Wednesday, November 26, 2014

15 Reasons to be Thankful this Thanksgiving

1.  We’ve all got our health.
This was not a given.  I found myself in the hospital in August after a spider bite.  The back of my leg became infected with an antibiotic-resistant form of the streptococcus bacteria, and it took several rounds of antibiotics and four full days as an in-patient to clear it up.  Not fun.  But I’m better now, and I’ve been slowly but surely working my way back into form in anticipation of the coming triathlon season.

Sally and I are both over 40, and we’re both in good shape.  This puts us markedly ahead of where my parents were at our age, and I don’t take that lightly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sketch in My Notebook: Wolfgang & Salamatu (Part 3)

I started publishing this thing mostly because I got stuck in the middle of writing of it, and I needed inspiration.  Last week I finally hit my groove, but in the meantime, I've been surprised and pleased to see how many folks have come by and given it a read.  True, I've only gotten one comment back--privately from my friend Alan, who told me that he didn't think the editing on Part 1 was up to my usual standard--but the blog's statistics show clearly that lots and lots of folks have come by and given the story a chance.  Thank you for that.

The story itself is changing.  I finally realized how to integrate the Naomi plotline, and the next chapter cuts back to Sneax and the crew from the original novels, which means--unfortunately--that I can't show it to you without giving away major spoilers for Sneakatara Boatman and the Priest of Loki.  That in turn means that this is it for Wolfgang and Salamatu and "Sketch in My Notebook".  I hope you liked this chapter, but...  If you want to see how it ends, it looks like you're gonna have a long wait.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Offseason Training Log: 11/17 to 11/23 (Rest Week)

After six weeks of slowly building endurance work, this past week was a Rest Week.  I needed it.  Instead of just resting, however, I also tried to use the week to reintegrate weight training into my workout regime.  That proved to be something of a challenge.

I need to add weights for two reasons.  The first is simple good sense.  Building strength is always useful for triathletes as long as you’re careful not to compromise your endurance training.  You don’t necessarily want to get heavier, but it’s great to get stronger, and anyway, doing resistance training will also help reinforce your bones and joints for the toll that the coming season is inevitably going to take.  The second reason is personal.  I put on five extra pounds during my last trip to Albany, and I’ve struggled to take it back off again.  It’s been several weeks, but that weight is still hanging around.  By increasing muscle mass, I’m hoping to speed my metabolism during endurance training, thereby increasing my calorie burn.  In conjunction with some diet changes, this approach should get me down about ten pounds.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pictures from the Fordham Game

Emma and I took Sally's cousins Donna and Jay up to Michie Stadium for yesterday's triumphant win against Fordham.  The Army team is now 4-7 and poised for a breakout game against our arch-rival Navy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Comic Review -- G.I. Joe (Vol. 4): The Fall of G.I. Joe

After a five-month hiatus, G.I. Joe is back at IDW with G.I. Joe: The Fall of G.I. Joe, written by Karen Traviss, art by Steve Kurth.  I started reading G.I. Joe (Vol. 3) in the wake of the last G.I. Joe movie, the one that starred Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as Roadblock, and I liked it.  Full disclosure: I don’t usually concern myself over-much with whether or not G.I. Joe makes any sense or is at all realistic.  My girls and I enjoy sitting down occasionally to watch some of the old 80s-era G.I. Joe cartoons onNetflix, and I’ve read several volumes worth of the old Larry Hama comics via Comixology.  None of that stuff is overly serious, but it’s presented in a genuine, rarely cynical action-movie spirit that I can’t help but enjoy.  But.  Traviss was a Naval Reservist and a defense correspondent, and she and IDW both go to some trouble in the new volume’s back matter to let readers know that hers is the “realistic” take on G.I. Joe.  
That’s fine.  If that’s the way they’re playing it, I can certainly play along.

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Things on a Friday: The New Dance is a Chicken Dance

If you came looking for the new Faith No More song, then I'm afraid you're bound to be disppointed.  But don't worry.  I've got something even better!

Let's do this.
“Ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna next week, there are some contradictory theories about why Saudi Arabia is content to keep oil cheap for the time being. One is that the Saudis want to nip the U.S. oil boom in the bud. American shale oil is more expensive to produce and needs high prices to remain competitive. As one analyst put it when the kingdom cut prices for U.S. customers earlier this month, ‘the Saudis have basically declared war on the U.S. oil producers.’
But there’s a competing narrative, or ‘conspiracy theory’ if you prefer, that the Saudis are waging war in cooperation with the United States, against their mutual enemies Russia and Iran.
The problem with this analysis is that there’s no “or” here.  The Saudis have the largest production capacity, and they are using it to control the market.  That’s it.  Oil production is their niche in the global economy.  They are using market power to defend their position.  That is not news, nor should it come as a surprise.  Nor, for that matter, is it the first time they’ve done it.  Their actions may well be the final proof of the success of American production—the market leader has had to take steps to bring its new competitor under control—but that’s still not telling us anything we didn’t already know.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Army Football Preview: vs. Fordham

That was some drubbing on Saturday.  I thought in the early going that Army might have a chance, but a bad snap went over the punter’s head, and then Army’s kicker botched a chip-shot field goal.  After that, the game was never in doubt.  This year’s Black Knights are not the kind of team that can come from behind.  In the second half, Western Kentucky looked like world-beaters.  Well, we knew it was gonna be a shoot-out.  Army needed to run the ball, score points, and manage time of possession successfully, and for most of the first half they did exactly that.  However, giving up a short field early was not on the program, nor was allowing a 50-yard Hail Mary to go for a touchdown right before the half.  This year’s Army team has been maddeningly good in spots, but they are an inconsistent bunch playing a style of football that requires a high level of consistency.  They have heart and athleticism, but they make mistakes and can’t overcome them.