Misery is one of the least appreciated of human emotions. In the spirit of Christopher Smart, who died in an insane asylum where he was incarcerated for religious mania, and in which he wrote about his most famous of all cats, Geoffrey, permit my small indulgence here.
Let us agree, for the sake of today's swimming-related vlog, that the cause of misery is exile from the pool waters that usually provide respite from life's bejangling predicament of nerves.
Yes, we will, for the sake of a swimming vlog, specify this as the exact source of misery--a surfeit of excitatory neurotransmitters with no place to go-- though there could, of course, be any of a myriad other contributors, too. There always are!
For I will now consider my misery:
for in ones dotage it slows the speeding clock
and gives reason to hope the winding spring soon breaks;
for it surges a tide of memories past,
and brings back from the darkness most of life;
for it reunites you with your authentic self;
for it removes the gauze and the glass darkly;
for it will not let you look away;
for it burns your skin from ear to pubis;
and pares the tallow from your hide,
and obliterates the need for sleep,
and jacks the marrow with tinctures of terror,
and removes promise, that demon tormentor,
for it makes you twist the same idea endlessly;
for it preminisces no end of ends;
for it makes you friends with your enemies,
who cannot deny the gift you've given them;
for it removes all fret about things without weight;
for it proclaims your guilt and absolves it through dumb rage;
and lets you do what must be done,
and ensures it cannot be undone;
for it will not swim but it can sweat;
for it creeps no faster than a child's hours;
for it is incurable.
Originally Posted by jim thornton
There was a famous psychology experiment done a number of years ago, the particulars of which are somewhat fuzzy in my mind.
But the gist of it was something like this:
The researchers provided twelve subjects with two squares. Objectively speaking, one of these was slightly but nevertheless demonstrably and provably larger than the other one. They then asked the twelve volunteers to discuss amongst themselves and vote on which one was bigger.
What one of the twelve volunteers did not know is that the other eleven were in on the scheme. They had previously been told by the researchers to maintain, calmly and rationally, that the smaller square was, in fact, larger than the big one.
When the discussion began, the "dupe" invariably thought that the others were all joking when they maintained the small square was larger than the bigger one. But over time, the dupe just as invariably came to agree with the others that they were right.
Follow-up interviews later revealed that the dupe, who had been persuaded to ignore the evidence of his or her own eyes, was not just pretending to go along with the herd to be sociable or to avoid conflict. He or she actually became convinced the small one was larger than the big one.
Group think, in other words, trumped rationality. The human tendency to fit in with our peers is so strong that it easily overwhelms our "intelligent" faculties.
I am sure most of you will have no trouble identifying this aspect of our species in a host of different realms, from religious and political nutcasedom, to the ability of aging swimmers to downplay the role of B70s in their racing performance.
As my poll figures continue to slip towards flat lining vis a vis my thoroughly rational suggestion that science has failed to validate weightlifting as a panacea for swimming performance, it occurs to me that this whole thread is nothing but one elaborate experiment!
Admit it! One of our swimming Ph.D. candidates, in search of a perfect thesis topic, has somehow managed to put the USMS membership up to this! Reveal yourself, rascal! I am now on to your fiendish tricks!
I may be the intended dupe, but I am no dupe!
And on this note, I shall continue with my own recently launched weight lifting regimen. But I have no illusions this will help my swimming, though I am cautiously optimistic it might behoove my pathetic pickle jar opening capabilities.
Just trying out a new icon I saw on the threads today. The above is a post, and possibly my final word, though not definitely my final word, on the subject of weight lifting and swimming performance.
Leslie and I wrote she said/he said arguments about this topic for the Nov. issue of Swimmer.
If you want to read the rest of the thread, you can find it at [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=198872#post198872"]Girly Man vs. Manly Girl: the Poll - Page 6 - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]
Most of it is sort of unpersuasive blather. If you skip all the posts by muscleheads and stick pretty much entirely with what I wrote on the subject, you will get a very intelligent and balanced overview.
PS At the risk of seeming just a wee bit paranoid, I wonder if the Ph.D. candidate who arranged to skew the poll results for his thesis might also be the one who has been giving my vlog 1 * ratings, most likely for yet another nefarious experiment on corrosion of the human psyche.
Time to begin perusing the aberrant psychiatric literature with a bit more of an eye towards clue identification.
Tonight was probably my best practice performance in recent memory:
800 on 11:00 warm up
200 kick on 4:00 "
10 x 100 on 1:20
5 x 100 on 1:15
8 x 100 on 1:20
4 x 100 on 1:10
1 x 100 cool down
I drafted off my superiors but made everything with the possible exception of the 3rd 100 on 1:10.
In graduate school at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, a poet named Marvin Bell came up with a piece of advice that quickly spread like pink eye through the ranks of prone-to-writer's-block neurotic students like me.
When you are having trouble writing, he suggested, lower your standards.
I think this somewhat paradoxical maxim deserves a lot of serious consideration, especially by those of us prone to judging ourselves harshly. And I don't mean just in our literary endeavors, though god knows this has been one area where I have had to endlessly apply the motto.
Swimming, it seems to me, is an excellent place to use the notion of lowering ones standards. Other candidates: the pursuit of a good night's sleep; the apparent musculature of your abdominal regions; life's overall sense of happiness; health; the SAT scores of your children; and the cleanliness of your underwear.
Really, I ask you, where, in any of these areas, are you likely to go wrong by simply lowering, perhaps even abandoning altogether, your standards?
A couple before and after statements might show how helpful this cognitive restructuring can be:
Before: I must beat my swimming nemesis X by Y number of seconds in Z event, and furthermore, I must do a Personal Record best time in addition to this beat down of X.
After: X can lap me--of what concern is this of mine?
Before: I must get 8 hours of wholesome, refreshing sleep
After: Thrashing fitfully throughout the night, slipping occasionally into spells of sleep apnea so deep that I stop breathing for four minutes at a time will allow me to train hypoxically while X is sloughing off and coddling his brain with oxygen and rest.
