Smile! Actually, don’t.

I’m developing a bad habit. Whenever I’m in one-on-one meetings, no matter how big or small, I begin smiling and sometimes even laughing for no apparent reason. This is not a good thing to do because when you’re smiling/laughing and the other person doesn’t know why you look unprofessional and even more-so, you look like a dick.

Cheese!It started with one specific person in the company who is very high up. We normally don’t do too much together but we were working on one thing and had to meet a few times. For whatever reason I just couldn’t stop smiling. I knew I was doing it and I knew it was bad but I couldn’t help it. He even called me out on it, “You’re laughing, what’s funny” for which I had to make up some excuse. Once he triggered that, it was like a permanent switch flipped where everyone I meet with one-on-one gets the smile treatment.

I don’t know what to do in these situations. It’s like a disease, once it begins it only gets worse. One small smile and the cycle starts. I try to think of the most serious and depressing thing I can but it doesn’t last long. I keep telling myself not to smile but it only makes me smile more. I’m at the point now where I expect it and because I think about it before a meeting even starts it only multiplies the odds of it happening.

Ideally this will just be a phase that will pass given some period of time, but I’m in the thick of it right now. Hopefully it passes before I piss off the wrong person. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Can’t Cool This Heater

I’m on my first heater in a while and it’s all transpired in the last 24 hours. It has been quite a while since this has happened but a combination of material and immaterial events have put me in a fantastic mood heading into the weekend.

First, for the first time in months running has been good. I began running seriously ~3 weeks ago. Since then I ran 57 miles, 50 miles, and am now on week 3 which will be 50+. Yesterday I planned to do a 4 mile tempo but when I got to Mondauk to do it, my back was killing me and I was worried I might not be able to. A minute in I was about stop but said fuck it, I’m here, I’m doing it. Four miles later I had finished with no real back pain and was quite happy with result. My splits were 6:07, 6:04, 5:55, 5:46 for a final time of 23:54 but Mondauk is tight and turny so I give ~5 secs a mile if I was on a road or track. This bodes well for the 10k that I’m running on 11/3. I don’t want to put numbers on it but I have a time in mind that I think is realistic. I think my back can hold up around 50 miles a week if I’m smart about it.

I lol'd when the only thing that came up when I googled "Heater" were pictures of heaters.
I lol’d when the only thing that came up when I googled “Heater” were pictures of heaters.

Then, today at work, I learned about my bonus. Since the company did well I got a higher than normal bonus. But more importantly, I learned more about my health care plan. Long story short I’m going to be reimbursed $1,500 from the bills for my finger. This makes me very happy because I was pretty pissed off that a freak accident like that was going to cost me $2k+ but now that’s not the case.

Also, this is like an extended heater, but congrats to Gourlay for landing a full-time job. Transitioning very well into grown-ass-manhood.

This isn’t the hottest of heaters but I’ve been in a drought lately so the past couple of days have been a nice turnaround. Have a good Friday everyone.


Pulling Out

Ryan Hall has announced that he is pulling out from the NYC Marathon which is taking place in a few weeks. This is not surprising to many in the running community as Hall has not finished a marathon since 2011. He DNF’d at the Olympics, withdrew from last years NYC Marathon, and also withdrew from this years Boston Marathon. I like Ryan Hall but this is becoming annoying to deal with. The guy never races. He gets in “great” shape, but would only race 2 marathons a year anyway. Now he doesn’t do any racing and always gets hurt. I’m sure he’s equally annoyed too. This is disappointing as a fan for sure but even more-so as a paying customer.

Ryan Hall's Calf
Look at that calf!

In 2012 leading up to the Olympics, Hall started a Kickstarter called the 41st Day. It’s going to be a documentary about his lead up to the Olympics and his (hopeful) success to be released in the spring of 2013. After he dropped out of the Olympics, he pushed the date back saying he wanted to film his redemption. He’s had three supposed redemption attempts and he hasn’t redeemed anything. He raised over $50,000 and hasn’t done anything. How much possible footage can they have for this movie? How many interviews will they have where he says “Man, I thought this was the one, I was so fit, but it’s going to have to wait.”

