Nowhere to go but down.

I just spent two days lying around. Not by choice, but because my hamstrings were cramping up from spending 13 hours in an ER gurney and 14 hours in a hospital bed. Somehow that weird semi-sitting-up position isn’t great for hip flexors and, for me, cramped up my upper hamstrings. I got a massage yesterday and the LMT told me that she had a similar problem because of her bent-over position. That weird hip hinge, whether standing or lying down, seems to be hard on the psoas and hip flexors.

I was in the ER overnight for observation due to a headache that usually resolves on its own but they found something they wanted to keep an eye on. That meant checking on me every few hours but little else. Of course every few hours also happened in the middle of the night. I’m now restricted to nothing more strenuous than walking or swimming for six months.

As you can expect, that means I have to find another hobby, as I spent a lot of time in the second half of the previous year either doing or thinking about Judo. Honestly, though, an old man with old man reflexes is probably going to have a hard time taking up something like Judo if he didn’t do it in his youth. At least the falling part. Boy howdy did I enjoy it while I could. And I’m probably not in top physical condition for recovery. Who knows what my medications are doing to me?

So if you see somebody walking around looking lost, it might be me. I’m good at it.

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What’s Grand Central Baking doing?

There’s a bakery in Portland that makes artisan breads (or, in other words, more expensive than normal bread) and they also have a chain of cafes that serve coffee, sandwiches, pastries, and bread. As you’d figure. I was annoyed when I found out that they were closing the cafe closest to me because, well, it’s the one closest to me. My mom likes going, too.

They’re closing to expand the actual baking operation, but I complained on twitter (since I know they’re on there) and they told me to go to the next closest store. Unfortunately, that also requires getting on the freeway and making three lane changes on a busy bridge. That’s three lane changes each way.

Then I read their notice and they said they really want to be in a “walkable neighborhood”. That’s just great but most of the people I see on Sunday morning (when I usually go) are elderly like my mom and are most likely driving to a bakery.

And today when I went I heard rumors that the cafe staff isn’t getting relocated, but are all being laid off.

I know the owners of Grand Central are supposed to be nice (my sister went to school with a couple of them and they’re friends of her friends) but this just sounds like a series of dick moves.

And, honestly, I am glad that I have the time to have something so minor annoy me but seriously, can’t someone NOT be a douchebag?

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Be careful what you wish for.

Earlier this year I actually went on a date. Several to be honest, but my after four dates she just disappeared. Fortunately she didn’t feel the need to tell me about my failings like other women did after three or four dates and I was spared some of my usual humiliation.

Even after just four dates I was more despondent than normal and this made me think that I needed to change things around in my life. Nothing drastic as I’m too old for too much drama and also require a stable job with health insurance to stay on the right side of the turf, but something had to change. So I quit the gym that I’d been going to five times a week for years and deleted everyone from my Facebook account though this hurt nobody but myself.

I joined 24-hour Fitness and found that to be a crowded mess. I also applied for entry to an expensive athletic club in my neighborhood, one that I swore I’d never join (just being on the wait list cost me several thousand dollars). I also ended up working some late hours because I had nowhere else to go. I also joined a local Judo club, where I got hurt and had to decide whether the risk was worth it.

Oddly enough, things worked out pretty well. I’m taking Judo slowly because I’m an injury-prone old man, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I even earned a promotion that I’m working at living up to and I’m also trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, something I was avoiding for years. Working longer hours paid off and things are going smoothly at work (as smoothly as can be expected). And I made it onto the wait-list and in a couple of years I may be able to pay a lot of money to see what the inside of the expensive athletic club looks like.

At least things are a little different, kind of interesting, and looking up. I hope your year was just as good (those four people who might read this.)

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Apple is torturing me.

Both of you who read my nonsense know that I buy a new iPhone every time it comes out. I’ve got a stack of old iPhones starting with the iPhone 2. And being extra-stupid I’ve been buying the extra-expensive unlocked phones so I can use them when I go to Japan. Unfortunately, the last phone that I own that has the Japanese Technical Regulations Conformity Certification is the iPhone 4s. So my iPhone 5 and 5s aren’t really legal to use in Japan and I have no idea if a 6+ will be any different. In any case I’ll end up carrying a stack of phones again; one with my regular US phone SIM card, one with a rented Japanese SIM card from Softbank so I can call Japanese numbers without dialing internationally, and one with a data-only SIM card so I can get wireless data for cheaper.

I am waiting for my new, ridiculously large iPhone 6+ to put into that rotation and Apple is messing with me again. First they sent an email saying it would arrive Monday October 6th. Then they said Thursday the 2nd. Then there’s an email switching it back to Monday the 6th. Tonight I’ve not only gotten a cryptic email saying my package didn’t make the flight is delayed until Tuesday the 7th but I just got another one that said it’s coming tomorrow afternoon.

Did I mention that I’m back at judo? Even bought a 10’ x 5’ roll-out mat to use to practice something or another at home. Probably practicing how to sit seiza for more than a minute at a time. I did try some ukemi on it and it’s actually kind of nice. It would’ve been even nicer if I actually measured the living room and realized that a 10’ x 5’ mat barely fits in there.

