high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A suit by any other name...

Due to a recent promotion at work, I'm now wearing a suit every day.  In one respect, this is a nice change.  As a result of societal imprinting, wearing a suit makes me feel more respectable and more professional.  There is also the enjoyability of picking out a suit to wear and, whether it is true or not, feeling like you made a good choice for the day.  Finally, suits have lots of handy pockets inside the jacket, thus making them a fairly useful garment when you have things like a Blackberry to carry.

A suit.  But is it a suit?
On the other hand, wearing a suit brings with it the inherent danger of others' perceptions.  More specifically, there is the danger that people (and in the worst cases, the people you work with) will perceive you as a "suit."  In other words, you must rise to the challenge of wearing a suit without being a suit.

First of all, what does it really mean to be a "suit?"  In my mind, it means that people don't take you seriously, they view you as being ineffectual, stuffy, and with nothing to offer except vague managerial buzz words and cliches, with perhaps a sprinkling of references to various organizational policies.  A suit is not a welcome figure.  When a suit walks into the room, people immediately feel less positive about the situation.  A suit cannot relate to people, despite any attempts to come across as casual, down-to-earth, or easy going.  People don't want to associate with suits, or listen to suits, or have anything to do with suits.  In short, suits are not welcome.

Suits are always associated with "management."  For example, in any modern company you probably will have some group, large or small, of computer programmers.  The guys who go out for lunch together all the time, tell nerd jokes to each other, are knowledgeable about internet trends, and have fairly specialized skills.  This group of programmers will be managed by someone, and in many cases, that someone will be a suit.  The guy who thinks he's in charge, who tells them what they're not allowed to do, who tries to impose order and rules, and who will never fit in with the guys, no matter how much or how little he realizes it.  The programmers look upon the suit with scorn, and either joke about him behind his back or simply take the route of pretending he isn't there.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A training plan, for running AND life

With a dog sled and a pack of eager huskies, a whole new
cross-training element could be added to your running this
time of year
It all started with a question about buttermilk.

Running has been going well since picking up with a true training plan a couple months ago.  Right now my approach is to run a minimum of four days per week, maximum six, and as you might expect, things tend to average out to running five days per week.  Sunday I view as the most significant run of the week, because that is when I do a run at my goal pace.  Monday night or Tuesday morning I'll just do some miles, Wednesday night I'll do a longer run with hills (to the extent that I can find them in Columbus), Thursday night I'll do some more miles, and then Saturday I'll do a slow mid-range run as I look ahead to the pace run the next day to start the cycle over again.  Friday is pretty much always going to be a day off, but Monday morning could involve a run if I really feel like it for some reason.  Although I'm trying to stick to this schedule fairly regularly, at times there will be a day when a refresher is needed, so on those days I'll do some jump rope in lieu of a run.

Hal Higdon's training plans recommend running slower than your goal pace on the Sunday run (which is the day of the week when you end up doing your longest runs), but I've found that I have to actually train at my goal pace if I'm going to then run at the goal pace on the day of the race.  Intuitively, my approach seems to make sense.  I think Higdon's perspective is that your body naturally ramps up for the day of the race due to a trained ability to conserve energy for when it's needed, but whether it's because I don't get "amped" for the day of the race or something else, this doesn't seem to work for me.  I'll feel most confident going into the day of the race believing I can run my goal pace if I've already run at that pace for significant distances in training.  The principle of starting slow and picking up the pace as you go along is sound, but running a full minute and a half slower than your goal pace while you're training?  Obviously Higdon is the expert (he's the one with the website about training plans, numerous books, and any number of disciples), but it's also important to customize with the things that work for you.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This post would be good to read at 10:00 and 2:00

The first snowfall, a yearly event closely followed by the
first complaint about people driving in the snow
The impetus for the topic of this blog post has not really come about in full force as yet, and the reason is global warming, or at least what people refer to as global warming whenever there is a relatively warm day from December through March.  As everyone knows, with a rising average temperature comes less snow year after year, because if it isn't cold, then there can't be snow.  Well, it has not yet snowed in Columbus this year.  As a result, a time-honored tradition of office conversation, social gatherings, and lone individuals talking to themselves everywhere has been put on hold.  This is the tradition of indignantly pointing out how people can't f*cking drive.

