For those who didn’t know, “Okay, Boomer” is a disparaging comment in reference to a member of the Baby Boomer generation. It’s also, quite possibly, the funniest one-line put down to come out in the last 20 years.
I laugh every time I hear it – and thankfully, I’m a Gen-X’er so I can use it, too. Boomer.
So, one of the younger kids in our office waltzes into my office and says, “Hey, did you hear Mötley Crüe is going on tour with Poison and Def Leppard?”
Now this is cause for my heart rate to quicken a little bit. I’m a HUGE Crüe fan. I’ve seen them every time they came to Detroit since the late ’80’s…
Then, he looks me dead in the face and says, “Yeah, that’s my grandma’s favorite”.
How I Handle Adversity in Recovery: A Fantastic Week, Grinding Out the Miles After My Unsettled Recovery Anniversary.
Last week was a pretty good week as weeks go. With my anniversary, I was squirrely as I can remember ever being – so much so, it was unsettling.
Of course, in my world, because everything happens in God’s world for a reason, unsettled is a good thing.
Allow me to explain. Friends, there’s nothing like a little unsettled squirreliness to remind a fella exactly where he stands in the recovery game. Tomorrow is a promise to no one in recovery. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I still have to watch my @$$. Last week I saw alcohol everywhere. Commercials, on TV, driving down the street, at work… everywhere. Usually, that stuff just fades into the background, I don’t even notice it anymore. When I get close to my anniversary, though, something changes and things go a little haywire for a week or so. This squirreliness isn’t always noticing booze, either. It varies from year to year, but one way or another I manage to find a way to be unsettled around my anniversary.
I don’t know what causes this, nor do I really care. I just accept it for what it is and use the experience to strengthen my recovery, because that’s what we do. I remember what it was like to hang on to recovery by a knot at the end of a thread, praying with everything I had that an urge to drink again would pass. Sometimes I’d just repeat in my head, “God help me. God help me…. over and over again, until sanity returned. At quiet times in my head, I’d ask for ten seconds of sanity before I did something stupid; and that worked.
My friends, everyone has tough times. Everyone. Rich people, poor people, kind people, mean people… As recovering alcoholics, we don’t have an artificial escape from the chaos anymore. We have to accept it as it is, work some steps at it, and get on with doing the next right thing in any given situation. It’s simple as that, so that’s what I do when the hamsters start running on the hamster wheel again. My unease is a gift that reminds me I could be out there with nothing in a matter of months – all I have to do is take a drink and I’ll be in free-fall within days. Recovery is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of my program and my relationship with my Higher Power.
My anniversary was Monday, it’s now Thursday, and my attitude and outlook are improving daily. I’m finally relaxed again, rather than being a bit “on edge”. I’ve been busy, though. It seems the nine-hour workdays just fly by, then I get home to grind out some trainer miles before heading off to whatever event we’ve got lined up for the evening. Then I get home and crash out by 8 pm, just to turn around and start it all over again at 3 in the morning.
There’s nothing like being so tired at the end of a day that you simply can’t keep your eyes open any longer. They say the average person should fall asleep in 23 minutes. It takes me 23 seconds. I know when I’m that tired at the end of a day, I’m getting as much as I can out of life, and I dig it.
Today’s another day in a really good life. It’s another day in paradise.
Recover hard, my friends. There just might not be a do-over.
Vegans Over the Edge… Yet Again: Class Action Lawsuit Against Burger King for Using Same Grill as Normal Burgers. Paging Captain Obvious, Please Call the Office
Trigger (heh) warning: This post will be somewhat of a hit piece on a specific, small, yet exceedingly loud portion of the vegan/vegetarian population. Not quite what would come out of the New York Times if it pertained to President Trump, because at least this will be truthful, but I’m going to be pretty blunt, as my disclaimer to the left explains. I’m not, in any way, shape, form, or manner, trying to say all vegans and/or vegetarians are bad, mean-spirited, ignoramuses… just that a very specific cult of that small group is. You have been trigger (heh) warned.
My wife has a vegetarian friend who once complained that my grill had meat cooked on it at one time, so she’d prefer it if I didn’t grill her veggie burger on that same grill… I did figure a way around that for her, though. I steam cleaned that side of the grill to her liking, applied some oil to keep her burger from sticking, and grilled her veggie burger. I did this because I love my wife, and her friend is pretty cool about the whole thing, anyway. Now, if she were like some people…
When Burger King came out with their Impossible Whopper, however, I had a feeling a complaint wasn’t too far off because there’s no way Burger King was going to appease the vegan nutter base. What’s it been? Three months and some change. One way or another, someone was going to go all apoplectic. I should have published something to show what a genius I am… and what a loser the vegan who would eventually sue Burger King is:
The lawsuit alleges that if he had known the burger would be cooked in such a manner, he would have not purchased it.The Burger King that Williams visited did not have signage at the drive-thru indicating that the plant-based burger would be cooked on the same grill as meat, the suit says.