Before: Underwear in its immaculate cleanliness should be as blindingly white as the beard of God, and, furthermore, it must be changed every five to ten minutes
After: There is nothing wrong with earth tones for garments that no one but you will ever see. Lighten up!
Before: I must be loved!
After: There is nothing wrong with spending vast amounts of time annoying people, followed by even vaster amounts of time when it is almost as if you have become invisible to the human race, as if you don't matter at all, and never will! It is just a different part of the spectrum from being loved. A little shift over.
At one time in my younger youth, I was convinced that the "lowering your standards" motto applied to those whose standards were so unattainably high in the first place that they were constantly setting themselves up to fail. In such individuals, I believed, getting rid of the most ludicrous of ambitions would free them up to accomplish more, not less, because they would no longer be strive-cringing in the shadow of their own self-flagellation cat-o-nine-tails poised to swipe.
I was less inclined to think it applied to writers like this poet I met once on a bus, who informed me he had written 1000 poems, all of the very good, "but only about half of them extraordinarily good, and of these, only another half exquisite" and so forth, till he wearily acknowledged with his artist's weltzshmerzy soul that only a dozen of his poems ranked among the top the world has ever seen.
And some of these, he admitted, didn't even rhyme!
The self-satisfied, the smug, the lazy, the entitled, the deluded, the silver-spoon-mouth-plugged: surely lowering their standards would do such fellows no good at all, only make them that much more prone to self-congratulation for less-than-zero accomplishments.
I am not sure when I realized that I was a member of this latter category. There was no moment of eureka or epiphany, just a slow dawning upon me (like when you realize the borderline enjoyable jazz music you turned on the radio 45 minutes ago has somehow transformed into cacophonous fusion that has been annoying, in a low grade way, the bejesus out of you for a good while now) that I have always been more or less smugly satisfied with my accomplishments, or at least lately I have been, even though there is no ostensible reason for such satisfaction!
And this is when I did actually have an actual eureka moment.
We can all benefit from lowering our standards, even those of us who don't really have very high ones to begin with.
Sure, try to get better at swimming. Try to be a nicer person, get stronger, do good things, eat more exotic fruits and recovery potions, etc. ad nauseam.
But realize that everything becomes easier, and your chances of true improvement almost always increase, if you take that little priestly superego guy, your internal editor, your homonculus that looks like you but sports a halo, or the soul of a kindly grandparent that comes to guide you in moments of trouble, or whatever other entity within you that says: you can do better!--if you simply take this well-meaning entity, place your hands around his or her strangely wrinkled neck, and choke it till even you can recognize the petechial hemorrhaging in the whites of its damnably judgmental eyes!
Monday December 8th, 2008
think I'll be a dual blogger here &
MEET RESULTS from the
2008 SPMA Regional Short Course Meters Championships on
Saturday, December 6th & Sunday 7th, 2008 in
Long Beach, CA
11:15 # 07 50 M Butterfly 00:26.46
12:38 # 10 100 M Backstroke 00:59.10
04:55 PM# 19 200 M Individual Medley 02:19.99
11:43 # 24 100 Butterfly
12:27 # 26 50 M Breaststroke 00:31.99
02:04 # 29 200 Backstroke 02:19.99
03:15 # 31 100 Freestyle
* originally planned to swim the 50 bk & 100 IM
but my plane was leaving at 6:30
so I dropped out of them and added the 100 fly & 200 back where I planned to go for a 50 bk time
First of all this was a very well run meet
kudos to all the great grunion volunteers who pulled if off
Races and Comments
wore a blue seventy nero comp in all my races
last year I was 26.15
this year I went 26.30
nailed the touch, knew I was going to hit it right at the flags
struggled through the turn
took more SDKs
Still need to work on belly SDKs, take more off each wall, probably 10 off the start and 10 off the turn
didn't drop my fly & free times as much as my back times
100 bk 58.89
went 1:00.90 last year
went 59.10 at AZ
tried to go out more relaxed and bring it home better
been eyeing Glenn Mills NR not sure if it's a WR because he did the time at the 2008 Gay Games
Glenn split his race
1 29.05 29.05 2 1:04.60 35.55 3 1:42.00 37.40 4 2:13.42 31.42
so my plan was
Fly easy speed save legs breathe
Back easy speed save legs breathe
breast work it, sprint, great form
free work it sprint SDK off turns
went 29.10 34.93 38.82 31.31 for a
which might have broke the WR
if Mills swim doesn't count
in 2004 I went 2:15.0
Think I could have gone faster if I'd swum it first or been a bit more aggressive on the front end, pretty much dragged my legs on the fly and cruised the back, held back on SDKs in favor of AIR
should have kept my kick going better on the last length of the FR
was at this meet to try to break the WR in the 50 bk, thought the 100 fly would tire me too much
ran a few erronds Sunday morning,
showed up at the pool thinking I had plenty of time, women's 50 BR was on the block and I was in the last heat of mens 50 breast
warmed up in my B70
don't remember much about the race other than I felt uncoordinated and really need to fine tune my breastroke technique to go faster
Dave Guthrie went 30.2
Jeff Commings went 28.0
went for 50 bk split
went 27.20 and broke Clay's 27.24 WR
Finally got it before Chris Stevenson comes along to obliterate it
made some race mistakes
was too deep 10 kicks off the start and had to sharply angle up to surface
didn't go deep enough on my turn and make a fountain with my first kick then was able to go deeper
went 2:39 in my 200 bk got 2nd in my age group
legs on the 3rd and 4th length
hurt super bad
should have gone out easier and back halfed it
really wanted to swim the
100 IM but ran out of time and had to go home
Jeff Commings wore a blue seventy in his races made huge time improvements,
he's come over to the dark side.
saw many wonderful people at the meet:
Jim Clemmons, Allen Stark, Erik Hochstein, Rich Abrahams, Philipp Djang, Al Jaegers, Bob Strand, and Sherri Hart (sorry if I left you out)
this was a fun meet at a fast beautiful pool right on the beach
Roomed with David Guthrie
he filmed of my several races which I hope to post on youtube soon
didn't sleep well each night
A mini self-vlogging here before the more severe self-vloggulation of swimming practice begins in 1 hour and 10 minutes.