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I’m supposed to quit judo.

I never did mention about how much my head hurt one night after judo practice, how it got to the point where I was lying on the mat, and that I thought I was going to throw up driving home from judo practice. But I did mention it to my doctor. He, as a specialist, thought the worst due to pre-existing conditions and sent me in for an MRI. What I got from the MRI was good news and bad news.

The good news: IT’S NOT A TUMOR. (This should be a familiar quote to those old enough to have seen Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

The bad news: my doctor told me that I may have had a subdural hematoma at some point and that I should avoid judo until they knew more.

I was sent to a neurosurgeon, who told me everything was fine, nothing abnormal in my brain, and I was getting better so there was nothing I should do about any of it EXCEPT I was supposed to QUIT JUDO. Think of all the football players having problems, he said.

This wasn’t exactly the best news, as I’m having a lot of fun practicing judo. I’m not especially good, but it’s still fun and I’m hooked. Besides, I don’t think I got this from any actual “hard judo” but when I knocked my head into another guy’s head while we were learning how to do a certain ground maneuver where we pulled a guy onto his back. During “normal judo” I would’ve taken a fall and my head wouldn’t have the chance to strike anything hard. I also had headaches before that, but those went away when I got a massage. I’m pretty sure it’s due to a stiff neck and besides, my dad had a history of headaches too. And, it’s not like I’m an NFL football player who has to go hard every time, every game, every practice, for years and years.

I called my sister who said people get told to quit running, too and nobody seems to listen to that nonsense. (She’s a big runner for the one or two people who might possibly read this who don’t know her.) Since I also had a disagreement at work the same day, her suggestion was that I should shut the hell up and be nicer at work because after I get all drooly and feeble at the end of my life doing judo, she was going to put me in a home and she wasn’t going to pay for that shit so I better have some money saved up.

MY DECISION IS TO QUIT JUDO.

For one month. Plus, I decided to start counting the month at the day I think I got my possible head injury so that means I’m starting back up next Monday. Or maybe Sunday, since we have kata class on Sunday.

I hope all of you (the half-dozen readers of this blog) support me in my decision.

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That certainly wasn’t pleasant.

Most of my recent disasters are too predictable to mention. Headaches from being thrown too hard. Achy knees hurt from falling on them. Mat burns on my elbows and knees. Abrasions on my feet. I could’ve taken up something easier than Judo, but my earlier idea, ballroom dancing, probably is just as bad. Or the banjo. I’m sure someone would’ve hurt me if I kept playing the banjo.

More unpleasant was my main server going down with a hard drive failure. I was able to pull off a bunch of data before it really, truly decided it was dead today but two days of trying to set things back up and getting them working again was a large pain in the ass. At first I thought it was some nefarious hackers, but I’m pretty sure it was mostly just bad luck with the hard drive. I should probably have a better backup plan, but it’s all a matter of putting up with risks, and the risk of losing a bunch of data wasn’t all that scary. It’s all about clown computing, right?

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I did NOTHING today.

Once again, it’s a long holiday weekend and I did almost NOTHING today. I suppose relaxing is a good thing to do. Yesterday was the 4th of July and I went to my buddy Il’s house where I saw his kid and our friend Andrew’s kid. It used to be Il and I were the single weirdos at these events and now he’s a dad. Being that the kids are both under 12 months old, the barbecue wound down about 5PM. Fortunately my neighbors had their own festivities going later than that and somehow I ended up eating peanut butter ice cream cake.

But onto today. My mom left with my sister to go off to “the beach” which really isn’t very close to the ocean but was on the Columbia river. I did NOTHING. I was really tired, like the kind of tired I get when I take Benadryl, because people (probably kids) were setting off fireworks at odd intervals ALL NIGHT LONG. I did fool around with my radio a bit, and read some stuff on the intarwebs, but mostly I lay around feeling sleepy.

And since this is so boring, here is a picture from the past. That’s me and my first car, a Honda Civic I had in Japan. WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE A KID-N-PLAY HAIRCUT? (That’s my sister’s friend in case you were wondering.)

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Speaking of “special”.

In the past I’ve had no reason to join Mensa. I thought it would be a bunch of nerds and, honestly, I can find nerds without paying for the privilege. As one of my friends said, “Do you need more proof that IQ is a measure of nothing significant in life?” But for some reason I started poking around the web site and found that my old SAT score from 1982 was high enough to apply. Getting that score is a bit more tricky and took a 30-minute phone call to the company that administers the test. That, and $30.50. So, after another $40 will get my application started, and $70 per year will get me a membership.

The question you may be asking is, “Why are you doing that?” The only answer I have is, “Why not?” Most likely I’ll meet some insufferable bores, but I won’t know until I try.

I did find my GMAT scores and I’m one percentile point lower than the cutoff for Mensa there. I decided I didn’t want to go to an MBA program so I took the test hung over and I even had to leave once in the middle because I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Even then I was 94-percentile. I needed to be 95 to get into Mensa with that score.

