Really good week this week. In four runs, I had two road distance PRs (one of them was also farther than I've done on the treadmill) and three duration PRs. I finished out the week with a 5K for a recovery run. I'll go a little less distance this week, since the recovery runs taper down. It was nice mixing up the running days a little. I might mess around with my lifting routine this coming week, try some bodyweight work and such, just to mix it up there while I get back to Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday runs, before I go up to five runs per week the following week.
Really, what I think they're saying, is that Schumer has a new movie out and a show on Comedy Central and maybe you should put up a boycott. Uh...here's the thing. Schumer is a comedian. She's trying to get a laugh. If she tries a joke and it doesn't work, she won't use it anymore. If people find her funny, she'll keep saying it, even if she doesn't believe it.
Donald Trump is trying to be president of the United States. You know, the guy who helps make laws and is expected to be able to talk to other world leaders about international policy.
The biggest debate right now, of course, is the Confederate flag flying at the South Carolina Capitol. It's been there since South Carolina joined the Confederacy integration movements in the 1960s. It represents racism to some people, states' rights to other people, and a whole bunch of other stuff to other folks.
The question facing the government is, should it come down? The state Senate said yes it should, and the House debated for 11 hours before agreeing.
Of course it should come down BUT here's why. It represents nothing more than a rooting interest, and it's at a government building. The U.S. flag is a symbol of the United States. The South Carolina state flag is a symbol of South Carolina. The Confederate flag is a symbol of a union of states that hasn't existed in 150 years, and now represents a variety of things to a variety of people.
They might as well put up a Gamecocks banner and wait for the Tigers fans to lose it.
Some are really angry about that. They say TV Land and Bubba Watson are bowing to popular pressure; they're "selling out." Of course they are! You know what happens to television stations when people stop watching? They go off the air. Know what happens when people won't buy tickets to PGA events because one of the athletes is doing something to bother them? The PGA takes away his livelihood. Of course they'll bow to popular pressure. That's how they stay popular, because that's how definitions work.
On almost a side note, some NASCAR fans in Daytona were flying the Confederate flag — sometimes above the U.S. flag. Now, I get the flying of the Confederate flag, but above the U.S. flag? That's at the very least disrespectful (and a violation of U.S. flag code); it might actually be treasonous. As in, actionably so. As in, your choice of what you fly on top of your camper could get you drawn and quartered.
Another thing that happened this week is a judge said the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office was right to cancel the trademark of the NFL's Washington Redskins. The trademark was canceled last year, though the team can keep the trademark until it completes the appeals process.
The Office may refuse to publish an application, or to include a portion of an application in the patent application publication (§ 1.215), if publication of the application or portion thereof would violate Federal or state law, or if the application or portion thereof contains offensive or disparaging material, any Law offices were recently updated with the information.
Essentially, under the determination that the term "Redskins" is offensive, the team can't hold a trademark on the name. That's not to say the team name has to change, but if they lose the trademark, they lose that big money on licensing. You or I or anyone else could start making Washington Redskins shirts or hats or bumper stickers or dog collars without paying the team for the use of the name. That's a huge business in sports.
That one's the most interesting to me, I think, because there's no precedent for it, it deals with a privately held business (even if the business is WAY in the public eye) and the outcome is going to swing millions of dollars in one direction or another and affect owners, employees and patrons all differently.
Baby steps, baby steps! I carried over Brother JH's advice from last week to good success. I ate like crap most of the week, and that's my next baby step: cleaning up the diet. Saturday, I finally did clean it up, and Sunday's recovery run was a PR for three miles on the road (3.05 mi in 29:00). I've done faster on the treadmill, but that's a lot different.
This week I start setting distance PRs every other week, and this week I'm changing things up a little by condensing the schedule. The schedule would have me running 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, 6 miles for my long run on Saturday, and a 2-3-mile recovery run on Sunday.
To get a little more race-day feeling in me, though, I signed up for a 5K on Saturday. Since that's about the distance of my recovery run, I'll move things up and switch around my days off, taking my 5-milers on Tuesday and Wednesday, my 6-miler on Friday, and then the 5K as a recovery run on Saturday.
My mileage was down this week, primarily because I stayed off the treadmill and stayed on the road. My time on the road was also down, primarily because my speed and endurance are up.
Little crisis of faith this week, 2.5 miles into a four-mile run on Tuesday, so I hit the treadmill on Thursday and then had a good chat with Brother JH that evening. He gave me some advice that was good for Saturday and Sunday, so hopefully that'll carry through. More in the video, and hopefully even more next week.
We set out for a networking event last week, and found it was canceled. Woo! A reason to go out and try new places!
We'd been meaning to get to Bar Food for a while, but it's in a part of town we don't go to a lot, but it was right around the corner from our canceled event, so we went, had a beer and a snack. They have a solid selection of craft brews and the other usuals. I had a Two Boots, while Jenny had a cider. We shared a cheese board, which came with some toast, four cheeses, local honey, some pickles and strawberries. Great way to start the evening. The menu looked really good; the crowd was interesting — it's a contemporary, kind of hipster place, but the crowd leaned not exactly biker, but not exactly not biker.
