1. Vacation in a Tiny but Mighty State
We just got back from a vacation with Mrs. Noisewater's family in Rhode Island. Her brother rents out a beach house for us every year for us all to get together and be beach bums for a week. It is good for Baby Noisewater to see his cousin (who is close in age to him) for an extended period of time, since his cousin lives all the way out in New York. All his cousins on my side of the family are fully grown. I must say that after a rocky start of smacking each other in the head any time they wanted each other's toys, they gradually became very close and wanted to play together all the time.
On the final day when we were packing up the rental car I got a call from the airline who gave me an offer to fly out the following day instead in exchange for 600 dollar vouchers each, plus vouchers for the price of each of our outgoing flights, plus the cost of a hotel and our meals for the last day. Hard to pass that up, and we got to check out Providence, R.I. for the first time, a wonderful little city. And now we have dough stored up and ready to take us on our next vacation. I have already been thinking of friends I haven't seen in forever who I should visit, and it shouldn't have been a matter of money to make me consider it. But I guess that's just how it goes.
2. Too Much Darn Running
I got in some nice runs during the vacation as part of my marathon training. I had a 16 miler scheduled for last Sunday, but because I ended up flying in Sunday instead of Saturday, I had to get on the lake path during the 90 degree heat rather than in the much cooler morning. I met my friend Night Train for the first part of it (as he was wrapping up 16 miles of his own). We started getting back into running together a few years back, but he is a little younger and just a better athlete in most every way. While our pace used to be about the same, now he crushes marathons with a pace well below 8 minutes. That's like my 5K pace. So his long, slow run pace is like me hauling ass as fast as I possibly can. The four miles I did with him in the heat wiped my ass out so badly that I had to stop at 10 instead of the 16 I had planned on.
Quitting is not something I do when I run, so this was very disheartening. How I perform this upcoming Sunday for a 15 miler is crucial. I want to eliminate the heat factor by getting out earlier, and eliminate the Night Train pace factor by not running with him (which is a little sad because I like his company). If I quit with those variables controlled for, then it's a matter of I'm behind in my training or I have become a quitter.
3. My Aching Back
I posted a social media video doing push-ups with Baby Noisewater on my back. I did a couple similar baby workout videos when Erik was a baby, but now he is more of a toddler. Naturally he is now heavier and more active. It is perhaps the strain from the toddler push-ups that paved the way for the injury the following morning at the water park. I slid down a water slide with him for like the 15th time, and while half-submerged in water I tried to hoist him out of the trench which is when the lower-left part of my back clenched up. I tried to walk it off and stretch but the pain wasn't going anywhere. Naturally, he wanted to do that slide another 9 times, despite me guiding him towards other less painful experiences. Little kids have an innate sense of knowing what you don't want them to do, and knowing that must be the cooler and more dangerous thing. I guess that's something they continue to master as they reach their teenage years. I sprung for a massage today. I got a deal with the spa connected to my gym for a two for one, but all they had left for today's massages were dude practitioners. Oh well. I needed it today, so I just went with the man-on-man action. Anyone have a preference with sex of their masseuse or does that totally not matter to you?
4. The 'Mats
I read a ton of rock and roll biographies, and I can say without a doubt that "Trouble Boys" about the Replacements is the best of that genre. I was a casual fan when I started, and now I have slipped into that true fanatic status that so many 'Mats fans lay claim to. As a matter of fact, I didn't feel a right to call them The 'Mats before I read it, but after reading the book, which led to revisiting all the albums, watching tons of interviews, and getting into Westerberg's songs to the point where you feel like he is speaking to you, I'm now an obsessed 'Mats fan. I suggest you give the book a read because they are like no other band. You have Bob Stinson's tragic upbringing that led to his severe mental health problems and eventual dismissal from the band. You have his brother Tommy joining the band at 13-years-old, dropping out of school and being raised by a hard drinking and hard drugging rock and roll band. This is something that would never be allowed for in today's society, and it's fascinating that it ever happened at all.
Then you have the band's leader, Paul Westerberg, who simultaneously wanted to be have a big hit bunform to anything. He would et didn't want to coither self-sabotage the band or just be met with unfortunate circumstances every step of the way. That and they had a brand of music that doomed them to be cult heroes rather than household names. Or maybe all of this was a master plan to be snubbed and broke during their time, but to hold up better than any other band of the 1980's. Yes, the songs themselves have their hooks in people, but those wild and unpredictable drunken shows where they read an audience and decided to do play the exact opposite of what that audience wanted to hear (an all country show for punk fans, for example), made everyone who attended feel like they were part of a one of a kind show, like they were in on the joke, and like that one show they saw was historic. This also extended their legacy.
When they reunited in 2013 I had a ticket to see them at Riot Fest, a weekend long rock festival in Chicago. My friend smuggled in a bottle of Jack Daniels, and drinking my way through Suicidal Tendencies and the Pixies, I was so horribly over served and tired that I decided to take myself home before the Replacements even took the stage because I had to work the next day. I looked at the set list and it was just about every song I would have wanted them to play. It will always be one of my all-time rock regrets, but then again, getting too drunk to see The Replacements is kind of the perfect story arc.
I got a metal show that I'll be seeing tonight (Spirit Adrift), and I don't work tomorrow. A friend I was going with cancelled last minute. With the back killing and needing sleep more than metal at the moment, I almost decided to skip it. But then when I asked an old friend to go, he said he would. Yeah, missing these guys isn't likely to become anything like missing The Replacements, but I'm not taking my chances. I'm not quitting on stuff anymore, be it with concepts, running, staying in touch with friends, or anything else. Talk to you later, my blog buddies til the end . . .