Paging Captain Obvious, please call the office.
What did this knucklehead think, Burger King would install another grill to grill their Impossible Whopper? The guy, if he thought that, is impossibly stupid. He obviously has never looked beyond the cash counter to see how little room there is in the back of a Burger King – there’s certainly no room for another broiler!
Where this, and so many sordid stories like it, runs afoul of decency is when nutters try to impose their idiosyncrasies on
the rest of civilization. It’s not Burger King’s job to anticipate and prepare for every nut who walks into a Burger King. If Phillip Williams has a problem with his veggie burger being cooked on the same grill as a normal burger, perhaps he should be wearing signage stating that his beliefs run counter to popular norms and he prefers his burgers to be prepared a special way… this way the employees can simply nuke his Impossible Whopper (I’d bet that’s BK’s “non-broiler method of preparation”) and be done with it:
“For guests looking for a meat-free option, a non-broiler method of preparation is available upon request,” the site notes.
This can be put in simple terms, folks; if you require your food to be prepared in a special way, not in the norm, and obviously Phillip Williams knows he does, then it’s his responsibility to make sure his needs are met, not someone else’s.
Better, in a sane world the court would make the complainant prove his/her/their Impossible Whopper actually did get beef on it from being cooked on the same grill. What most people don’t know about Burger King broilers (that I happen to), is that the grill is a based on a conveyor belt system, about 2-1/2 feet wide by, maybe five feet long (if memory serves), so the grill actually goes through the fire a second time which gives any meat that might be stuck to the links time to cook off. Thinking back on teenage days at BK, more than three decades ago, I can’t remember ever seeing any buildup on the conveyor, certainly not like one would see on their home grill, and certainly not in amounts that would lead to meat clinging to the conveyor so it could then be transferred to someone’s Impossible Whopper – the claim this could happen seems shady to me.
Anyway, insufferable people are insufferable. Paging Captain Obvious. Again.
My name is Jim, and I’m a recovered alcoholic. I have recovered from a seemingly helpless state of mind. I was, at one time, so depraved, it’s hard to believe I was that guy.
I am a small miracle. Anyone who makes it a year is. I once couldn’t make it 24 hours without a drink or the shakes would start.
The first year was a gift. The next four were hard work. The clouds started to break up at ten years. Our first daughter was born at eleven. Our second was born at 14. The clouds parted at fifteen. At twenty, the clouds dissipated and it was time for the flippin’ sunscreen, baby. The last seven years have been glorious, though with some challenges.
It wasn’t that the years before 20 were bad, far from it. They were challenging, though, through the looking back glass. I was learning how to live a sober, clean life, and sometimes I bumped heads with good orderly direction. Even so, life seemed good enough it was often tough to wrap my head around it.
The easiest way to describe the last couple of decades and change is like this: Each year sober was a new gift. I had no clue how good life would eventually get, so I never felt like I was shortchanged. It just kept getting better. And that’s the idea.
Every year, since 2012 when I wrote the following post, I like to link to it around my anniversary. It is, without question, the best thing I’ve ever written. Please click here and give it a read:
November is a special month for me. I celebrate every single day of the entire month. I celebrate having the ability to have a wife and two fantastic daughters. I celebrate being on the right side of the grass, pumping air. I celebrate being able to love my wife….
[Tap the link to read on]
From the Big Book, page 151-152
The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did-then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen-Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!
Now and then a serious drinker, being dry at the moment says, “I don’t miss it at all. Feel better. Work better. Having a better time.” As ex-problem drinkers, we smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.
Been there. I’ve got the t-shirt, and worn it to tatters.
It’s been a long time since I felt the cold desperation of my jumping-off place. I haven’t forgotten the feeling, though. I remember it like I was there yesterday.
There’s a better, brighter future for we alcoholics. There is a new freedom, a new happiness… a new peace.
If you’re struggling with alcohol, walk into a meeting and sit down. If you can’t picture life without alcohol, the problem is with the eyes through which you look. It’s not the process, or the program. Given a chance, your perception will change over time. It does, if we allow it.
When I was sitting in those shoes, I was the problem. It was my eyes that were inadequate to see a way out, let alone see a way to happiness and freedom. I did get there, though. One day at a time.
To start, though, what’s important is that a leap of faith is far better than a leap.