We then headed downtown to another place that was on my list, CO, which recently opened in Savannah after having restaurants in Charleston and Myrtle Beach. Our server, Grace, soft-sold us some cucumber mojitos, which were light and refreshing on a 103-degree day. We had summer rolls and gyoza (pork dumplings) as appetizers — both delicious — and Jenny ordered some pad thai while I had a tiger roll, which their menu describes as "shrimp, surimi salad, cucumber, yamagobo, avocado, unagi sauce, spicy aioli." We were both very pleased with the meals, and with the overall atmosphere. We sat at the sushi bar, but there's also a bar in the front, some booths in the back, a couple of high tops and some long tables should you decide you might want to meet a couple of people. The electronic dance music was quiet and suited the space well. We'll be back, though we're worried this will become a hot spot and we won't be able to get a seat next time.
Left, from top: Pork gyoza, cucumber mojito, summer roll. Right, from top: Pad thai with chicken and shrimp, tiger roll
With quite full bellies, we wandered on down to the river to sit for a bit. If you're ever wondering why we might have moved here, it's because we can park, walk and have this view about 330 nights a year.
We finally decided after almost an hour to get up and visit a bar we'd gone to once and found it too crowded (at 10:00 on a Friday night). Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian Hotel. The rooftop is open on two sides, one overlooking the Savannah River, and one overlooking the crowds on Bay Street and Founders Walk. We sat on the river side on a sofa and sipped a gin and tonic, and met a recently engaged couple. The electronic dance music seemed a little loud out of place for a space that's reminiscent of more of a jazz cocktail lounge, but it's still a cool spot.
Our last stop for the night was, of course, at Leopold's. If you're new to the area or just visiting and the line out the door has turned you off, don't sweat it. The bend in the line at the curb is about a seven-minute wait, the ice cream is homemade and the soda fountain is basically the same as it was in 1930-whatever. I love the butter pecan ice cream, but pictured here is a dish of chocolate chewies and cream and a hot fudge sundae, which are both also delicious. They even have seasonal flavors; the Japanese cherry blossom is light and creamy and wonderful.
And apparently they also make good soups and such, but for now, we're happy working our way through the ice cream menu.
I've been reading all the Sherlock Holmes books this year. A couple of pages a night, just about every night before bed. The books are easy to read, entertaining, a good transition from the day. It will take me the bulk of the year to finish. I'm sure there will be a post when I'm done.
That's not all I'm reading, of course. But rather than spending hundreds of dollars a year on books that sometimes sit on the shelf for years, I've become a fan of discovering interesting free stuff. Here are some great places to find free books.
Project Gutenberg is named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of moveable type. They're approaching 50,000 ebooks available in several formats, and they have some audiobooks as well — some of which are auto-generated from the texts.
LibriVox, as the name suggests, is free audiobooks, read by volunteers. All the books are public domain. Some of the readings are dramatic, some are funny, and some are collective. I listened to James Joyce's Ulysses, and each chapter was read by a different volunteer. LibriVox has a mobile app, too, and offers its titles for download. I was in the car for five hours on Saturday, and listened to a bunch of Gulliver's Travels, which I'd never read.
Open Culture is something else entirely. The have fewer titles, and often they'll link out to other sources. But you can spend hours perusing ebooks, textbooks, language lessons, audiobooks and a variety of classes and films.
Did you know there's a single source to search public libraries? If you're looking for a specific title but don't have access to a good library catalog, WorldCat will find a copy near you. And if you're looking for the takeaways from great books, Maria Popova does an amazing job with Brain Pickings.
Now you just have to figure out what's next on your list!
Out of that hill poured a couple of tiny little fire ants. I got bit three times: once on each of two toes on my right foot, and once on my right calf. Man, those little buggers burned. I took a quick shower, and the burning didn't stop, so I got some Neosporin on there and that helped. I put some breakfast on the stove.
My face started to swell, and my torso started to itch. I washed my face, lifted my shirt, and told my wife (who had been bitten a half-dozen times and had itchy feet but was otherwise fine) to let the dog out. I called in sick to work and we got to the urgent care center, where they didn't bother waiting until the forms were filled out to bring me in back, stick me with an EpiPen and then try to keep me awake.
I did pass out briefly: They were on their way to calling in paramedics when I woke up and they hadn't gotten to the phone yet, so it was really very quick, but I felt like I'd had a nice, refreshing 20-minute nap. I had a rash from my second knuckle down to my mid-thigh.
They spent the next 45 minutes monitoring my vitals and checking in on me, then gave me a shot of decadron and told me to take some Benadryl in a couple of hours — and to go to the ER if anything came back that afternoon.
