No volunteers were harmed in the making of this post





Us_appledu

 (At least I don't think so… Dang. Maybe I should've stuck around longer to check.)

I love the Apple Duathlon.

Don't get me wrong, there are significant portions that I hate. But, much like a bowl of Lucky Charms, the good outweighs the bad and the end result is one of my favorite things. And this year was extra special because, for the first time, I got to share that love with my wife.*

And, since every year's Apple race seems to include some dramatic/traumatic story, here's this year's:

Not quite halfway through the 20+-mile bike course, at the top of a long, gentle hill in the town of St. Stephen, there's a water station. It's staffed by some of the (dozens? hundreds?) of bright-shirted volunteers that help make this race so great. The folks at this water station were dedicated to keeping the cyclists hydrated and rolling. That's a tough job. I can't say I'd be any good at it. I've never done it. I've worked at a water station on a run course before and I have trouble enough with that. Add another 10-15 mph to the moving targets and I'm not sure I'd be any good at it.

So I am in no way calling out this un-named kid for his performance. I love that he was in there trying.

As I approached and made eye contact, he started out strong: standing on the shoulder of the road with the glass of water fully extended to his right side. No problem. But the closer I got, the more that right arm crept in toward his body until, by the time I was within a few feet of him, he was holding the cup right out in front of himself.

Like a pilot making an ill-fated carrier landing, I instantly realized this wasn't going to go well and I should alter my course quickly. I gave up on the water and slipped my right hand back onto my handlebars to help swerve and avoid hitting the bewildered young man. I'm pretty sure I managed to do that — I don't remember any contact… At least not any contact to an extent that may have proven to be injurious to my noble Aquarius. But my quick veer to the left, combined with an unfortunate overcorrection to the right (caused in part by the fact that I now had one hand on a handlebar and the other down on the aero bars) sent me bouncing into the curb and sliding on my shoulder across one of St. Stephen's lovely, well-manicured lawns (sorry, homeowner).

All in all, no harm done. I stumbled to my feet, looked back at the stunned kid (still holding the cup of water) and mumbled something (in the most positive, encouraging, supportive voice I could muster) about trying to make sure and keep the cups extended to the side. And by the time I turned around, one of the other volunteers (a bike guy, thank you Apple) had my bike up, my chain back on, and was holding it steady for me to climb back aboard. Not much time lost. But a fun war story to tell at Charlie and Jenni's afterparty!

*Corinne and Gina combined to run/ride the race as a team. For Gina, that meant biking in a race she'd sworn never to ride again. For Corinne, it meant taking the 5K run that was a stretch goal just a few months ago…and running it twice. I was so fantastically proud of her. You can't even imagine. And when we found out that her time on the first 5K beat her time from her Earth Day run, I think even she was proud!

FYI, in case you're curious, here are our results.

My overall place was 73 out of 238. I was #75 on the first run at 21:25 (6:54 pace). First transition was 1:08. Then I was #65 on the bike at 58:31 (21.0 mph according to them…my computer said 21.4). Second transition was 1:12. Then, on the gut-check second run, I was #74 at 23:49 (that's 7:40 pace). So my overall time was 1:46:04.

I was pretty happy with it. Not a PR – that was 1:43:58 in 2008 (but everything was faster in 2008) – but still my second-fastest Apple time.

Corinne's first run was 31:11 (10:02 pace). Then Gina took off on the bike and turned in a 1:09:48 (17.6 mph, though her computer said 17.9). Then Corinne brought it all home in the heat with a second run of 34:46 (11:12 pace). So their total time was 2:16:52. And I certainly can't forget to mention Eric and Jodi's team time of 1:39:00. Eric's bike time of 52:36 (23.4 mph) totally blew by me. Nice job to you guys and all our House of Pizza friends! Great race everyone.

<img alt="Molly & Priya being super-cute. Only picture I have from this year's Apple." border="0" class="asset asset-image

at-xid-6a010534d45b94970b0133ef5b064a970b ” src=”http://skoog.typepad.com/.a/6a010534d45b94970b0133ef5b064a970b-500pi” style=”margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; display: block;” title=”Molly & Priya being super-cute. Only picture I have from this year's Apple.” />




Fritz de Quervain was so damned arrogant



Brace

For a few months now, Corinne's been having this persistent pain in her wrist/thumb. My first prescription from the Greg Skoog first aid kit is the same as the first tool in the Greg Skoog home repair kit — patiently ignoring it. Maybe it'll just stop.

Worth a try, but no luck.

So she finally goes in to the doctor and she diagnoses Corinne with De Quervain's Syndrome — also known as Washerwoman's Wrist. (Have you seen our house? I totally want a second opinion.) It's also commonly referred to as Blackberry Thumb. (Oh, that makes much more sense.)