At what point, as one of the 808 other backers, do I start going bonkers and demanding my $20 back. Some people paid $5,000! That’s an insane amount to sponsor this but he hasn’t delivered on any of it. His public image is decaying as he keeps pulling out of races but more importantly, his image for the 808 fans he had that cared enough to sponsor him is dropping the most. At what point should he throw in the towel and say “Well, this is all I got, I know it doesn’t have a great ending but whatever.”

I think he should do that right now. I still like the guy and I’m rooting for him to make a comeback but I’m beginning to pull out on my support on this movie. Unless his next marathon is Boston (6 months) and unless he wins and/or runs sub 2:06, the ending will not be worth the wait and I can almost guarantee he will not win or run sub 2:06. Just give me my movie Ryan.

Kids are Stupid

There was a school shooting today as I’m sure most of you know. A 13 year old shot three people, two students were injured and one teacher was killed. As always seems to happen, the kid eventually turned the gun on himself. It’s still way too early to know the details behind it all but rumor has it that the kid was bullied.

They say it starts with better parenting, bullying that is. Kids need to be brought up well and understand that bullying is not okay. Just the fact that a 13 year old kid can’t see how outrageous it is to bring in a gun and shoot people then kill themselves indicates to me that upbringing isn’t the only problem.

I think flat out, there’s no reasonable amount of action that can keep all kids from doing things because they’re just that, kids. I remember being in elementary school and middle school thinking I could be home alone or play outside at night or whatever else it was. At the time it seemed like a no-brainer, of course I was responsible enough. Now I look at kids like that and realize how stupid I was. Today on my run I saw a dad and his son walking across the street. Naturally the dad holds the little kids hand, looks both ways, and walks across. I would do my best to never let that kid go walking across the street alone. Your parents can tell you 100 times but it doesn’t matter because you’re too stupid to realize it’s wrong.

pussy destroyer
A poor humorous attempt at demonstrating that kids are stupid

When I was in elementary school we routinely bullied one kid specifically to a more extreme point than I’d like to admit. Obviously nothing came of it and we all grew up fine but us ‘bullies’ were called to the principals office twice because of it. We didn’t know any better. Just because the principal or our parents told us it was mean and wrong didn’t really stop us. We were too young to realize what effect it might have on another kid. Kids are stupid which is why they’ll bully to no end and also why they’ll think bringing in a gun and shooting people is the only option.

The problem is there’s no reasonable way to prevent things like this. Sure, gun laws, great, but that aside, incidents will happen. There’s not enough resources to make it economically viable to have all kids monitored at all times to prevent the stupid shit they do. Parenting can help but I like to think I was brought up in a pretty privileged and healthy environment along with the three other kids who would join in bullying. I don’t blame my parents for not teaching me properly, I blame myself and the others because we were just kids and we were stupid.

I don’t know the answer. I don’t really have a suggestion either. We’re so invested in guns at this point that that seems like a long road to go down but I personally wouldn’t care if no one could use guns anymore (although I know of others would disagree). Kids are just stupid and will always be stupid. It’s easy for me to look back and think I knew the general gist of things when I was a kid but when I look at kids today I realize they have no idea, which in my opinion is why shit like this keeps happening (bullying, and to a lesser extent, violent outbreaks).

Update before the weekend

If I don’t post now I won’t post until Sunday at the earliest. Tonight will be a MadMex power hour. Oh.. I mean… happy hour. Gourlay and I haven’t gone in a few weeks but we’re going today at ~5:30, take that as an invitation.  Tonight will be filled with Fifa, beer, and likely a trip to Millers. I’m taking my first day off from running in about two weeks which is both good and bad. My back has held up moderately well after about 100 miles in the last 12 days or so.

