song lyrics, Summer of Zimbra, Uncategorized 0 comments on Awe in Morality

Awe in Morality

“I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of man’s pride”
– William James
The Mammals, “Industrial Park”

Summer of Zimbra, Uncategorized 0 comments on Lessons from the Horse Track

Lessons from the Horse Track

I learned, or maybe I just re-learned it for the hundredth time, that what scares people beyond anything else is never being heard. Is having to realize that you spent 20, 40, 80 years on this earth, and no one once listened. And really, the problem isn’t that people don’t have things to say. It’s that we all have so much to say, that we forget to sometimes just shut up and listen. Some stories from the track

I asked an older gentleman how I should have played my exacta bet. For those who don’t know, the exacta is playing first and second in a given race. I had bet that the win would go to Rags to Riches. As a hedge, I bet that the exacta would be Curlin-Rags to Riches. The older gentleman explained that if I had boxed my bet, I would have paid the same money, but won much more. Lesson learned. Or so I thought. This gentleman had 7 teeth on his upper gum. I asked him how often he came to the track, and he said everyday. He told me a tale of three of his “personal” friends who came and lost $5,000 every week betting on horses. But it wasn’t a story about betting, but apathy. Imagine how much $15,000 a week could help this man. He just sits there and watches a nicer house, better food, higher quality medicine get thrown away because these guys have the money. “It doesn’t matter how bad it gets out there,” he says, “In here they do whatever they want.”

Or another gentleman from the Ukraine who tried to explain to me that if I bet 8-5-3 on every race, that I’d come out a millionaire. I didn’t ask him if he was in fact a millionaire, but I knew he wasn’t. I asked him his strategy. He gave me the history of every jockey in the 9th race at Hollywood Park today. “I used to bet on him, and he’d win every time. Not anymore. Now he can’t even place.” His thick accent took getting used to, but it was easy to see that he just wanted someone to understand why he lost. He lost because he couldn’t rig the game as well as the winners do. But he always had 8-5-3, and I sat and watched with him as that trifecta won him $52 for a $2 bet on his last race of the day.

These guys, and many more like them, come to the track everyday and know more about horse racing than I might learn in a lifetime. And all they want to do is share. They think that if someone remembers their ideas or their strategies they become immortal. And maybe they’re right, maybe that’s the closest we’ll ever get. All I know is that I’m going to start watching for 8-5-3 winning combinations, and hope that old Ukrainian becomes a millionaire.

Oh yeah, and my horse won the Belmont Stakes making me a cool $10.60 for a $2 bet. Very nice.

Summer of Zimbra, Uncategorized 0 comments on Water Aerobics and more

Water Aerobics and more

Laugh if you want, but it’s true. I’m doing water aerobics to help stay in shape this summer. I just don’t think anyone understands how hard it is unless they try it. Especially when you are as conducive to floating as I am, which essentially means you sink. The real secret to water aerobics is pushing yourself. Some of the more “experienced” (read, older) classmates of mine have shoes and gloves that don’t let the water through cracks between your fingers and toes. That is by no means an insignificant amount of force that you’re adding to your exercise. Water is a beast when it wants to resist. If it can carve the Grand Canyon, then it can definitely carve me up. That’s the theory at least.

The nice thing about people who do water aerobics is that they’re all chill. Maybe it’s because anything else is too much work. There’s no intense yelling, screaming, etc. that is usually associated with aerobics. Or maybe I’m just afraid that I’d get my ass kicked if I did standard aerobics. Either way, I’m very happy with my decision to hop in the pool.

Some crucial points though:

  • An important part of becoming a regular at a gym is deciding to get over the fact that everyone walks around the locker room naked. That’s right, it’s unavoidable. There will be naked people in the locker room. Do you stare? Of course not, who stares?
  • No mirror in the world will make you look as good as you think you look. This might seem like a statement of arrogance or whatnot, but I’m serious. I’m a really good looking guy, just not in any mirror I’ve ever seen. Amazing how that works.
  • There will inevitably be girls who can lift more than you. It’s okay. They’ve been lifting since before you knew the difference between kilograms and pounds. And if you continue to make up fictional statements like the previous statement, somehow you find a way to quickly get over the fact that you’re pretty much starting from scratch.
  • As soon as you admit you’re starting from scratch you jump a HUGE egotistical hurdle. What’s important to remember is that each time you should beat yourself. If you ran for 10 minutes on Wednesday, run for 15 minutes on Friday. Lots of baby steps over a disciplined cycle of exercise will lead to a good result.

That’s really it for my gym musings. I think having a gym one-mile down the road from work is great. I’ve made work the hub of my life, and the place where my bed is happens to just be thirty minutes down the road. I was pretty sure that it was going to work that way anyway, but things are working out so far. What more could I ask for?

Summer of Zimbra, Uncategorized 0 comments on Just Some Thoughts

Just Some Thoughts

My “Summer of Zimbra” has reached day 2. It actually progressed through a full T-14 days of cross country road travel, but I haven’t really gotten my head completely around that yet. I also haven’t quite figured out what it means to be a college graduate. I know there are all sorts of positives, but all I really want is for the feeling to sink in. That takes a lot longer than I thought it would.

I think working for a smaller company rocks. I did it my first summer, and I’m doing it my last summer. You can constantly learn. I think that’s what makes this experience great. On the flip side, it’s grown enough to where I don’t think I’m going to learn everything. The new trend in online is going offline, and I think that that’s an area I won’t get to touch. It would be cool to learn what that entails as it’s being developed, but that might end up being self initiated. A big win for me is that my project is very customer facing. Upped responsibility, which will hopefully equate to upped reward. So far, so good.