It has occurred to me, after receiving several comments, possibly from women with kidney stones and delicate Scylla and Charybdis-like nether passages to same, that a section of yesterday's vlog may have seemed to some of you (i.e., those who avoid reading about the latest scientific findings) to have been the arbitrary and sickly imaginative fantasies of a creeper.
I refer specifically to my offer to remove Jessica Alba's kidney through her birth canal.
One woman emailed me the following (in response to my circulation of the vlog url http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=1313 to select teammates in the hopes that they would A) open the vlog, B) click the "rate this vlog" button, C) select "Excellent!" ******, and finally D) either read it or not; once the Excellent tab has been checked, their further behavior is not my concern.
Anyhow, here, in its snippity snappity entirety, is what this snippy-snappy snapper wrote me, ostensibly in reference to Jessica, vaginas, and kidney extractions:
Jim, I don't rally need to get your email reply to all the Masters. I don't particularly get your humor. I would appreciate if you make a note to remove me from your group list, unless it is something you need to send to me specifically.
*name changed slightly
Not long after this, another young woman, whose opinion I care deeply about, and whose kidney I have long sort of wanted to extract with my trochar (see picture), told me she found the whole business tasteless, sick, and marveled at how I could have any friends at all.
Trochar being used on a rodent
Anyhow, we went back and forth on the topic of me, my lack of friends, the reason girls don't like me, why she thinks I am disgusting, that sort of thing, in other words, putting myself willingly through the Dr. Kurt Dixon "time is a violent stream and the world is a meat grinder" exact summation of La Condition Humane.
Then all of a sudden it occurred to me why this other woman (not Humorless Cur, the other one) was so mad about the whole business:
She thought I had made up the whole concept of kidney through vagina extractions!
As soon as I realized this, I felt so much better!
No, one thousand million times NO!
Jimby did not make up anything, ever, in the history of my life, having to do with vaginas and medical intervention! No, no! This is not my world! I have no desire to intrude here in any but the most wholesome of natural ways! And even this, due to no fault of my own, has proven by and large impossible!
Science made this up. Science and scientists and real men of Medicine and Hippocratic First Do No Harm Oaths!
I honestly and truly thought that this new procedure, publicized widely via the Associated Press yesterday, was something that everyone already knew about!
'Natural orifice' surgery is the final frontier
Ewen Callaway, reporter
We've all heard about the urban legend where a person wakes up in a hotel bathtub with a scar across the abdomen, one kidney lighter.
However, a new surgical procedure could make donating a kidney nearly scar-free - at least for women. For the first time, doctors extracted a kidney out of a patient's vagina for the purpose of organ donation.
You can read the whole thing here: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/sh...ry-is-the.html
So there. I think we all feel much better now knowing that beyond all possible question, your vlogger is 100 percent not a creeper.
Never was, is not now, not ever gonna be!
Technical notes for those interested in the nuts and bolts of vlogging:
1. Attentive readers will note that Jimby has pioneered the self-referential "meta-vlog" in today's offering. Within the present vlog, he has provided a link to yesterday's vlog. He is considering going back to yesterday and inserting a self-referential link to today's, or yesterday's future, vlog. But he fears that he might somehow get stuck in a circular loop and spend the rest of eternity in something very close to perdition.
2. Another quality evident in today's effort is the use of random boldings of words and thoughts and so forth. Readers of comic books will see that Jimby has simply taken an old technique from Spiderman inkers and applied it to his own work a la Mary Jane below:
For those looking foward to seeing the comedic swim stylings of Jimby, especially as he thrashes about in the 200 freestyle relay--like a little water spider gone amuk!--and later in the 50 fly--a splashing dynamo of ineptitude!--I greatly apologize for the technical problems.
The film is made!
My co-record-breaking teammates and I--all 192 aging man years of us in our crepey skin and swimming suits!--have been suitably documented.
There is even a nice bit of cheesecake rewarding the viewer who can fight off motion sickness (the videographer is not that steady handed a shootist!) to the end!
Alas, YouTube is having trouble processing this 4 minute opus, and thus I will have to try again tomorrow.
I don't expect you to read this.
I certainly do not expect any of you who have read this to re-read this.
And I absolutely certainly do not expect any of you who have read this and re-read this to recommend it to your friends.
But we are living in strange times indeed.
Nothing would surprise me at this point.
Well, next to nothing.
An Oscar nomination for short film cinematography for my upcoming vlog, if YouTube ever finishes processing it, would surpise the mother ****ing ****ity **** **** bejeebers out of me.
Strange as our times have become, that would, I admit, surprise me.
Maybe the watched buboe never heals.
After 2.5 hours of tennis, during which I played like a leper, and the only thing that kept me awake was the leeching of sweat into my lesion, and the occasional jokes of my adversaries ("If you had gotten that in France, it would be a French foreign lesion"), I got back, removed the bandage, took a shower, and photographed what I must acknowledge--at the risk of biasing the viewer--represents a setback.
Does it look to you, as it does to me, that this is just the first step in a process by which my skin will begin to tear off my body in sheets?
Perhaps I should document the lesion's progress, or lack thereof, or backsliding, as such is the case, on a somewhat less frequent basis.
Here is the run down, from Sunday, to Monday, to today's post-tennis state:
Sunday and still arguably the worst
Monday--apparent improvement (though it probably has more to do with lighting than actual improvement)
Today, post tennis--a likely step backwards.
If any of you know a doctor willing to diagnose me by pictures alone, and who will then send me the magic healing elixir I so desperately crave, please refer my case as soon as you have finished your dinner of boeuf au jeu and red wine or whatever else goes well with this kind of vlog.
Preliminary biopsy-of-lesion results in, and it looks like I tentatively can cross at least a couple dire items off the list.
The beautiful blonde dermatologist called today to explain the findings.
