Saturday, March 5, 2011

Now that...

Now that I have been accepted to medical school (yay!), it's high time to rejuvenate this blog.  The cold weather in Buffalo has broken, hopefully for good, but it's hard to say, since this type of two-days-decent-one-week-cold has been happening for the past month or so.

While my running has suffered over the past month, my writing has just started to pick up.  I began a story, which is going to be very hard to write, and will eventually require a gigantic amount of editing.  I think I have gotten onto something here, but it's one of those times where I'll have to keep throwing stuff onto a page and hoping a few words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and finally chapters coalesce into a cohesive whole that is not an inconsistent work.

Also, I looked back on how much poetry I have written, and saved to my computer, and it's quite a good deal...maybe 35 to 40 works.  About half of these are terrible, just written because I could, and not anything to be impressed at.  Most of those "terrible" works are sonnets, where the flow of the lines is bad and the subject matter is badly expressed.  But there are some, the ones most recently written, that have some promise.  So, I will start to compile those into a corpus, then set a dichotomy between the ones I like and the ones that could have promise when they are completely rehashed and written over again.

So, that is the goal for March.  Also to start running on a daily basis again.  More to follow. G.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Concerning the American Anger

So the Republicans took over the House of Representatives, but not the Senate.  They won several state gubernatorial elections.  However, I think this is far from a "notable" victory.

"The American people", so-called by whoever wins the election that year, are vacillating.  Heavily shifting between parties, trying desperately to figure out who is speaking the truth, and who is going to give them the best option for personal safety and security.  Look at 2006, for instance, and 2008.  Then, the Republican president had gone too far in one direction, seeking aggressive expansion in the world sphere, especially the Middle East, and negative results bogged him, and his party, down.  He lost control of Congress for the rest of his presidency.  Then, the GOP lost the presidency.  "The American people" had spoken...but really, anyone with a decent political understanding realized that people didn't want to see what McCain might do different than Bush.  They already knew it would be much similar.  So, they decided to take Barack Obama.  It was time for a change, everyone said.  Nobody really cared what sort of change.

Two years later, Barack Obama has lost control of the House of Representatives, and the supermajority in the Senate is now gone.  However, this revolution/Divine Mandate (vox populi, vox Dei!) is hardly a rousing cry that attracted everyone to a "Don't Tread on Me" banner, and vote to be led by a bunch of hatchet-bearing Indians dumping fragrant leaves into Boston Bay.  Look at New York, for example.  Never mind that it is a bastion of Democratic leadership.  Both incumbent Democratic senators rolled over their Republican counterparts.  Landslide victories there, landslide victory in the gubernatorial campaign.  In the same county where Carl Paladino (GOP) gained a majority of the vote, Rep. Brian Higgins (D) got 60%.  Discrepancy, I'll say.  Seems more like Paladino had the home-town support, rather than a rousing Erie County Republican uprising.  Harry Reid won in Nevada; sure, it was a nail-biter for him, but he still is Majority Leader in the Senate.  No harm done for him.  Delaware held blue, not that it was a challenge given how badly prepared the competition was.

If there is a change in the winds, it is slow in coming, and slow in taking effect.  More than enough people are content with voting "party line".  There is a small percentage of Americans who are 1) willing to change allegiances, and 2) stay informed as to the best choice for office.  Forget that most people neglect to come out and vote in the first place.  What one notices in American politics is a sense of oligarchy: the same people come out, year after year, to run for office.  If they lose, it is a blow, but they always have jobs waiting as political analysts, party chairpersons, and so forth.  Take Eliot Spitzer, disgraced governor of NYS.  Now, he is on CNN, running a talk show as a co-host.  Not a bad grab for a hypocrite who signed laws against corruption and prostitution with one hand, and with the other was paying top dollar for the best call-girl he could get.  With such people running for office, it is often less of a question of who people want being elected, as much as whom people think is least dangerous. 