Oh, and I’ve found a way to give myself insomnia. If I watch judo videos before I go to bed, I wonder if I can remember ANYTHING that I’ve been learning and then I sit there wide awake and nervous. I’ve even had nightmares that the classes had changed and someone stole my judogi. The weird thing is that I’m fine while I’m there, though incredibly tired throughout the practice.

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Stupid radio tricks.

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I spent $1300 on more radio gadgetry. The thing I bought lets me talk to my radio over the intarwebs so I can operate remotely. The reason I may want to do that is because I’ll be in Japan when a special anniversary station in Kansas comes back on the radio and I wanted to contact them using Morse code. I already talked to special anniversary stations in 39 states on Morse code and I wanted to make it an even 50. Actually, I even have Guam and Puerto Rico as extras though I missed Guantanamo Bay.

It’s a good thing I have an old man hobby because I got dumped onto my head in Judo by a very young woman who may even still be in high school. It was interesting to hear my entire neck crack without having to pay a chiropractor a bunch of money. Surprisingly my neck isn’t that stiff right now though it does hurt from the chokeholds we’re learning.

I know I don’t know what I’m doing, and I knew I’d get hurt so things are going as I had expected. The surprising thing is how lost I feel doing the prone techniques (grappling) compared to the standing techniques.

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I finished watching Twin Peaks.

I thought there might be some meaning I could glean from actually watching Twin Peaks, since I missed it 25 years ago. It was popular here, in the US, when I was in Japan and they didn’t play it in Japan until after I left.

I’m not sure why I thought it would be meaningful or why I thought it would be more of an accomplishment, but all I can tell you is that my Saturday night is gone and I still have this stack of bills that I need to go through. Oh, and one of my hard drives died and that’s a joy to behold. Actually it was just the disk enclosure so I really didn’t lose anything except a whole lot of time.

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Things I have learned.

I haven’t learned a whole lot, but 50 is a little old to start taking Judo. It’s not stopping me but I wish I started when I was younger. Then again, I’m probably in better shape now than when I was younger so I’m not sure if it would’ve helped.

I took some time off to figure out what to do for exercise (besides Judo) and I started visiting some local gyms. Gyms in my neighborhood are like Starbucks and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one. Of course swinging dead cats would probably lead to other more pressing problems. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do anything about it last week because I had to work until 5:30PM, 7PM, 7:30PM, and 9:30PM because of some wonderful planning that stacked up four deadlines on the same day and I still got yelled at for no doing enough. Fortunately, it’s not so bad this week.

I got a two-year 24-Hour Fitness Super Sport membership through Costco. It’s more expensive but there’s a Super Sport on the way home from work and I thought it might be less crowded because it’s more expensive. I’ve been twice so far and the place is underwhelming. It’s crowded, and the machines that are spaced out to give the illusion that there’s more equipment than there really is. There’s also no place to do deadlifts, very few kettlebells, no good pull-up bar, and only two rowing machines (one of which is on its last legs).

I forgot what regular gyms are like. I waited 20 minutes for a woman to get off the non-creaky rower and she was rowing at a 4 minute pace. After I got home I calculated how far she went. The rower shows things in an odd way, (how long for 500m) so I figured out:

Her time

She was going about the speed that a glacier advances.

I just wanted to do 3 sprints of 250m which I did it at a 1:39 min/500m pace. I rested about a minute between each so it took me about five minutes to go 750m.

But all those calculations are irrelevant. What I’m really complaining about is that I waited 20 minutes to do less than 3 minutes on the rower but I’m too lazy to try to get my money back so I think I’ll just keep going. Besides, it looks like I need to stay later, and that puts me in peak traffic unless I go to the gym and kill some time. Ugh.

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I have no (Facebook) friends.

So things are going as swimmingly as ever. On one weekend I got really dumped instead of sorta dumped. Went from “not feeling it”, to actually “friends” (which turned out to mean “placeholder until I find a guy”), to “I found a guy and now I’m ignoring you outright” on the same weekend that my credit card was used to buy gas in Georgia, not by me, and I don’t know what all else is going wrong in my life other than people are actually stabbing me in the back at work.

I also felt the level of disregard at the gym I’ve been going to for 4-5 times a week for at least five years ratcheted up when they didn’t have the common courtesy to tell me when a guy I can’t stand was taking the place over for the afternoon and I’m the guy who does a lot of the cleaning and maintenance. When someone told me, “It’s not your problem,” I decided they were right, it wasn’t, and I quit.

That led to deleting all my Facebook gym friends, which led to deleting additional people who wouldn’t piss on my ass if it was on fire, which led to deleting more people who I haven’t talked to (or seen updates from) in years, which led to deleting people I only followed because I was too lazy to ask them what they were doing via less impersonal avenues, which led to my ONLY HAVING FIVE ACTUAL FRIENDS (and honestly a couple were spouses of friends) and I figured that was too few and I deleted them as well. Turns out you can’t have zero friends because they count you as your own friend.

So there you have it. If you wondered why I deleted you, I deleted everyone. If you’re not wondering you’re either in the class of people who don’t give a sh*t about me or the two friends of mine who have passed away since I “friended” you on Facebook, and I doubt you’re reading my blog.

In case you’re not keeping track, I’m not having a bad year but I’m certainly not having a good year.

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