For those of you scoring at home, this is exactly the diagnosis Corinne predicted. Which is crazy. Obviously she should be a doctor. She should also be a lawyer. And a CPA. But who the hell am I kidding? We can't even get her an art director title.

The doctor (the credentialed one, not the one to whom I'm married) prescribed wearing this dark, gothic wrist brace (pictured above) at night in bed. Not exactly dungeon gear, but we'll work with it.

Anyway, while doing my in-depth research for this post (cuz I'm absolutely thorough that way), I noticed this little gem:

It is named after the Swiss surgeon Fritz de Quervain who first identified it in 1895. It should not be confused with "de Quervain's thyroiditis", another condition named for the same person.

Another condition named for the same person? Really? So this cocky-and-prolific little guy discovers two horrific maladies of the human condition…and names them both after himself? Isn't that just a little pretentious?

Here's my question though: So he's got a Syndrome. And he's got a Thyroiditis. If, perchance, he was to stumble upon another disorder, what would he name it? Obviously it's going to start with De Quervain's. But what's the modifier? Plague? Demensia? Scurvy?




Dumbest movie ever or valuable creative experiment? It’s all in your perspective


What does 40 Days and 40 Nights mean to you? If you said, "The saddest statement on the human condition ever recorded on film," I really don't think I'd argue with you. Okay, I'll admit I've never actually SEEN the 2002 Josh Hartnett tour de force, 40 Days and 40 Nights, but the sheer stupidity of its very premise doth vex me greatly.

For Pete's sake, it's supposed to be about this guy who gives up sex for lent. Seriously? 40 days? That's a dry spell? Guess I should dust off that screenplay I was working on about my life in college. I call it 4 Years.

But I digress.

If you were to ask me today what 40 Days and 40 Nights means to me, I'd say a totally valuable creative experiment. Forty days was the challenge Corinne gave me to post an entry every day to this blog. And of course I'd call it a totally valuable creative challenge tonight, because tonight is the 40th! That means tomorrow I don't have to come up with anything to post here (though I totally should, just to screw with you guys).

How'd it go? Well, it was kind of its own small-scale model of life. Some days were crappy and I looked like an idiot in front of everyone. (That's actually incorrect. When you suck on your blog, it's not in front of everyone. In fact, no one comes to watch.)

Crappy day examples include Epic Fail, Sixword Memoir and Blah.

Some days were troubled. And I struggled with how much of a tool for therapeutic cleansing I should make out of this public forum. On one hand, I know there's potential for fun, voyeuristic reading there. And it often made for a high hit total at the end of the day. On the other hand, I can't help feeling like it's none of your damned business. Examples? Butt the hell out. (Just kidding. How about And it was good, Try Harder and Try Harder Redux?)

Some days were sporty, like You really oughta tri, Discomfort? Agony? Nice day for it, Overcoming self-doubt and Sweet agony.

And some days were funny (at least to me), like Man Date, Does God Really Love Us and Plumb Loco.

In case you're curious, the top three days in terms of traffic were What's the difference between a dad and an uncle, Bear with me and Sweet agony.

And, obviously you weren't curious about the bottom three days in terms of traffic: How early is too early, Epic Fail (tied with 'How Early'), Sixword Memoir and Discomfort? Agony? Nice day for it.

So no more daily posts. But if you're thinking I'm going to completely settle back into quiet anonymity, you've obviously not met my wife. I've already agreed to my next challenge: two posts per week for six months. I'm thinking Sundays and Wednesdays, but I don't want to lock myself in like that yet. (Probably best if you just check back here every single day, just in case. Right?)


Blah


That's right, I said blah. That's what I've got tonight, and that's all I've got. I've got nothing else.

No insightful thoughts. No witty observations. No clever turns of a phrase. My tabula is completely rasa.

Sure hope it changes by tomorrow morning. The Creative Memories product catalog has gaping holes that continue to cry out for copy, and the press date is looming.

Going to get to sleep and dream prolific dreams. Wish me luck.




Can you still call it a “garage” if it’s cleaner than my kitchen?


Went to the annual Garage Door Open at our friends Matt and Kristie's tonight. Fantastic time. Fun people. Great taco bar. Twins win (even though they choked a late-inning lead and needed extras to beat the lowly Brewers, it was fun to have it stretch so late that I had people to cheer for the victory with).

My predominant thought as I was sitting in a comfortable chair, enjoying the breeze of the ceiling fan and munching on a nice, warm, overstuffed taco, was, "Wow. Um… If I could just wheel in a little double cot, this would totally beat the hell out of our bedroom."

See, I love Matt. But he's a little anal. How anal? Well, for example, he's built a garage for his garbage can.


19708310774_ORIG

This is Matt's garden.


19708282915_ORIG

And these are the cute little signs with which Matt labels every row in his garden.