And so this continues.  80% of voters (who turn out) usually do not change party affiliations, regardless of the circumstance.  The 20% who comprise the real race between candidates are partly composed of the centrists/moderates, and partly of apathetic party-liners whom the candidates persuade to vote.  There is little of real debating going on.  There is a good deal of posturing. 

Be angry, America.  Be angry for not having done enough, or having lost what you had gained.  A few years, a few change economic changes, and the people who voted you in, or out, will be more than willing to reverse the vote and keep the snowball rolling.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Exercising without outside influences

I have the bad habit of running while listening to music.  Besides the fact that I might become deaf within a few decades if I keep blasting sound into my eardrums, it also creates a false aura around my exercise.  While competing in actual races, I do not listen to music.  If I want there to be any semblance of continuity between practicing and racing, I should try to simulate actual race conditions, and not listen to music, while on a normal run.  There are also rules against this during NCAA competitions and USATF (USA Track and Field) road races, especially while competing for prize money or whatnot.  

So there are rules against listening to music.  There is probably a reason behind this; namely, that music empowers a person to do more, or go faster, while working out or running.  I have found this to be true while merely driving or sitting.  A good song or musical piece will ready me for hard work.  I think the ancient Greeks went into battle to music, played in one certain mode that prepared them psychologically for battle.

That can work for pre-workout or pre-race rituals.  Listening to music during the preparation can ready one's mind.  However, growing used to working out while at the same time listening to such music is not as good of an idea.  The body grows used to work while listening to the music.  It will be harder (not impossible but more difficult) to conquer a difficult race course while silent, with the only sounds those coming with feet pounding on the ground, etc.

Someone once told me that running is a spiritual activity.  One becomes closer to Nature, and God, while working to exhaustion.  Music merely will get in the way, especially if indulged in too much. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Musings

So, no surprise here, but the Buffalo Bills are playing terrible football.  Happens when the quarterback waits to throw the ball, while his offensive line disintegrates like a glass bowl swept off a buffet table.  Terrible stuff.

Anyways, speaking of sports, why do we like them so much?  Is it because we have a desire to attain excellence in terms of physical feats?  Probably.  There is so much that humans can accomplish, yet do not, because of the trouble that it takes to do it.  Animals, on the other hand, only do these things because of necessity or need.  For example, in the wild, no deer trains for escape from predators, but only goes about this action because of an immediate need: the imminent attack and the necessity of escape.  Even dog or horse racing (and dog fighting, even) takes training, but because a human places the need upon the animal for training to win.  In short, no animal voluntarily signs up for high school football.

Humans, however, have the ultimate choice whether or not to engage in sports.  Even in a primitive civilization, sports are still ways to prepare, train, and compete.  Most people do not try racing after prey; we see and understand our limitations as compared to much more athletic animals.  However, given the decent levels of parity between humanity, it is worthy to challenge each other in sports.  The stress and intensity of the battle between people occurs on two levels, physical and mental.

The physical is obvious.  Whoever trains well, combined with bodily talent, ends up victorious...except when the mental portion comes into the fight.

Mental strength, or willpower, is the type of force that can actually transcend physical pain.  This can raise the body's ability to act beyond its normal parameters.  Similar to an adrenaline rush, a positive attitude ("believing in yourself") helps release positive endorphins and set the body to perform at the very peak of its ability.  This can be the difference between a simply average day of athletic performance, and amazing work.  It helps underdogs defeat heavily favored opponents.  Of course, at one point or another, the body will break down, and no amount of will can force it to do any more.

In a way, though, the mind is the final word in terms of how an athlete ends up performing, because the mind decides the training routines, and whether the body will follow it correctly or even at all.  Therefore, a good athlete must have strength of purpose, and a powerful will, that allows him to defeat his body's cries to stop, and proceed to the finish line of success.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Start

It's almost been two years since I worked on this, but now I should be posting more regularly. 

I'd like to spend the next few months focusing on politics and the pop culture world.

Pax et bonum.