Tomorrow I will be traveling to Ursinus for homecoming. There will be a ton of alumni that I haven’t seen in months and probably won’t see again until next homecoming. I’m excited but the fact that it’s homecoming doesn’t get me that much more excited than a normal weekend. I look forward to hanging out with my school friends and feeling as if I was back in college more than anything.

I’m aware this post was weak so I’ll conclude with two things I saw from 4chan that had me dying.

Fake Speed Trap



Is it Ruined?


First, a background on where I am in breaking bad. I’m about 10 episodes into season 4. Jesse and Walt got into a huge fist fight ending with Jesse saying “Then get the fuck out of my house.” I’m nearing the end but a lot is going to happen in the next few days for me.

Last night I was at the bar with a few friends. I knew that Mahony had never watched an episode of Breaking Bad but then decided to watch the series finale (which I thought was hilarious). I brought it up at the table and Kurt said the following,

Hah, yeah Dan I was going to text you ‘Walt dies and Jesse lives'”.

To which I replied “Well thanks for ruining the entire series for me Kurt

Now, Kurt didn’t know that I was near the end or that I was watching so I can’t fault him that much. In the moment, I was upset. But the more I think about it, the more I question whether or not I should be upset.

In a week, I’ll be done with the series. The information that I know at the end of the series will be the same. It will take some of the surprise out of the ending but at this point I don’t know how Walt dies, who kills him, why they did it, when and where he was, etc. That little bit is as big of a little bit as possible, but still, would you say it ruins these last episodes for me?

The more I think about it the more not upset I am. In a year when I look back on Breaking Bad I won’t fault the series because I knew the ending before it happened. I probably won’t even remember that it was ruined for me. All I’ll know or remember is what I would have known and remembered if Kurt didn’t say that.

Would you be upset if you were me?


Goodbye Broken Finger

The pins from my finger have been removed. Right now I can’t extend my finger fully up or bend it down even close to all the way. Over the past 5 weeks I’ve had very limited use of my finger and here is what I’ve observed.

  • Reaching for my wallet in my left pocket with my right hand was BY FAR the most notable inconvenience.
  • Showering with my left hand extended fully in the air the entire time isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
  • That said, the skin on my entire left hand is dry, dying, and gross. I can’t effectively clean it.
  • Typing with 6 fingers was incredibly slow and increased mistakes about 10 fold. I typed about 40-50 WPM versus my normal 90-100.
  • Household tasks such as opening a jar or door or carrying something with two hands were difficult and sometimes painful
  • Driving with one hand was noticeably inconvenient when parking/pulling out of parking spots.
  • The added weight/perceived annoyance of having a hard-cast on your hand while running didn’t make a difference at all.
  • However, carrying my iPod in my right hand as opposed to my left while running was tougher than I expected
  • I was cautious about eating food with my left hand because it was so dirty and hard to wash.
  • Typing on my phone or playing Candy Crush with my left hand was impossible, I was surprised how often this was a problem.
  • Although I don’t do much of it, reading a book and turning the pages was a pain in the ass with the hard cast.
  • Shaking the urge to brush my teeth with my left hand was easier than I thought and my right hand was still capable of doing it.

It’s been a not-enjoyable extremely expensive ride but I’m just about ready to put it past me and move on. Hopefully it heals okay and I’ll be back to normal in no time, my fingers are crossed!

5 straight weeks without a solid clean
5 straight weeks without a solid cleaning

Chris Derrick and the Power of Social Media

It’s no secret that social media has provided an insight on many things that didn’t previously exist. What this post will be about is the two-way communication that is available between famous people and not famous people.

Somewhere along the way I sent Chris Derrick a friend request on Facebook. For those who don’t know Chris Derrick is one of America’s biggest rising stars in distance running. He recently ran at the World Championships in Moscow and is also your most recent American XC National Champ as well as 10th place finisher at the World Cross Country Champs. At the tender age of 22 he has multiple Olympic trips and a possible American records in his sights. His current PRs are 13:09 for the 5k and 27:31 in the 10k.  A few days ago I received a notification that he accepted my friend request. Now, that’s all well and good but famous people get friend requests and twitter follows everyday. However, it didn’t stop there.

