Access Denied

As of a few weeks ago I can no longer check on one of my favorite blogs  from work. When I attempted to read Pax Romano’s Ramblings the following ominous message appeared.

Access Denied (content_filter_denied)

Access to this webpage is restricted. URL: http://paxromano.blogspot.com/ 
Category: Adult/Mature Content 

Unfortunately for all of us, Pax is taking some time away from blogging so it will be hard to show you what you have been missing.”Adult Content”, what a joke.

Sure Pax has the occasional picture of a strapping young man scantily clad on the site. So? And yes, a frequent commenter is Miss Magnolia Thunderpussy who is as outrageous as they come.

Most of his posts are truly adult content. Topics often include:

  • politics (he leans left)
  • work at a social services agency in NJ
  • sharing tales of the serious illness of family members
  • his joy of horror movies
  • his hatred of snakes– the human kind
  • some of the most beautiful pictures of flowers and sunsets

 Pax brings humor, insight, and a unique perspective on the world to the blogosphere. This is the kind of adult content that my company’s systems should be forcing us to read…not denying it.

The Great Chicago Desert

From Dictionary.com

Desert, waste, wildernessDesert emphasizes lack of water

desert

The Village of Lincolnshire is a wealthy suburb north of Chicago best know for being the place where I work. Today it was a desert. No water. At least none that you could use.

There was a “boil water alert“. At work you could not use a drinking fountain, drink the coffee, get ice OR EVEN WASH YOUR HANDS. Thank the lord for swine flu. Without it there would not have been a large supply of hand sanitizer in the building. I would have been forced to drive to the nearest gas station every time I had to go to the bathroom.

By the end of the day my mouth was dry. I was thirsty and the vending machine was out of bottled water. Tomorrow. Bringing a canteen.

A desert. Right in the middle of the Chicago suburbs. And I was there.

Are There No Good Guys Left?

Famous people, especially actors, should not be looked to as role models. And yet few people know my friend Gary, my step father Fred or any of the other truly good guys in my world.

With actors especially it is easy to confuse the characters they play with the people they are.  And yet given all the press they get usually there is enough known about their private lives to think you know. So when I read that Morgan Freeman had an affair with his stepdaughter that started when she was a teenager, it saddens me. He certainly played many stand up guys. He had that reputation as well. Married to the same woman for 25 years. Maybe the car accident was Karma.

Mel Gibson’s fall from grace has been well documented. Woody and Soon-Yi.  John Edwards. Too many others to list.

All I can say is that I can take a slew of mediocre movies from Tom Hanks but finding out something that drops him from the Good Guys list would put me over the top.

As long as we are discussing famous prople as Good Guys, my thoughts go to Walter Cronkite who is 92 and reported today as being very ill.

And that’s the way it is.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Well, actually they can and they do on occasion, but not in this case.

It’s bike season…at least according to the calendar. The weather in Chicago continues to be crap. We will have a day here or there in the mid-to-upper 70s and then more cold weather. A dismal spring is hard to take especially following a terrible winter.

Yet I started biking in mid-April and rode each weekend except last weekend because between graduation, related activities and rain it just never happened. Most rides have been cold. I tend to layer 2 shirts and a jacket and I am still cold.

Today the weather could be described as adequate, it was in the 60s when I started and the 70s by the time I finished 3.5 hours later. I was wiped by the time it was over. My hope was that I would notice increased speed this week being that I rode my road bike for the first time this year. I had been on my mountain bike until this weekend partly because I preferred the wide tires in the semi-wet weather and partly because my rode bike needed some heavy maintenance. It had been 4 years and approximately 3,500 miles so it was time for a major tune up and some new parts. 

Every ride so far this year has been a struggle and had taken far longer than it should have. Today’s ride felt the same. I broke the 50 mile mark for the first time this year but averaged barely over 15 mph and with a stop after 30, it took 1:33. Once I get into a normal pattern I usually average much closer to 16 mph. Even 1 mph over 50+ miles makes a big difference. I have been depressed about my riding…one of the few things I count on for joy.