There was, for instance, evidence of bacteria on the surface of the lesion, though this is hardly unexpected since wounds tend to attract bacteria. We jointly decided these bacteria were most likely of the ex-post-facto opportunistic variety, as opposed to the causative sort--almost like scavenging low-level criminals that stumble upon a murder victim and rob his corpse blind but do not bear responsibility for the homocide itself.
The pathologist did want to run some additional stains for tuberculosis (which I did not think caused skin lesions, but that is why I remain a fake doctor) and syphilis (which an earlier test, the VDRL, or venereal disease research lab test, had already provided a clean bill of health--"not bloody likely they will find syphilis in a fine young man like you," said the beautiful blonde dermatologist, maybe in slightly different ways. "Why, then," I replied, "would they test for syphilis is so fine a young man like me who has already passed, with flying colors, both his VDRL and holy water drip tests [wherein a drop of holy water is placed upon the manhood, causing a horrible burning sensation in sinners]?" She replied, "They found evidence that your plasma cells were clustered, and whenever they see this, they just run a syphilis test. But you don't have to worry.")
Other tests also seemed to indicate that my underlying skin cells were of normal configuration, no suggestion of malignancy, in other words.
At this point, the BBD said that something to do with my relatively normal level of eosinophils also indicated that the culprit was probably not fungi of one sort or another.
There was some other reason why poison plants--oak, sumac, ivy, and maybe the deadly pyretheum daisy--were also ruled out, maybe eosophinils or clustered plasma cells, to be honest, I was starting to get confused.
At which point, the BBD said, "More and more, it's looking like a bite is the most likely thing."
What form of bite is hard to say, though spiders appear near the top of the list. Alas, there is no way to test for spider venom at this point. If it was a bite, then my body seems to have reacted pretty violently to it.
I told her that when I was in the Amazon jungle, I got a bite from something on my ankle bone. It never hurt or itched but took months to heal. I went into the jungle just as the Bush-Gore recount was beginning, and came out ten days later with the recount not yet decided.
I still have a mark from that bite: my jungle tattoo.
Perhaps the groin lesion, which is healing over but still itches and causes weird sensitivity to broad swaths of the surround thigh and buttocks skin, will one day be a fondly remembered River of No Return tattoo.
I have been vlogging about my lesion for so long now that it will be hard to give the topic up. But it is time to move on.
So please permit one last glorious celebration of this chapter in the life of Jim.
Unless something drastic occurs, I will do my best to speak of this never more. If you need ongoing help with your diet, or implosion therapy for arachnophobia, this little slide show will always be there for you even as I move on to life's next round of fresh disasters.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_05u2GIWmM"]YouTube- Requiem for a spider bite[/ame]
Perhaps this is vanity, but I have occasionally been known to check the viewership of my various vlogs, in part to try to figure out what my readers most seem to want to read about.
Then I can give them more of that, currying favor and otherwise sucking up, until I have achieved my lifelong goal of getting a friend somewhere before I die.
Just joking. My identical twin brother John is definitely a friend, and he maintains he is not pretending to like me.
I am off track.
So anyhow, every once in a long while, I will post a vlog that takes on a life of its own. For example, last February 23rd, 2009, I posted a vlog entitled Who's Your Trinidaddian? about the 1650 meet at Carnegie Mellon University. It featured my friend and Pitt teammate, Meera Ramsooksingh, whose parents came to the US from Trinidad.
For reasons that I still don't understand, this vlog has received more hits than any other I have written to date. The margin above and beyond all the others has, until recently, not only been inexplicable but ludicrous. I asked Meera if she had forwarded the link to her mother, who then might have forwarded it onwards to the entire Trinidaddian expatriate diaspora, but Meera claims this did not happen.
She says, if anything, she has done her best to hide the existence of Who's Your Trinidaddian? from everyone she knows.
I should add that there is a picture of Meera holding a sign that reads, "Will Swim for Polish Vodka."
In any event, that vlog has received, as of the latest inventory, some 4807 views. Interested parties can read, or re-read, it here: http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=1689
Until very recently, my second place vlog entry has been around 1600 hits, again, astounding, and I do not in any way believe this many people have actually read it. Still, I can't understand why web crawling internet search engine spiders would have focused on this one, either.
However, there is a new vlog entry that is rising even more quickly and inexplicably than my salute to Triniddadians and their love for swimming and Polish vodka.
Since Dec. 22nd's posting of Lost Person Behaviour--only 2 1/2 weeks ago!--this vlog on my tendency to late-night Ambienated scrofulousness has already garnered 3120 separate views. Last night, the figure was 2200, give or take--there threatens to be 1,000 views in a single day!
I asked this same question on Facebook, along with a related query--i.e., how to encourage my fans to tithe.
Dave "Chaos" Barra suggested there might be a virus.
Amanda "Chicken of the Sea" Hunt thought that I was clicking on it myself in Ambienated amnesia.
Eney Jones said that she reads it when she can't sleep, implying there might be a legion of insomniacs out there who turn to the words of Jim to lull them into stupor.
Only my friend Bill (yes, Bill-- along with my twin brother John -- are friends, despite the earlier appeals/ploys for sympathy) came up with what might be the real answer: that the combination of Ambien, Zombies, and Tiger Woods, all of which are mentioned in Lost Person Behaviour, may have conspired to put my vlog y into some prominent position in the Google queue.
Thus tonight's vlogging experiment.
Here are some things that I have found myself thinking about today, in enumerated order:
1. mark mcgwire 2. oinkernet 3. ruthie from 7th heaven 4. jejune 5. 8 parts of speech 6. nothing suits me like a suit 7. miep gies 8. brown coakley debate 9. teresa sullivan 10. under the milky way tonight 11. honey west 12. sam s club closing 13. monica malpass 14. the bachelor rozlyn 15. sarah palin fox news 16. jejune definition 17. katie mclaughlin 18. alcoa earnings 19. david gergen 20. ethan embry
Let us see how many hits today's vlog,Hit Parade, generates, shall we?
Jejune this experiment may indeed be; but I very much doubt you will find this kind of content on oinkernet, even if Sarah Palin does end up taking a job there when the Fox News thing fails to pan out and she joins Mark McGwire and, possibly, Teresa Sullivan, Monica Malpass, and the bachelor Rozlyn in the ranks of forgotten disgraces.
