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December 2016

The blues.

The Rich DelGrosso book (linked at right) is a revelation, at least in the first few exercises. I have done something similar to this in my brief study of jazz guitar, but I really feel like this will help me take great leaps and bounds in my playing. People forget about blues' connection to bluegrass, but read anything about Bill Monroe and you'll learn the truth.

Plus, as though I needed to tell anyone, the blues is the foundation of rock and roll. So while I've mostly been doing these exercises on an acoustic mandolin, I'm fixin' to bust out my J. L. Smith electric and run that bad boy through my amp. As much as I'd like to be unplugged, my DNA has unshakeable electric rock and roll on the double helix.

Bustin' the deuce.

I recall David Letterman referring to his weight getting over 200 pounds as "bustin' the deuce." As I recall, he used that metric as incentive to drop that weight and get in better shape generally. (And that was before his quintuple-bypass at age 52.)

I am shorter than he is (he's 6'2"; I'm 5'9"), older than he was at the time of his bypass, and yes, I'm bustin' the deuce. I am trying to follow the advice I read a few weeks ago (either here or someplace else) about weighing oneself on Wednesday. Having done that, I'm at 204 right now. Sweet Jesus: I just looked up my BMI, and I'm now officially in the "obese" category.

I've got to move more towards eating vegetarian/vegan meals. That's not the solution for everybody, but it's the one that I feel will move me towards the change I want.

Ah, completion of something. About time.

Even as I was waiting for the start of the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, my primary thought was: My back. This is going to be a problem.

And it was, though in the persistent-dull-ache category, so anytime I felt like walking another half-mile through a water stop, I did.

But here are my general takeaways from the race:

Good course. Mostly flat--flat enough that the very minor hills seem like mountains out of nowhere.

Good support. Nuun and water at every stop. GU was promised, but I never saw it, but that's not a big deal in a half-marathon. Should've brought my own, anyway. (Unofficial but much appreciated course support: a microbrew had half-cups of its fine product. Yes!)

Emotional boosts: 1. Running through St. Jude and getting high-fives, cheers, and thanks from a patient in a wheelchair and lots of families of patients. 2. A young woman in her twenties holding a sign that said, "Because you run, I am a survivor." I teared up a bit at that one. 3. My oldest son holding a sign that said, "My Dad: My Hero from Day 1." Yeah, 'bout cried there, too. I am a lucky man.


Half-Marathon. It should be manageable.

Really, I think this may only be the second time I'll have been running since my disastrous crash-out in October. But I am doing the St. Jude Half Marathon in Memphis this coming Saturday.

I am told this is a flat course and an enjoyable run. A few days ago, the weather forecast called for rain; today, it says there will only be a 5% chance of rain. Should be about 40 degrees at the start, which I find quite tolerable, as long as I'm dressed appropriately.

Plus, I'll be spending Friday evening with friends and Saturday afternoon with my son (and, presumably, his girlfriend, who will be running the race as well).

Hopefully, a successful race Saturday will be the end-of-the-year silver lining of a dark-cloud-heavy 2016.