By dinnertime, the rash was entirely gone, I was ready to get off the couch and get moving. Sunday, I was back running, and I was able to start reflecting a bit on the fact that I nearly died. I have plenty of reflection left, I'm sure, but we're still living life (and now wearing closed-toed shoes). Joe Rogan's conversation with Bryan Callen came at the right time, too; among other things, they discuss how insignificant they seem when they're out camping in the wilderness.
But I want to get back to the ladies of AppleCare Urgent Care, who did everything with a smile, politely (I was "Mr. Shear" throughout the transaction), and even called me Sunday afternoon to see how I was doing. I hope you never need them, but if you do need an urgent care facility, I can't recommend them highly enough.
The city of Savannah has a downtown that is, I believe, unique among American downtowns. It is certainly not the only planned city in the country, and it may not even have been the first — some of those New England factory towns were drawn out from the beginning — but it may be the most beautiful.
The original city was built in 1733 and included 24 squares, designated as public parks and meeting places, sprinkled every couple of blocks. At the northern end of downtown is the Savannah River, which provides a natural border between Georgia and South Carolina, and at the southern point is Forsyth Park with its signature fountain. In roughly the center of downtown is Colonial Cemetery, which has been shrinking over the centuries as the need for wider roads came about and some of the ground was paved over (the headstones have been moved to a wall of the cemetery).
My wife and I undertook to walk all the squares one lovely morning recently. Here you'll find photos from all 22 squares, Forsyth Park, Colonial Cemetery and Emmet Park, which lies above the river. We started at Forsyth and then moved on to Chatham Square, working our way west through the squares to Whitefield Square, then up to Troup Square and east through the squares to Pulaski; you'll get the idea if you follow the map from our starting point to our ending point.
We did stop to look around the Scottish Rite building, which, at six stories, is among the tallest buildings in town, and we stopped at a couple of shops along the way, as well. All told, we walked a bit over five miles from Forsyth to Emmet; we then walked to lunch at the Pirates House, took a tour there, and took a more direct route to our car back near Forsyth; probably closer to a mile, maybe a little more.
You can see the squared version of the photos on Instagram, or continue reading for the full versions.
As I mentioned, we started at Forsyth Park. The decision to start at a southern point and walk north instead of going the other way was based entirely on the abundance of free parking near Forsyth. Here's the park's famous fountain:
Next up was Chatham Square, a shady spot with several large live oaks.
Then over to Monterrey Square, home of a monument to Casimir Pulaski. Monterrey is, I think, my favorite of the squares. It is close in proximity to two of my most common destinations downtown (Congregation Mickve Israel and the Scottish Rite building), and some of its benches are outside the flow of most of the foot traffic.
Then to Calhoun Square.
I'm not sure I'd ever made it out to Whitefield Square, but there were about a dozen people there, though none sat in the gazebo.
Lafayette Square, named for the Marquis de Lafayette, who was famously a visiting orator in Savannah, is one of many squares with a fountain in it.
Sgt. William Jasper stands guard over Madison Square.
Pulaski Square has some of the gnarliest oaks downtown (some of the midtown parks compete well, though).
Orleans Square is another one of my favorites. It tends to stay quiet, but there is often a child balancing along the fountain wall. The low-hanging oak branches provide plenty of shade.
James Edward Oglethorpe, the man who founded the colony of Georgia (named for King George) and the city of Savannah, watches over Chippewa Square, which is what you see in the background during the bus stop scenes in the movie "Forrest Gump." Trivia: In the film, the bus goes the wrong way around the square. Also: The bench is in a museum; don't visit the square looking for it.
This arch is the entrance to the Colonial Cemetery, which sits at the intersection of Oglethorpe and Abercorn.
This little gazebo sits next to a basketball court in Crawford Square. Thanks to the kind gentlemen who didn't mind us taking photos that included them.
Oh, look, there's a tour going on in Greene Square.
Another fountain, this time in Columbia Square.
More shade, in Oglethorpe Square — where, apparently, it's autumn.
Wright Square has a really, really tall monument.
I don't have a lot to say about Telfair Square, other than it's fun to see the view at the rear of the Jepson change every now and then. But you can't see it in this photo, so I guess you'll just have to come visit.
This monument in Franklin Square is dedicated to the chasseurs voluntaires, who came to help fight the British in the Battle for Savannah in 1779.
Ellis Square is known for its fountain (which a lot of people and animals cool off in), but I love this sculpture of Johnny Mercer reading a newspaper while leaning on a fire hydrant. I've said, "good morning," more than once.
Johnson Square has two of these fountains.
John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church, preaches in Reynolds Square.
Despite the fact that it sits next to a parking garage and boasts some of downtown's only 10-hour parking meters, Warren Square is really quiet. And green.
Washington Square is named for the volunteer fire company that was once at that site.
And finally, anchoring our walk, is Emmet Park, overlooking River Street and the Savannah River.
If you live in the Savannah area or have visited, what's your favorite square? Why?