If you don't believe me, ask David Gergen, Ethan Embry, or Ruthie from Seventh Heaven.
Oh, I did a 53.35 in the 100 SCY free yesterday, in a Y pool where the shallow end was so shallow that Bill reported hitting his legs on 4 (count them, 4!) SDKs on every shallow-end pushoff in the 200 backstroke. More on swimming tomorrow, that is, if today's vlog does not lead to such an overflow of traffic that the USMS servers must temporarily shut down!
Just in case none of the above triggers the right combination of search term Open Sesame attention, I should add one final item to my recent life. After noting on Facebook that my good friend Amanda Beard had befriended "Heather Hotness" and 29 others, I immediately sent a friend request to Heather Hotness myself.
Heather accepted! I am friends with Hotness! And I think after she see this vlog get over 1 billion individual views, she will even answer my chat overtures. (I asked her "Are you real?" and she immediately logged off.)
I would like to extend a hearty welcome to my new and potentially vast vlog viewing readership.
A quick survey of my some of my earlier posts might give you the wrong idea about my Nature.
This is a "Kodacolor Print made by the Eastman Kodak Company TM Regis U.S. Pat. Off" of me (or possibly my identical twin brother John, neither of us is completely sure) from "the week ending July 28, 1956."
I (or possibly John) am not quite yet 4 years old.
I don't think I know how to swim yet.
Our mother is of the overprotective school of mothering, as evidenced by the double layer of sink-proof garmentry she has outfitted me (or John) with.
Thank god I never got upended in the Semple's swimming pool, because I don't think I could have righted myself again with this collection of anti-drowning apparatus on.
Note my shoes. Note, in the very distant background, the presence of a golfer. I am pretty sure the background is the 6th hole of the Allegheny Country Club.
Not only was my mother overprotective, but she managed to instill in me a fashion sense and love-hate relationship with the ungraspable Good Life that lasts to this very day.
In any event--and I apologize for going on so long here--no matter what heinousness I may be capable of today, and sadly it appears I am capable of a lot, know that somewhere in the exhausted elastic of my crepe-like skin there still resides this little lad, this little well-protected drowning-proofed bundle of innocence, this cute little dodgie of the Post War and Pre War eras: a smidgen of him still lives!
Now that I think about it, this probably is John.
(Note: If you are reading this without first going back in time and reading Part 1 and Part 2, I warn you that today's tripartite swimming video-less vlog dependent on emoticons will make even less sense than it should. --Jimby)
Alas, the whole thing has left me with an exertional headache and some residual fatigue that keeps me from for joy, or, for that matter, even myself, and certainly not telling myself I am not , though the truth is, I probably could tell myself this, and not even the 's would find fault with my reasoning!
Anyhow, I had hoped to cap off the night with some butterfly kicking drills, but it looks like that's not in the cards. And so I will probably just head off to before a quick visit to parts of the Internet to help me visualize said kicking drills.
Your video-less vlogger, signing off. Check back here soon for more .
1. Sore throats.
Throat sore today, so sore, in fact, that it was a chore swallowing the 8,000-10.000 Kcals that still managed to somehow wend their way through the inflamed Scylla and Charybdis of my gullet and enter my stomach.
Next Sunday, I am signed up for the 1-hour postal swim in the morning, followed by a Y meet in the afternoon. I am hoping that my sore throat is better by then. I will probably attempt to go to my swimming practice tomorrow, but will almost certainly need to swim in lane B or lane C, and keep some Ricolaaaaaaa! lozenges at the end of the pool within easy reach.
2. Stroke analysis
I am in negotiations with Jim M., our extremely knowledgeable webmaster nonpareil, for creating a new "group vlog" where interested swimmers can post video of their strokes to be analyzed by any volunteers (Chris, Ande, Patrick, Fortressa, etc.?) who might offer tips. I could do this here in my own vlog, but I think a dedicated one-stop-group-vlog site, dedicated only to swimming stroke analysis, could be very useful. I will keep you posted on the progress here.
Note: by "in negotiations" with Jim M., I mean simply that I have sent him a private message asking for advice in how to actually do a group vlog. I am waiting for him to answer, which I am sure he will do soon, given his work ethic and general levels of indefatigability.
My brother has done another wonderful short video on a type of shore bird native to Cape May County, New Jersey, where he lives. It has a wee tiny bit of human swimming, but a lot of lovely ocean videography of waters where my new Open Water swim will be held every year from now on, a few days before or after our birthday on Sept. 24th. This is a great time of year for open water swimming in New Jersey. The crowds are largely absent, and the water is as warm as it gets all year.
Please enjoy the sandpipers!
And stay tuned for the group Stroke Analysis Video Group Blog
In the past, I have occasionally asked for stroke analysis.
In this video, I ask for throat analysis.
Thanks for viewing. And please forgive today's uncharacteristic brevity. For fans of prolixity, if this is a word, I hope to be back to full throat soon.
The above little fellow is kind of cute, I suppose, what pet shop dealers call "a fancy rat."
True, the rat that has infested my house goes by the same Linnaean name: Rattus norvegicus. But he probably should not be confused with his big-eared, big-eyed, domesticated cousin. My unwanted Rattus norvegicus is most likely feral, a greedy little creature upon whose oily coat hop about the sort of fleas whose own passengers once killed half of Europe.
If you would have told me three days ago that I would have a rat infestatin, I would have not believed you. My house is reasonably sanitary; our neighborhood is good; the neighbors not the sort to provoke suspicions that they have laid out an enticing chain of breadcrumbs from the sewer to my door.
Now, I suspect them all.
I heard the skittering above the ceiling, back and forth, punctuated with gnawing sounds. I tried to tell myself it was nothing--a piece of loosened insulation blowing around in the night breeze.
Then the stench of rat urine became way too much to ignore. Sawdust and plaster falls like snow. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, tell-tale pellets are everywhere, and every unguarded crust bears teeth marks.
