About to turn over my Larry Bird-thday (big ol' #33). Kinda a weird feeling. Not sure yet what it feels like. I'll get back to you on Monday. Told my grandmother about my upcoming birthday and she asked how old I was going to be and then said, "My gosh. That'd make your brother 35." Like how until my grandmother said that, I always saw being the youngest as a bad thing. All the sudden, I realized at least I'm not my brother's age. Sorry, bro.
I'm quickly coming to the realization that my life is going to drastically change this year. I'm gonna be a different man this time next year. When you have a young'n on the way, that anxiety is a kinda mix between game day being down three games to none in a seven game series and Christmas morning. Last night, I had dinner with my lovely wife and we just relaxed and talked. You forget sometimes that it's two of you going through it because the experience is so dynamically different for the carrier (her) and non-carrier (me). It's weird. My lovely wife's a champ. B'lee dat. She's doing good.
Settling in on two names. Ellison for a girl. Kyler for a boy. As beautiful as Ellison is for a girl, it's not in the name book that has 60,000 names. Guess that kinda means that we picked a truly original name. It seems like those books have everything. You could name your kid "Superturd" and it's in there. It means "brave" and "brown." My lovely wife was concerned about the kid growing up (if it's a girl named Ellison) and always asking what they're name meant and being that it's not in the book, we'd have to break it to her that her name doesn't have a meaning. I say that's garbage because I swear that if there's no meaning for a name, they just say it means "great leader" or "one of great beauty." Yeah, okay. We'll just tell her "Ellison" means "ballbuster" because we think it sounds like a politician's name. The first female president.
My lovely wife prefers I don't use the word "female" because it sounds like I've spent time in prison.
I've found myself concerned about what kinda music you raise your child on. Guess I'll answer that when I get there. Right behind how you change a diaper without dry heaving and how you navigate a screaming episode in public places. Ah, this is gonna be killer. Might need to create a "baby-proof" playlist which includes clean hip hop, African funk, James Brown and Charles Mingus.
I'm cancelling my gym membership. I hate that place. I was thinking the only reason I would keep the membership is to use the racquetball courts, but they're always overrun with sweaty old men running into walls. The weight area is like a prison yard. The treadmills feel like they're one loose screw from falling apart underneath you. And the whole place smells like sock. Even with the westerly wind that smells like a cow's butthole, I'd still take the outdoors over that place anyday.
Getting ready for South By Southwest (SXSW for the inclined or just "South By" to the really cool kids). I only remember going to SXSW about six years ago. I was a new music buyer. Thought I knew everything in the world. It was back when you went down there as a vacation from your day job. Now, we're going down there and landing meetings. Talk shop. Drum up some business somehow. Kinda wondering why retailers haven't been doing this for years. The industry convention is a joke, an embarrassment. No one wants to go. Those that do just bitch and complain and never arrive at solutions, leading to their own quick extinction. Hoping to see the Duke and Sarahsmile while I'm down there. Some serious showcases also. Duck Down's 15th Anniversary show, Rhymesayers, Stones Throw (head explodes). Mad decent.
I'm giving up on new music. There's no good music. But I got a set of these Fela reissues from Tara. They're serious. Serious. I'm glad I got rid of about 60% of my music. I haven't missed a single album yet. Weird how that is. Here, for nearly 10 years, I'm practically hoarding music and then with my back against the wall, a baby on the way and a collection that would make most people's head explode, my tolerance peaked. There was no sense in it anymore. Do I wish I got more than I did for it? Sure. After you took out the promos, I could only sell a few hundred. Wish I got about $10,000 for this stuff, but reality is that I needed it to be about $350. I needed it to be so little so I could realize that the crap I hold on to often only has value to me and not necessarily to anyone else. It's just the way it is.
Sure was nice being the hook up for a small group of music lovers.
Went for a run yesterday with Gary and Mason. First time out with Gary. He picked me up and then picked up Mason. Felt like I was probably the most experienced distance runner out of us as we made the drive out to Gary's in-laws property. It's an area just north of town called Bishop Hills. Now, Bishop Hills is a little secluded community of large ranch houses, big yards, winding streets with some moderately sized hills. Certainly nothing that I was too concerned about. I've done hills.
