Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Exalted One: A Product Review Five Years Later

It's been to Disney World twice, camping, left in the rain, carried a gas can and a car battery, accompanied me nearly every day and remains as good as the day Ogio sent it to me.

Before kids, when something broke, I just bought another. Since kids, times have changed. When they break things it doesn't matter, they seem to get new stuff, for the most part. Dad, however, makes due with what he has. For instance, my golf clubs are now a decade old. That, good friends, is a tragedy.

In short, from a dad's perspective, when something works even a day longer than expected in today's world of buy-then-toss products, it is a true gem.

Hello, old friend. You look great!
The Exalted One

About five years ago, Ogio, the maker of golf bags, backpacks, travel bags, and other sport bags, sent me some bags for review. Among them was a nice sized gym bag. Until this morning, I hadn't noticed how well it has held up. I guess that's what happens with those hardy souls that quietly go about their work, remaining dedicated to their chosen duties. They go unnoticed.

Until, one day, when the boss says, "You're doing amazing work!" That's what happened this morning. I stuck my hand in the bag to retrieve my Clif Mojo bar and the epiphany (yes, same sort of "epiphany" that I sarcastically tweeted about this morning) happened. "Dang, brother, you're still working! And, you look great!"

If I could fill my life with zippers that don't break...

The review I wrote for the bag has long passed into the mists of time, so I'm getting no form of benefit for saying any of this. It's just so refreshing to own something that still looks and functions perfectly after years of nearly constant use. I've used it for some unusual things, as described earlier, and my children have stuffed it full of Barbies and toys, a collection of rocks from their grandparents' farm, a dog, and other things I'm sure I don't want to know about. Throughout, it has remained true to it's calling.

Best of all, all of the zippers still work! Until this bag, I had only heard tales of old about mythical zippers that didn't break. I had considered it mere superstition, but secretly hoped I could be transported to a time when such things were said to occur. Until this morning, when I realized I was blessed to be in the presence of a mythical creature.

Thank you Ogio bag. You have made the life of this father a little easier, a little more stable. You are a trusted friend and shall now assume your position as the Exalted One. First among not-so-equals. May your story be told throughout the earth.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Look Out, Walt! I'm Training for Your Marathon

When I say I'm at the beginning of a journey that will lead to completing my first marathon, the word "beginning" is a bit of an understatement.

In the past, I've wondered why on earth anyone would want to do such a thing. I'm now asking myself, "Why do you want to do such a thing?" I'm going to explore my decision here. Really. I've made mention in passing on twitter, but this is the first time I'm sorting through it.
Subconscious Good Feeling

I've always been a guy that works on "feel" and intuition in many areas. Our subconscious minds are fascinating things and I've come to depend on mine for some of my decision-making (which has not always
worked out well).

I picture the subconscious mind as a wheel that spins exponentially faster as it sorts through our memories, feelings, old thoughts, wants, experiences, needs, failures and successes much faster than the conscious mind. When presented with a decision, the subconscious goes to work and in short order downloads it's findings to the conscious mind.

I don't recall the catalyst event, even though it was only a few days ago (which is another reason I rely on my subconscious - my conscious mind has proven itself unreliable), but I quickly came to the decision that I need to complete a marathon. It gave me a good feeling. It felt like something that needed to be done.

What Possible Reason?!

Let's see. The first thing that comes to mind is Competition and Accomplishment. In this instance, those two terms are one in the same. I'm certain I'll never win a marathon, not even my age group. So, where's the competition? Well, It seems like tons more people are running marathons nowadays than just a few years ago, but not many of my male friends have done it. There's your competition factor: Once I ACCOMPLISH the goal, I'll be one up on them. Selfish? Yep.

Marathon Reason #2: My Health

The marathon proper won't do much for my health, the training and diet needed to get there will do wonders.

I've been sporadically active throughout my life. I love to play golf and enjoy the great outdoors. In the last few years, I've ran almost a handful of 5Ks. Every year, however, sees me complete two to three months of good exercise and diet before I get impatient, push too hard, hurt something and then take nine months off.

This time, I have a written plan to follow for physical training and diet. I will follow it! I will not hurt my knees, calf muscles, hamstrings or anything else that tries to wimp out on me. A message to my body: There will be no excuses!

Aside: Now I recall the catalyst. More about that in Reason #4 below.

Good training and diet necessarily lead away from the dangers of fast food and a sedentary life. It should also help reduce the high cholesterol and high blood pressure I inherited from my parents.

I am not in this picture, yet.

Marathon Reason #3: My Children

I passed 40 in the relatively recent past, but neither of my children have reached double digits (D1 is a week shy of 10). On my present track, I'll be lucky to see them enter their third decade. That isn't a pleasant thought.

I want to see them grow and flourish and have their own families. I'm sure they'll want me to be along for the ride, as well, except, of course, during the teenage years.

We can't control disease, accidents, and the like, but a few things are in our hands. Fitness, physical and mental, is one of the things I can control that will help ensure I'm around for several more decades.

Marathon Reason #4: Travel

I saw a tweet about @runDisney, went to the runDisney website, saw a training program and diet recommendations that I can handle and my subconscious began to whirl. I decided to make the Walt Disney World Marathon my goal. January 12, 2014 here I come!

I love Disney World more than anyone in my family. If you knew my family, you'd understand the full extent of that statement. A weekend of Pirates of the Caribbean, Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, princesses (for the benefit of my daughters), fireworks, and running put me over the top.

By the way, @runDisney has put together a top-notch site and several great races of varying lengths. The whole family can get involved. I am amazed at how well they've put together events and laid things out on the website.

Reason #5: Peer Pressure

I have several twitter friends that are runners. Some are younger than me, some are my age, some are older, much older. If they can do it, so can I. Competition rears its head again.

That's my exploration of my own subconscious. It may disagree with the reasons I've listed, but it isn't telling me anything different at the moment.

I'm sure I'll write, tweet, and generally expound on my journey and how it impacts my kids, wife, family and myself. Let's hope I stay healthy. #TGBTG

Image courtesy mguertin.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Mind Map: Helping My Children Understand Tragedy

In light of today's tragedy in Boston, I didn't get around to posting anything until now, after the children have gone off to bed.

They're young, so it wasn't difficult to keep them away from channels that carry the news, but tomorrow is a new day. They'll hear about it and see what happened somewhere, of that I'm sure. Since my 10-year old is particularly adept at "accidentally" overhearing adult conversations, I thought it wise to think about my response to the questions that will come in the coming days.

Here's what I came up with. It's simple and who knows whether parts of it will be effective. Remember, it's just my thoughts of how to approach the subject with my children.

I'd like to hear your ideas. Really, they could help us all.