I cannot catch him in the act. He is a conservative little fiend, very secretive, hiding and lurking as I tug my hair out and wonder about the future of my house and health. I think his numbers are proliferating. Rats breed like fire; their appetite for destruction is exhilarating.
I have taken all the usual steps: mowed the unkempt clumps of heather surrounding my estate; searched on Craig's list for rat tarriers to let; considered even the possibility of an allergic life of running eyes and nose in exchange for one devoid of rats. How quickly would Geoffrey dispatch these devils!
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
I know, of course, that once entrenched, it is very difficult to unhouse a rat; it is, in fact, hard to even espy him.
But it is true, as well, that the lurking rat prefers his anonymity. Much better for him the life before his presence is known--suspected, perhaps, maybe even dreaded, but not entirely 100 percent surely confirmed.
That there is a rat wandering about in my community is no longer the stuff of paranoia and suspicion. I have heard him skittering, smelled his piss, seen his toothmarks, understand sans doute his capacity for destruction.
It has even become clear to me now that sometimes the fancy rat uses his fanciness as a disguise for his feral nature.
Happy the rat that conducts his business in secrecy! Less content willl he be now that his presence is understood.
Back to your sewer, I warn you, for I am dedicated to your extermination.
"Is one of the symptoms of swine flu a rash on the cylindrical base of the, well, I don't want to get this vlog thrown off, but is it?" thought James Thornton, several days after the Zones meet was over, and he was starting to wonder if his lack of an active immune system might actually save him from the latest colonization.
He coughed, felt his lungs ache, shook his head, felt ashamed he'd missed practice, wondered how technology could possibly hope to keep pace with his sicknesses and workout slothfulness.
He tried to swallow. It hurt too much. He brought the coagulated substance back up, then tried to avoid thinking about the cylinder and its inflamed base....
Having now provided my vlogging viewers with an overwhelming reason to change the mental visuals now dancing in their heads, I shall post some much more wholesome imagery.
First, a still photograph of a swimmer who truly deserves all the credit for my swims, this swimmer being one Mr. William Sumerfield, Esquire. Yesterday's picture of BillS, which used Jimmy Stewart as a stand-in, was a mistake.
I should have used William Holden instead:
Note: I have cropped the picture to spare Bill the embarrassment of showing what his friend's hand was doing at precisely this moment.
Next, I will present four short films taken from the Colonies Zones meet. None of these show actual swimming, so please do not be disappointed. I understand your feelings. During my Golden Boy youth, I was once jogging when several highly attractive tartlets beckoned to me to stop and chat them up.
"I'm sorry, girls!" I said. "I'd love to stop but I can't--I am just too magnificent in motion!"
I add this not our of conceit nor any other self-aggradizing motive. I am not immune to the aesthetic artfulness of my bodily movements; I feel your desire to see this, for I desire to see it myself, perhaps almost as intensely as you do.
Take heart: There will be, in a few days or so, almost 5 minutes and just under 25 full seconds of me swimming the 500 to be posted soon!
But for now, the preliminary footage.
The first two are both from Friday, April 24th, after I have warmed up for the first time in the B70. I didn't have any competitive events this day, just let myself get used to the suit a bit.
The second two are from the morning of Saturday, April 25th, as Leslie "the Fortess" Livingston, blissfully unaware that she was driving me (illegally, as you shall see) to her own first national record, well, it is just a delicious irony to see Leslie in the very final charmed moments of her life before she transmogrified from amateur celebrity to professional celebrity, with all the attendant paparazzi style pains the latter are known to foist upon the truly great.
Thank god I am headed for no such fate myself!
Film 1: The Grand Sweep of the GMU Natatorium
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGPLw8_-JoY"]YouTube - Friday: A 2008 Zonesman Previews the 2009[/ame]
Film 2: Interview with David Bright on the B70's legality and predictions for my events
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWhTkgm3xVU"]YouTube - David Bright: On a Swimming Costume's Leg[/ame]
Film 3: Driving to GMU with the Great One and learning how to mix and max pills and inhalants.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUnrfwmrN4"]YouTube - Saturday Morning: Driving with Miss Fortr[/ame]
Film 4: Convincing the Great One to Break the Law
(Note: I may need to repost this one of Leslie breaking the traffic regulations under my relentless urging. It appears there has been an error, but try playing it anyhow.)
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8x328Ea56E"]YouTube - Saturday: First Illegality as the Drive C[/ame]
More soon, but for now, I must take my swine-fluish hulk to the sick bed and/or sick sty.
The doctor is in!
I was just able to cajole the lovely death doctor, Heather Rietz, MD, a great swimmer and Facebook friend, who knows more about "icing on the cake" in corpses than all of us put together, to agree to a Q & A about my groin infection.
This is what Dr. Reitz had to say:
heather, can you do me a huge favor?
No I will not lick your wound.
can you go to my vlog and look at my lesion and offer me the benefit of your pathologist's thoughts?
did you see today's pix?
It looks pretty nasty but it maybe looks better.
it is the weirdest thing
Did you acquire this in the wilderness?
does it look like MRSA or Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis
i am not sure where i got it.
it showed up a week or so after the wilderness
a very small little crack in the skin tha itched
Could be. I guess. Hard to tell now that it has been treated. Did your doctor culture it?
not yet, he took blood tests to see if it was rocky mountain spotted fever
i am so so so sick of it
Hmmm...are you systemically ill in any way?
when i first got back from idaho, i had a really bad cold that went away faster than any cold i had ever had (3-4 days). then i noticed this tiny little itchy area, tried to treat it with antifungals and cortisone cream, and it got much worse
and has since lingered despite antibiotics and antibiotic cream
It looks more bacterial to me. May just take more time.
Isn't one of your 500 some friends a dermatologist?
i am an impatient sick person
prone to catastrophizing
I would be much better at helping you if you sliced off a piece, put it in formalin so I could make a slide!
can i buy that stuff at radio shack?
I am impatient too. I would hate anything that kept me out of the pool. LOL!
oh, oh! it has been steadily "weeping" very slight amounts of pinkish fluid
I think that you need to go to AZ and go to Kurt Dickson's ER!