We get out there to his in-laws place and it's a bonofied ranch. There ain't no streets. Dirt roads, homie. Not to show any unnecessary worry, I just kinda went along with it. I wanted to do dirt roads anyway as I transition into the last two months of my Warrior Dash training. I figured it was one of those situations that certainly wasn't life or death and any potential consequence couldn't possibly be so dire that I should speak up in protest. Just roll with it. When Gary hoped out of the car, he's decked out in running gear, tosses me a GPS watch so we can track our distance and pace. Sweet. Dude came prepared.
I'm a gear guy. I respond to gear. If people got gear, it says something to me about their level of aptitude. When we're out at the softball fields, I respond differently to the guy who walks up with the batbag that you wear like a backpack and the bats stick out the top like two swords that can draw at any moment to slay a dragon than the guy who shows up in cut-off jean shorts dragging an aluminum bat with athletic tape wrapped around the handle and a nylon hat that reads "I Love Iowa!" When I saw Gary, he was that cat with the dual-bat backpack, the nice cleats, wristbands that came all the way up his forearm and the face of a killer. He was ready to do this.
Just roll with it. I keep telling myself.
He starts us walking down this hill wandering past small yucca plants, some mesquite trees. It's that harsh canyon land of the north panhandle. Not really farmable. It's a harsh land. Littered with rocks, gravel, horse turds. Gary says, "We'll just take this path up the way here," and begins pointing over the ridge and I'm sitting here looking for the "path" he's referring to. I don't even see the path. This is gonna be fun.
Before I could raise my hand like the dumb kid in class, we were off. Gary damn near disappears. This cat's hauling ass. I fire up to keep up with him. I immediately go into laborious breathing. This is hard. Gary breaks off at one point to go lock the gate we came through and he still catches up with us down the trail. This dude is a machine.
At one point, I check the watch and it reveals that we're pulling about 7:15-7:30 miles. Now, I'm topping out at 8:05. I'm actually keeping up with him on these trails...probably just because he's letting me. He's bouncing up and down these rocky paths with the agility of a col' panther. I'm working with the agility of a large gorilla with a gimp foot. My lungs are on fire. I feel like my assessment of this not being a life-or-death situation was probably wrong. I could die out here.
I don't even know where Mason is. I'm wondering if he's alive. His breathing was over my shoulder at one point and I could sense it getting further and further away. We come around the rim of this canyon and Gary pulls up to wait for us. It was the one mile mark. Gary plots out the rest of our route from the top of the canyon. I'm thinking this guy's insane.
Before you know it, the three of us are dashing down into the canyon. On a decline, Gary fires up to about 5:00 mile pace. That's blinding speed. And he's doing this as he's jumping off of rocks, dodging thorny plants, horse crap, avoiding animal holes. The faster I run, the less visible the path is because my point of view is rattling so bad. It's like I can't hold my head still long enough to see what's in front of me. I'm almost running blind just to keep up.
We do another mile or so and Gary pulls up to wait for all of us to catch up. We start talking the run to this point and I tell him that it's so very different than what I was used to from training for the maraton and he asks me what marathon I ran. I tell him White Rock in Dallas and turns out that he ran it too this last December.
Also come to find out that he did it an hour and a half faster than me. That's fast.
Also come to find out that he's done White Rock about three times.
And he's done another marathon and many half marathons.
And he's actually done a few triathalons. Which he actually prefers to just running marathons.
That would probably explain why he looks like he's chisled from stone and has the land speed of a cheetah on methamphetamines. Yeah, most experienced distance runner out of us? Yeah right. That'd be Gary.
Our last leg, ended with Gary sprinting up the rim of the canyon as Mason and I watched along from within the canyon. Gary gets to the top and I'm recalling Rocky dashing up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He gets to the top, puts his hands on his hips and overlooks the land like the master of his domain. Mason and I, now like his two apprentices languidly follow up in his shadow.
Saw a porcupine though. That was cool.
Yeah, I've got some training to do. Feeling the pain this morning. Gary's a freaking machine. I ain't scared. I'm doing that trail. I got my work cut out for me. I'm definitely out of my league, though.
Trails like that trim years off your age. Guess that's what I'm shooting for.