19708296452_ORIG

So it should come as no surprise that his "garage" looks like this.


19708166859_ORIG

Ridiculous. I love it, and I'm totally jealous of it. But I'm jealous because I wish it could be my living room…not my garage. This just isn't a garage. I'm not even sure I could bring myself to pull my car into this space. Here — let me show you a garage.


Rack_weapons

(weapons of mass destruction) Crockpotcompressor


Deadanimals


Beerposter

Thanks for the party, Matt and Kristie. Loved the garage. But I'll keep parking in mine.*

*Just kidding. My truck's parked on the slab outside because there are too many bikes, scooters and skateboards scattered around my side of the garage.




Start decorating for Gopi Day, Sartell


Went to Sartell Middle School today to cheer on Molly and Josh on the occasion of their graduation from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. Very cool. Very proud.


2

But when they'd finished handing out the last of the certificates, they launched into the surprise highlight of the afternoon. It was a Gopi pepfest.

Gopi Ramanathan is a sixth grader at SMS. I met him once, back when Molly was in elementary school and I came to volunteer and read stories at a literature circle (which is almost, but not completely, unlike a beatnik poetry slam) . He was in my group of five or six kids and I remember him as being a bright, engaging, but not obnoxiously-know-it-all kid.

So now he's a sixth grader and on Sunday he and his family will take off for D.C. to represent all of Minnesota at the National Geography Bee (which I've decided is 10 times cooler than that lame-ass spelling bee).

That's all great. Very excited for him. But what really refreshed my faith in humanity was the way the school and the town came together to send him off.

It was cool when they called Gopi up out of the sea of sixth graders to recognize him in front of his class and all the parents. It was cooler when the Go Gopi signs started showing up. It was even cooler when the sixth graders started scooting over so the fifth graders could come join in. But when the sixth grade band came in and we all started stomping the bleachers for We Will Rock You and chanting Gopi's name during Rock 'n' Roll Part 2, I couldn't help smiling. And when Mayor Tim O'Driscoll stepped up to proclaim this coming Tuesday to be Gopi Day, I kind of got goosebumps.

Here's why: It was an old-school, archetypical pep rally. And there wasn't a quarterback in sight. So, did the teachers, the parents, the cops and the mayor all get pretty jacked up that this young man from Sartell is on his way to compete on such a grand stage? Of course they did. This is the kind of stuff that teachers, parents, cops and mayors gobble up on toast. The thing that sent me over the top was how revved up those kids were. All of them. Cheering like mad for a kid who knows enough about geography to find his way to Washington, D.C.

So mark your calendars, Sartell. The GeoBee starts on Tuesday, so that's Gopi Day. Way to go, humanity!




Kara-off-key


As every parent will tell you, hate is a strong word.

So there aren’t many things in life that I’ll consistently say that I hate. I hate the Yankees and the Lakers. I hate when the cat craps right outside the litter box because someone’s been too lazy to clean it. I hate mayonaise. And I hate karaoke.

I really do. Even more than those other things I mentioned. (Except the Yankees. Man, do I hate the Yankees.) Karaoke takes a perfectly delightful bar/restaurant atmosphere and shouts it down in sad, monotonous, red-necky voices.

Corinne and I decided to sneak out for an hour tonight after we got the kids into bed and grab a late dinner and a cheap late-night happy hour drink at the Blue Line. We split the half-pound bacon cheeseburger and it was awesome. Although I’ll warn you, you do need to carefully under-order on your cooking preference. Otherwise, it’s a hockey bar – they’ll serve you a hockey puck. We had a couple of woefully weak Morgan Diet Cokes, but all in all, dinner was lovely.

The problem was that we’d planned on talking (since, unlike most days when we’re both in the office, we hadn’t seen each other hardly at all today) and I planned on using the Wi-Fi to do this post. (Well, not this post. I was toying with something about how I’m worried that one of our daughters is in serious danger of growing into a bitter, self-righteous, judgmental little pill. And I’m having trouble talking her out of it. Or maybe she's just being a teenager.)

That didn’t happen, however, because there were too many drunken yahoos violating the microphone. (Dear God, I hope they were drunk. My faith in humanity demands that I assume they were drunk.) Too loud. Too obtrusive. Too terrible. Plus, let’s face it. I love Corinne dearly, but she’s a low talker. She just is.

Now, for the sake of clarity, let’s verify that, yes, I am getting old. And I am reaching the point where I’m occasionally tempted to complain about the volume of the music in bars. I don’t, but I’m tempted. But at least when it’s real music it sounds good. Honestly, if I wanted to hear terribly off-key, talentless crooning, I’d take a shower.

So I hate to complain, but is this fad getting close to passing? Are we almost done with this stuff? Or is this a bigger phenomenon than I give it credit for? Are we at least getting close to the point where we can back down from two nights every week to just one? Please?