Does sound kind of blisterish!
the only strange symptom besides this is that the surround skin, as far back as the the first half of the left butt cheek, feels kind of almsot sunburned and sensitive
sorry for the lack of humor here!
major psychopathology taking hold
Be more likely to find formalin at a place like McDonald's!
Okay., could I have a Big Mac and a Petri dish? And yes, I do want fries with that
That's very odd. Not good to be a medical mystery!
the perfect storm for us nondelusional hypochondriacs
I think that you would be much more ill if it was MRSA!
yes, probably. i wonder if it could be a spider bite?
i'd hoped that land exercise wouldn't be bad for it, but the sweat didn't seem to help
it's almost like a burn
Could be. Brown recluse spider bites can be nasty like that.
i don't think they have them in Idaho
Yes I would say that it has to be kept as dry as possible.
I suppose other types of spiders could cause a similar reaction.
I would say if it's not significantly better by Thursday GO BACK!
well, thanks for listening. I might try to postpone my daily pictures unless there is something noticeably changed
Might need stronger drugs!
Okay. I doubt it will have changed much by then.
Would cortisone be a mistake on top on the antibiotic ointment? I suppose you want inflammationfor healing
right now, it just kind of burns
I would just put the antibiotic ointment on it. Burning could mean it's healing!
thanks, heather. you can have my body to look at when i expire
FANTASTIC! Hopefully I'll be retired by then.
i will be your advisor for affaires de la coeur. You can be mine for infections of the groin.
pretty much the same thing, when it comes down to it
Ha! Ha! Have a good night. Hope that you get back to the pool soon!
thanks. one last thing. have you ever heard of someone having a permanent groin infection that never goes away and just makes the person miserable for the rest of his hopeless life? and if so, is this common?
I don't think so. It should heal. You should know that you're not supposed to keep "touching" yourself down there. It will make your tallywacker fall off and you will go blind!
Great advice. I only wish I had learned it 57 years earlier. I am going to copy and post this conversation on my vlog for the benefit of my fellow members in the Mysterious Groin Affliction Sufferers
The doctor is out.
I played tennis again tonight, possibly a mistake, but it was in the 70s, and a balmy southern breeze under conditions of squinting could just possibly be mistaken for a summer wind, so I played.
Terribly. Mistake after error-riddled mishitting -- that word doesn't look right, perhaps it needs a hyphen: mis-hitting.
At one point I wondered if it is possible that I might just be one of those very rare individuals known as a savant idiot.
The more common idiot savant is, of course, a person tremendously gifted in one very specific skill: some weird math ability, for instance, or musical genius, or the ability to sculpt exact replicas of X or Y--but other than this one specific spot of genius, is sort of thick in all other avenues in life.
Could I be, I wondered, after flubbing yet another easy backhand into the net, or "lobbing" a wounded duck of a Penn 3 into the oversized sweet spot of my adversary's smashing Babelot--could I, might I, is it possible, even remotely, that the one known as Jimby might be a savant idiot:
A genius in every aspect of life except one, that being tennis, and in this area, I am profoundly retarded?
I was musing on my possible savant idiocy diagnosis when other areas of profound retardation began emerging: for example, not knowing how to stop talking about my lesion in polite company. This is probably a case of social retardation, but nuances aside, it did make me realize that tennis is not my only area of disabling dunderheadedness.
In fact, there appear to be many, not the least of which is the ability to remember the others.
So, I probably am not a Savant Idiot after all, at least in the true sense.
Our local paper wrote me up in an article today, which I found out by accident. The writer had emailed me some questions, which I filled out, and I thought she said she would call for a followup interview, but she didn't. Then when I was picking up a submarine sandwich for dinner tonight, the submarine sandwich vendor said, "You are Thornton, aren't you? I was reading about you in the Sewickley Herald."
You too can read about me in the Sewickley Herald. Interestingly, this is only Part 1. I may have mentioned during the email "interview" that I had developed a lesion following my return from Idaho.
I wonder if Part 2., which is scheduled to run next week, will focus on this aspect of my life.
Here is the link: http://www.yoursewickley.com/sewickl...-wild-part-one
Interestingly, three weeks earlier, the Sewickley Herald ran a different story on the Bed & Breakfast my wife and I (well, almost entirely my wife) restored. If you are ever likely to be in these here parts and want a nice place to stay that doesn't smell like a chain motel, you might want to check this out, too:
One thing you don't need to worry about is contracting my lesion.
It really does not seem to be getting better, nor worse.
I made an appointment for tomorrow. It may be time to remove my groin. Drastic, maybe even draconian. But sometimes you have to kill the patient to save him.
Little Jimby, it was nice being your traveling companion thru life, but it's time we parted ways.
The entire retrospective horrorshow for your continuing dietary efficacy:
The beautiful blonde dermatologist replied, when I began to tell her the history of my lesion and the possible (but ever more remote) chance that it came from the Wilderness, "Oh, I read about you in the paper."
Then she took her swab and rubbed the lesion so pitilessly I thought for sure I would swoon.
She took a hypodermic needle and injected me with some sort of anesthetic, which apparently works first as a pain magnifier.
I can't remember for certain, but I thought I heard her say, "Little prick, just for a moment."
When I came to, she had removed from her bag of Jeremy Irons-inspired surgical devices an implement she described as a cookie punch.
A minute later, a bit of Jimby dough had been removed and placed into some sort of biohazard bag with a mailing label. Here it joined with the swab samples.
She closed the wound with a single stitch.
The beautiful blonde dermatologist sans merci told me I could put my pants back on.
In a week, I shall know my fate, but it is looking increasingly like S.L.
She did not use this acronym exactly, but it was written in her beautifully green and merciless eyes: sexual leprosy, picked up from God knows where.
God most likely had very little to do with it.
You can search the dermatology pictures high and low and not find another picture that exactly resembles this one.
In one week, I shall return to learn my diagnosis.
I suspect this will be obvious in much less than a week.
Little or not, I am waiting for it to drop off, confirming what we all suspect.