I made it to the other side. I can see the sun shining and it feels good. And if I can get there, anyone can.
For those who are new, let me be the first to welcome you to a new and glorious way of life. Freedom and happiness are not only possible, they’re promised. If we work for them.
And if nobody’s told you they love you today, let me be the first.
Good Lord, it’s good to be free. Join me. I’ll enjoy the company.
I read an article on The Verge with a Title that said just the opposite of what my initial Title statement says… then went on to show that my Title is right.
Of course eBikes are cheating – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Imagine a middle-aged cyclist, late 40’s. He’s quite fast, but knows how to enjoy his active recovery days. His father, meanwhile, is sedentary but not averse to getting off the couch. He buys an eBike and all of a sudden, straight out of the box, he can ride with his son.
I know this guy. I ride with him on a regular basis, and you should have heard him talk about riding a bike with his dad. That’s not cheating. That’s a small miracle. That’s using an eBike for good.
How about another case? An older cyclist who’s begun to slow down decides to buy an eBike so she can keep up with her younger group? Good Lord, folks, if ever there was a good use for an eBike, that’s it!
No, where we’re going to run into trouble is on Strava, where you’ve got eBike riders trying to pass themselves off as natural cyclists. This will be your normal braggart who, instead of shaving a few miles off a 30-mile ride to say he came in first, will say that he handed it to the A Group, whilst failing to include that he was on a $17,000 eBike. Actually, we’d probably have to go with the B Group in our case, because they don’t make an eBike that fast yet.
I actually know a guy like this, only substitute a fully fared bullet trike for the eBike. He took every local Strava segment there was until a friend flagged him and Strava stripped him of all his KOM’s (rightly so). Sadly, there are those people out there. Another friend of mine rode with a guy on a gravel ride a couple of months ago. Later that day, he noticed the guy on Strava, bragging, “not to toot my own horn, but I was the first one back”… he’d failed to mention that to do so, he shaved seven miles off the ride with a shortcut.
That’s cheating. Sadly, those people are out there. While they do, momentarily, piss me off, eventually I get around to feeling sorry for them. Imagine being so shallow that you’d resort to cheating and lying so you could feel better about yourself. Friends, that’s sad. And sick. People like that need prayers – and that’s a good thing, because I need the practice.
Netflix to Jim… “We think you’ll like Lucifer”.
Jim to Netflix… “Yeah. No thanks. Already got to know him once. Then I quit drinking and drugs. I don’t intend on a second meeting, let alone going back enough that “liking” him is possible. Thanks for sharing.
This post is for those who want to be faster on the bike – and I mean fast. If you don’t, if you believe putzing around the neighborhood is for you, then you may not need this post. On the other hand, it can’t hurt. Either way, what’s most important is that you’re smiling when you’re on (and off) your bike – if putzing around puts a smile on your face, fantastic. If putzing leaves you wanting a little more, read on. Fair warning though, I’m not about to beat around the bush.
Speed on a bicycle does not come on its own, and it rarely comes freely. The faster I ride, the harder I have to be willing to work at it. I can’t remember the formula, but there’s a lot of talk out there about how the force required to push the wind doubles as your speed increases. I’m here to tell you, I know exactly what that feels like. Anyone who’s tried to get their bike up to 30 or 35-mph (48-56 km/h) on flat ground knows this feeling intimately.
There once was a time, 14-mph on a mountain bike over four miles was about max effort for me. That was long ago.
My friends, we are going to discuss an uncomfortable phrase for a minute. It’s uncomfortable for some because those who log lots of miles like this have a tendency to think they’re working a lot harder than they are. Then they wonder, after putting in all of those miles, why they struggle to hang with the fast crowd. Pointing out that it takes more than turning the cranks to get off the porch and ride with the big dogs is… uh, touchy. And heavens to Murgatroyd, we wouldn’t want touchy!
The phrase is “Junk miles”. Junk miles are those miles ridden where you can easily hold a conversation, speaking freely in full sentences for hours on end. Your ability to ride fast will be directly proportional to the amount of junk miles you put in. This isn’t to say junk miles aren’t allowed, they’re absolutely necessary. We simply must make sure the junk miles have their place and aren’t confused with what is needed to increase one’s overall speed and fitness. They also like to call this “zone two”.
It’s a lot like eating junk food. Junk food is certainly fun to eat, especially when you’re clocking 300 miles a week. Sadly, the more you eat, the heavier you get, the worse you ride. Well, junk miles work on the same principle – minus the extra weight. Oh, sure, there are those who like to claim cruising around in “zone two” is better for weight loss, but that horse-pucky never worked for me, anyway. And it certainly won’t make one fast. It will, however, get me used to riding a lot slower than I’m capable of.