Recently I’ve been on a Monkeys with Glasses binge. When Chris accepted my friend request I thought, why not invite him to the group? It’ll be funny and maybe he’ll even respond. Well tonight that is exactly what happened. Below is the interaction that has taken place between this absolute stud of a runner and us (the pictures we posted are of guys in his training group (I apologize for the picture being so small)).

Chris Derrick Interaction

In case you can’t read it, his comments were:

I don’t know why I was added to this group. Personally, my support of Monkey Rights is unconditional. I don’t who you savages are that would deny Monkeys their basic rights just because they have excellent vision.”

I said “*monkeys“. He said “I capitalize to demonstrate my respect for Monkeys… and their rights.”

Then we began posting pictures of his teammates side by side, one with glasses one without, and one picture of him with the kid who posted one of his teammates pictures side by side. Our coach then replied with “I think I can pinpoint the moment that Chris Derrick regretted commenting on this status/staying in this group.”

To which Chris replied with “When you referred to me by full name as if I were some stranger?” and “BTW, I support freedom for all of those aforementioned Monkeys except for the dude in the black long sleeve (that was the picture of Chris and my teammate).” 

This interaction is obviously not possible without social media. Under no circumstances in the 70s could all the kids who looked up to Pre even dream of casually talking about Monkey rights. When Amos, Slade, and I saw he responded we went bonkers. To have someone that we’ve watched for years look at his Facebook and see “Sam Stortz mentioned you in a post in the group Support monkey rights as long as they wear glasses” and then actually go into the group, read the post, and comment FOUR times, is incredible. Now I know he’s not Lebron or Tom Brady or something, but in the running world, he almost kind of is so if you’re a big distance running fan it’s a big deal.

Upon Chris responding, we proceeded to invite a bunch of other famous runners in hopes that the same thing happens. Slade and I were saying that if there were people out there who looked up to us in the same way that we would be making peoples days left and right. The idea that me posting something in a stupid group would make a group go crazy would be a pretty cool feeling. Then again, it’s easy for me to say that now since I’m not in anyway famous or capable of making someone’s day by doing that.

Lesson Learned?

I was talking to my parents the other night about my medical bills and my insurance plan. The gist of the conversation was this:

I only pay about 700 hundred a year in insurance because I figured I would spend less than that at the doctor’s office. Maybe a sick visit here or there but that’s it. I took a risk assuming nothing that bad would happen to me so why pay the extra cash? I acknowledged that this plan backfired with my broken finger. My dad said something like ‘Well, it’s a life lesson, you live you learn.”

What lesson did I learn? I knew when I picked the plan that there was a risk. If I could go back and change it, I wouldn’t. It wasn’t like I didn’t know what could happen. When it comes to picking my plan next year I will probably make the same choice. I just got unlucky by breaking my finger. There was no lesson learned that wasn’t already known beforehand.

I wrote a post a while back about experience vs. education and I do stand by the idea of that post. There are some things you can’t learn unless you experience them. However, there are things you can learn, and gaining experience in that area doesn’t make a difference. I knew what I was getting into. I experienced the shit end of the stick, but I’m still going to go by the numbers (granted those numbers are based on my previous 22 years of life experience) and realize that next year, I probably won’t break a bone and it’s probably not worth it to pay extra in case I do. Experiencing what I did in this scenario doesn’t really help.

Now, if I keep breaking bones maybe I’ll have to recalculate my perceived odds of breaking a bone, but for now I would say that, on average, I will break far less than one bone a year. Of course the insurance covers other things too. There are the odds that I get really sick or that I chip a tooth or whatever but still, I stand by my choice to pay less.

I didn’t learn a lesson here. I knew the lesson going in and knew what could happen. It didn’t workout the way I was hoping but this “experience” hasn’t taught me anything other than typing with one finger is even more inefficient than I initially thought.