The last picture I will likely post of my lesion, unless, that is, there is a hue and cry of begging for more.
Unlikely, I know. A graph of my recent vlog visits resembles the stock market last year.
If indeed it does fall off, perhaps there will be a slight bump as I apply to swim in the gender category we all know is where I belong.
Tis the end of Jimby the kind of man; and the birth of something a tad more monstrous and in need of warning the children about, as in "don't stare at that poor thing, kids--it can't help it, what it's become--it is merely paying the price for hope over reason."
The next time you think you see good in your fellow apes, remember this and think again!
50 back, 32.4, WR
Only one race on Sat, but it was my baby. Thrilled to break my own record and was somewhat surprised. I had a .60 reaction time but uncharacteristically botched the start a bit -- entered the water with my hands crossed instead of in a streamline. That's like a automatic break in the water and I was mentally letting out F bombs. Getting quickly into my SDK helped ameliorate this eror, but I know I lost a couple tenths here. The rest of the race felt good, good tempo and I even swam straight. My tempo slowed down a bit the last 10 meters, showing my lack of sprint conditioning. The only odd part of the race was that I felt like I had water flowing over my face the entire time making it difficult to see and breathe. Some of it was splash from my rapid fire turnover. But some felt unusual. Other backstrokers complained about this phenomenon. Don't know if it had anything to do with the current in the pool or what. If I didn't look that happy on the jumbotron (Water Rat commented on this), it was only because I was gasping for some air and sick of water in my face. 32.4 is my second fastest time ever. I had secretly hoped to be a bit faster, but there is always next time. That's the fate of sprinters -- any small deviation from perfection in the details costs you time. Still, the end result rocked!
There is a vid of this on my FB page. I need to figure out how to youtube it.
50 breast, 39.0, 2nd
Woohoo! I dropped 1.6 seconds from last year. What a shocker for me with only one little dolphin kick to get me through the race and no walls. I was really pleased when a couple breaststrokers commented that I looked like a legit evilstroker and was getting major forward progress from my undulation. A friend commented that I looked "like a dophin in the water." I guess my evil has improved this year from doing it in practice so frequently. The only technical difficulties were that I was under a tad too long on the start. After my pullout, I was not at the surface, so had to float up and hence was not ahead on the start. My stroke count was also off at the finish and I had to short stroke it to avoid a major glide into the wall. The remaining area that needs improvement is my whip kick. But I likely will just continue to fake and not work on that much.
50 fly, 30.4, under previous NR of 30.7
I knew going into this race that Lisa Dahl would be tough to beat. I'm not sure I've ever beat her in 50 fly LCM and she was on fire this meet. Kudos to her. My strategy was to go the entire first 15 meters underwater and try to hang on. I've never done that before on the 50, but thought it would save my arms. Very helpful that there was a marking at the bottom of the pool so I knew exactly when to breakout. As I knew would happen, I tightened up the last 5 meters. But the real problem was that I didn't hit the wall right. I was forced to glide in while Lisa slammed the wall. I think I lost on the last stroke; it was a Cavic-Phelps type situation. I thought I would be rather heartbroken about this. But, no, I was phlegmatic. You win some and you lose some in the world of sprinting. I believe 30.4 is my second best time and best textile time. (29.6 with the Jaked being my fastest ever from 2009). And 30.4 is vastly better than the 31.5 I swam last year at Auburn. I just needed more juice. Still, no one can be bummed about swimming under a Laura Val NR. And I believe only 1 person swam faster in the 40-49 age groups.
Thoughts on Omaha:
-- The pool and facility were fantastic. The arena setting meant ample seating. The warm down pool was fantastic with blocks in a couple sprint lanes to practice starts. And the jumbotron and cameras were pretty cool. There did seem to be a slight current in the pool. And you could often see ripples in the water, especially in the end lanes.
-- Much fun to be had hanging with friends, watching the racing and meeting some of my HIT peeps.
-- I am a short course swimmer. My best stroke is dolphin kick and long course deprives me of this weapon. My actual long course times are just flat out slower than my converted short course times.
-- I am really growing to hate the 15 meter rule. My dolphin kick has improved so much that I could maintain speed much further. Not that I'd like to go 50 meters UW, but I think 25 would be just dandy. I was bummed to have to come up in both fly and back this meet.
-- Because I am a kicker and turner, I MUST train long course to be at my best in long course. Long course feels like a different sport to me and there is a vastly bigger aerobic component. Not that I would need to do IG in practice, but the workouts I did after Greensboro did not prepare me adequately. And I was really negligent in not doing any lactate tolerance sets. I'm not sure about next long course season. There may always be a conflict between Lil Fort's track practices and NVSL meets and me training at Mason in the summer ... I'm not sure solo training at Rockville more often really would be enough either.
-- Greensboro and Omaha were just too close in time. I was uninspired for a few weeks after Greensboro and lost key training time. And I was never as sharp in May and June as I was from Jan to April in practice.
-- I did achieve my goal of swimming faster this year than last year at Auburn.
50 free: 29.6 --> 29.2
50 back: 32.5 --> 32.4
50 breast: 40.6 --> 39.0
50 fly: 31.5 --> 30.4
And I had been concerned that I wouldn't be able to do that after my last week of taper power outage hell. Looking at the times, I was definitely best on Sunday. Somewhat unusual for me. I felt out of sorts on Friday and better as the weekend progressed. I was even ready to do a 100 back when the meet ended. And I am contemplating going out to UMBC next weekend to pop one in on Sunday.
-- With the improvement in my breaststroke in the last year, I really feel like I am a four stroke swimmer now. Thank you fins and all those fast hand drills!
-- Overall, I give myself a B+. I would have given myself an A- if I hadn't scratched my 100 back split in the 200. But I was too tired to do it after 50 free and not mentally prepared. I should know never ever ever to sign up for back to back events at Nationals.
-- I got home at 3:00 am last night. Re-entry is apparently my 6th event.
-- Bring on short course! But not until I've goofed around for a while.
Updated July 9th, 2012 at 04:08 PM by The Fortress