So here is where the numbers don’t lie comes in. Apparently mood and weather  impact perception. This is what I wrote on June 11,2007:

I have been adding 5 miles a week to my ride and topped out this week at 48.5. Average speed at a hair under 15 mph which included 8 minutes of nonride time, 6 for a break and a few stop lights.

And in that post titled June Rocks and Rolls I was having a great time and feeling strong about my riding. Yet, the numbers this year were slightly better. Go figure.

I suspect that a little sunshine and warmth are all I need to turn the attitude around. I am tracking to being ready for my annual century ride. 100 miles. Now that is a number that doesn’t lie.

ADHLAS

This is a new disorder. A serious one. I first read about it…now where did I see that. Was it the New England Journal of Medicine? Or maybe Science?

No, I remember now. It was part of the Michael Phillips’ review of the new X-Men movie. MP reviews movies for the Chicago Tribune. He wrote about the disorder ADHLAS as follows:

Wolverine” has been shot, cut and packaged for those afflicted with ADHLAS which, as you may know, stands for “attention deficit hey look a squirrel!”

Upon hearing of this I first thought of my buddy Frank. He can go from one subject to another faster than you can say– Look A Squirrel.

Unfortunately I am sometimes similarly afflicted.

Now what was I saying? Oh yeah. Wolverine grossed $85 million. I wish I had a lot of money. Lets all go to Tahiti.

Writer’s Block

Hemingway

Hemingway

You know how when athletes are ‘in the zone” they say everything seems to move more slowly, baseballs seem bigger to the hitters,basketball hoops are largerger for the shooters? The same goes for writers.

When I am in my zone,  I sense all sorts of things around me more clearly, I am making connections between seemingly disparate concepts and events, I process information and draw brilliant conclusions at warp speed. When It comes time to write seemingly clever strings of words jump out of my head faster than I can write them down.

The last month or so I have not been in the zone. I have not even been in the same zip code as my zone. Maybe not even in the same universe. Lots of reasons perhaps, none worth listing. I tend not to post when I am not feeling it.

In my third year of this blog the tendency has been to only write when I believe myself to be readworthy. But i miss it. I started this to do something other than what I do as a profession. Therefore, no more worrying about how professional my writing is at any moment in time. I am just going to write. I read somewhere that that is how Hemingway did it–though he also relied on long alcoholic binges as well which I will only try as a last resort.

So to all you readers, all 11 of you, stay tuned. It may get a little bit funky before I wind up back in the zone.

Anniversaries

Yes today is an historic day. The first African American President was elected today.

But that is not the sole reason why today made history. The election is a mere footnote next to the 2nd anniversary of 48Facets. Yes two years. Amazing. Many thought it could not be done but with the chant of Yes We Can ringing in my ears it has happened. It started in a small shack on November 4, 2006. After hundreds of emails to Frank asking how do you set these darn things up. It happened. First on Vox and now hosted by WordPress. We look forward to at least 4 more years.

Perhaps even more amazing in its own way is that yesterday was the 28th anniversary of my start in consulting. I began when I was 12 (my standard joke). Chris, who sits in the cubicle outside my office and does the same kind of work, was 3 months old when I started. I came to this career by accident and have wanted to find something else for many of these 28 years. But it turns out that I am good at what I do and Ihave no idea what else would maintain our modest standard of living. 28 years…and a day. Wow.

 

p.s. On a more serious note as I was contemplating my 2 years in the blogosphere I heard on NPR that November 4 was also the day that U.S. citizens at the Iranian embassy were taken hostage in 1979. Day 1 of their 444 days in captivity. The Iranian Hostage Crisis dominated the news and kept the 66 Americans in our hearts and minds for over a year. There but for the grace of G-d…

iranhostages2