In other words, if I want to be fast, I have to work at it. And as it turns out, a lot.
First, I’m not without sympathy. Junk miles are awesome fun. My buddy, Mike and I went for a cruise a couple of weeks ago – we averaged 17.3-mph over 35 miles – and it was a blast. Not only could I have pulled the entire ride, including into the wind, I easily could have averaged another couple of miles an hour faster… by myself… but it’s the end of the season and it’s time to sit back and enjoy a little R & R miles before the snow flies and the real training picks up again in January to get ready for spring.
So, the following is how I balance the good miles with the junk miles.
First of all, I’m not a big believer in pushing hard every day, year ’round. That’s a fantastic way to burn yourself out or worse, injure yourself. I admire those who can, I just prefer to take it easy for a couple of months at the end of the year. Usually November and December are all easy miles, mainly indoors on the trainer.
The real works starts January 1st. I eat better, and I work hard on the trainer building up for March. To start, I do hard workouts every other day – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, rinse and repeat (sometimes I’ll ride easy Sunday if I’m feeling tired). Once in a while, I’ll take a day off, and the other odd days are easy spinning trainer rides to loosen my legs up. I do that for two weeks. Then I switch to a harder gear for part of the hard workouts for a week. Then, the next week, a harder gear still for the tough workouts.
February is a continuation of January, but with a still harder gear (my highest gear) added in. Same easy days, too, by the way. I’ll also work in some intervals during February, steadily increasing the intensity of my workouts until we head outside.
In-season, say from April through October, my schedule is simple. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday are the hard effort days. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are some varying form of less intensive cycling than the harder days. Let’s say 17-18-mph is easy, I’ll do that one or two days, depending on how my legs feel. The remaining are between 18 & 19. The fast days are 19-20 over the weekend and 21-23 on Tuesday night.
Monday and Wednesday are what could be “junk miles”, but they’re necessary rest for a working stiff who likes to spend an hour a day on the bike whether he needs it or not (or more, especially on the weekends).
A friend of mine who is currently trying to get his pro card enjoys saying, nobody loves going slow like a pro. Some of his workouts show it, too. The trick is, his hard workouts would leave me hyperventilating in a heap on the side of the road. I try to follow the same principle, I just don’t bother with the panting heap on the side of the road part. I’m old enough to be his dad… and I have no desire to work hard enough to be that fast.
In short, to wrap this post up, own who you are and how you want to ride. If you want to be faster, put in the work. Don’t think that by riding slow everywhere you go, you will magically become fast. You’ll be disappointed in your results. Every time.
Just Wednesday night, I attended a concert (Ministry) with my wife at one of the best concert bars in the world – and it’s a twenty minute drive from my house.
As you can see, it’s an “intimate” setting – we were but 20′ from the stage, and we showed up after the opening act. In other words, if you want to see a band, this is the place. It’s amazing. My wife and I have seen Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Spacehog (Liv Tyler was there, too), Scott Weiland (Holy $#!+ was he awesome), Ministry and a few others.
The main point, though, is that it’s a bar. Friends, at just shy of 27 years clean and sober, I still check my motives before I enter a place like that: 1) Do I have a legitimate reason for being at the establishment? 2) Am I on solid ground, program and spiritually? 3) Do I have an immediate way out should I turn stupid at some point.
If I can’t honestly answer “absolutely good to go” to all of those, I won’t go. Skipping out gets a little pricey, so you can bet your @$$ I make sure I’m ready days in advance. No matter what, though, if there’s even a tinge of hesitancy, I’m out. No concert is worth the misery that would come with a drink.
So there I am, listening to one of my favorite of all time bands rock out one of my favorite all time songs, and some dude launches his beer (accidentally, I believe). Foam pelted my back. What I wasn’t expecting (getting doused by a beer at a heavy metal concert wasn’t a surprise), the guy apologized and used his sleeve to wipe my jacket off. I almost fell over.
As the night wore on and the band got to the older stuff (their new music is still quite good), the mosh pit got rowdy. I considered jumping in, given the stressful times of late. In the end, I decided risking a broken nose was probably not necessary so I just watched from the sideline. Blowing off some steam sure looked tempting, though.
Mrs. Bgddy and I left after the encore and the drummer started throwing his sticks, about 10:30. We were in the driveway at 10:50. And I was no worse for the wear. We had a brief discussion on the way home about how I was doing…
Because my recovery was built on a solid foundation, the world didn’t have to quit drinking because I did, and I don’t have to hide from it. Not anymore (it was definitely advisable while I was building that foundation).
I’m the one with this problem. It does me good to remember that.