I'm sure you are familiar with this phenomenon regardless of your location, because it seems to me that everybody everywhere believes that their city, town, or village is a city, town, or village full of horrendously bad drivers.  Each year when there is a first snowfall, it is only a matter of time before someone feels compelled to point out that "there has been a first snowfall, and now we're all in for it, because when there's the least bit of snow on the ground people around here act likes it's a big deal and well, there's simply no other way to say it, people can't f*cking drive."  Usually it is the same person each year who makes this proclamation, followed by some self-satisfied laughter.

While this phenomenon is most prevalent during the winter when it snows, much like the Christmas spirit it need not be limited to just one season.  No, such statements can be bandied about year-round.  Whenever there is a bit of springtime rain, for example.  Or perhaps during the summer vacationing season when there is more traffic on the roads.  Another common occasion is when you're a bit late for work and people aren't going fast enough for your taste.  Also much like the Christmas spirit, such thoughts and feelings can be spread from person to person.  This could naturally culminate in everyone in a particular city, town, or village talking about how people in that particular city, town, or village can't drive, and everyone agreeing with each other on this point.

Friday, December 9, 2011

If you shop til you drop you have planned poorly

A hamlet such as this would be ideal,
because you could start by going uphill
and then take advantage of the downhill
later on in your shopping outing.
This evening's post comes to you from the Grandview Avenue Caribou Coffee in the lovely hamlet of Grandview, just northwest of downtown Columbus.  I am in Grandview this evening because it is one of several Columbus hamlets with a Main Street of sorts (or a main street, I suppose) with shops and restaurants all within easy walking distance of each other.  Hamlets like this are quite excellent in my view because they promote community, exercise (in the form of walking), commerce, creativity, and a host of other benefits.  I'm sure you can think of some for yourself.  Hamlets are a place where you feel good about yourself, where you feel like you're part of something special, where you want to spend time and not rush it.  This is in contrast to the world of big box, parking lot, frenzied pace, get-out-while-you-can suburbs and strip malls.  In other words, a hamlet is ideal for a little holiday shopping.

Mmmmm....Christmas hamlet.  So savory.

While I contrast shopping in the context of a hamlet with shopping in the context of suburban malls, I must say that my shopping approach in a hamlet is still "mission-style" shopping.  You could say that I take a very thorough approach to shopping.  This means checking every store, looking at every item, making a calculated decision, and then EXECUTE! EXECUTE! EXECUTE!.  Leave no stone unturned, because the stone you don't turn over may have the ideal gift underneath it, covered in moss and earthworms.  This isn't to say that if I do come across the ideal gift early on while shopping that I'll keep going.  I don't love shopping that much, and I'm no fool.  But I don't just pick and choose a few stores and then settle for what I can find in them.  Any store may surprise you with something you never thought you'd find, so every store deserves a look.  As you might expect, power-walking is not out of the question when mission-shopping, and it might even be essential.  I'm not an aggressive shopper, but you've got to move quickly and be efficient to get all the stores in.

Remember that all this is in the context of shops along just one to three streets in a hamlet, not striding through the vast wasteland of a mall.

Christmas hamlet.......mmmmm.......with potatoooooooes......

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A freshly pressed post just for you

Tradition! Here in our little village of
Anatevka, weaaaaaaahhhhh peepperrrrr
It is now the third day after Thanksgiving, and after hunkering down in our homemade bunker with 12 gallons of water and a shotgun during Black Friday, it's now time to come out and update the blog.  In truth, Dad and I actually ventured out mid-morning on Black Friday, but it was to get a few tools at places like the local hardware store and Sears, not to rush the gates at Best Buy and Target.  The hardware store and Sears were definitely busier than usual, but old fat guys looking at tools lends itself to more of a "milling" pace than a "rabid" pace.  And they keep their guns in the beds of their pickups trucks rather than bringing them into the store.

Black Friday shopping is not a tradition that our family has ever engaged in.  For me, it's rather unsettling to read about the latest religious-induced trampling at a temple or mosque in India or the Middle East, and then realize we have the same thing here....but for game consoles.  However, our family does participate in other standard Thanksgiving traditions, like consuming turkey, and napping, and being thankful for turkey and napping.  We also watch some football, that most celebrated of American sports, although sitting around watching TV compels us to get outside and exercise or do yard work for part of the day as well.  Because if there's a feeling that reverberates in our souls just as strongly as thankfulness, it's guilt.  Ha!