also the folks that update their status after every home run, controversial call or just every quarter, period or inning of a sporting event. I understand your watching it. I don't need the play-by-play. Just post once at the beginning or the end of it. That'll suffice.
THE OPEN-ENDED COMMENT
To me, it's one of the most aggravating behaviors on Facebook. You'll know it when you see it. Or, at least, I hope you know it when you see it. It's so annoying. I'll give you an example. Someone posts:
"Today's the day!"
Why is today the day? Is it too hard to expand on that by adding a "because" to it? I don't play this game, at all. In fact, I've been known to call people out on it. I ain't no sucka. I don't respond to these types of posts. In fact, I'm hoping no one else does until that one moron gets on there and will, inevitably, post "What's happening today? Tell me!" Happens everytime. I'll give you another example.
..."is sad because someone really close to me hurt me."
Okay, firstly, get over it. Posting about it on Facebook ain't gonna make it any better. Especially if you don't give us any more information. I ain't gonna help you. You're on your own, kid. Secondly, this is behavior that kids in elementary school normally display. The kid who sits in the corner and pouts until people notice and then he's fine for the rest of the day. That's what we're dealing with here. Saw one of my friends post the other day:
..."has the worst friends ever!"
I don't care. Unless you have the nerve to expand on that and let your friends know what they did to you (on Facebook, which is really pretty passive aggressive, don't you think?), I really could care less. Another example:
..."I'm so blessed and I love my life!"
Okay, I understand that. But tell me why. Otherwise, I'm gonna call foul on you. And, just so you know, if it's a status update, it should be "is so blessed and loves his/her life." There's a format here. Then there's this one:
I wish Facebook had an application that would dummysmack cats for trying to post this stuff. Like it would say something like "not valid status update" or "no one needs friends like you" or "no one cares, get a life." I don't need the unabridged version, but the Readers' Digest version, but dude, don't give me headlines. Life is challenging enough that I don't wanna have to play Sherlock with everyone of my "friends" who decides that, instead of working and typing complete thoughts, they're gonna put leading comments in their status updates. This ain't no scavenger hunt, bro.
JOIN MY CAUSE
Look, solely joining a cause on Facebook has yet to achieve anything. I mean, it's a network of people who believe in a certain cause, but I've yet to see it do anything except work as another social bucket. For that reason, I don't join causes. I just do stuff. And encourage others to do the same. I'm annoyed by people who are so passionate about a cause, but it's just ends up being another email in the inbox. I won't join your cause. Tell me you're building a house, I'm in. Tell me you're going to feed the hungry, I'm there. Tell me that you want me to join your cause to "feed the hungry." I need a place and time. Otherwise, save it. In fact, if you don't save it. I'll help you and just unfriend you. When charity becomes a button on Facebook, is it really charity? It's not that I haven't been affected by cancer or experienced the impact of poverty so be careful about throwing the "insensitive" card. It's action I'm looking for. Not social networking.
YOU JUST EARNED A BILLY CLUB
Given my stance on "join my cause," it goes without saying that I'm annoyed by Mafia Wars and FarmVille. I don't want a flower that I can't put in the garden. I don't want three heads of fake cattle. I don't want a cinammon roll that I can't eat. Don't give me a high-five, a jack-o-latern, a wreath, a teddy bear. I blocked those applications a long time ago and I've even dropped friends because of them. I liken those to forwarded emails. I delete upon receipt. Call me. Inbox me. Come to my house. But the box of chocolates that I can't eat is simply stupid so spare yourself the trouble.
It's Monday. Runday is in t-minus six days. Holla atcha boy.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
This thing is a beast so if you elect to download it, be prepared. It's 80 songs and close to 5 hours of seamless dopeness. It times in at 4:48:18--just 30 seconds short of an 11-minute mile pace for 26.22 miles.
Even if you ain't running the Rock, it'd be good listening for an afternoon at work.
8 Run DMC "Peter Piper"