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  1. Human, or at least my, limits reached?

    by , May 29th, 2009 at 12:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Yesterday, my 23rd consecutive day of punishing physical exercise, almost, but not quite, marked the end of the streak.

    It was a dispiritedly humid day of the late spring, early summer gloom variety, the likes of which seems to promote so much depression and weltshmerz in the psychiatrically frail types like myself. I spent the morning showing our recently vacated rental properties to a prospective tenant, came back to the house in a state of exhaustion that had seeped like the cadence of a Poe poem into the core of me.

    I lay myself upon the couch, turned on the TV in the hopes of finding some cheerful news about healthcare reform ("In a surprise move, Republican obstructionists today pulled pistols from their attache cases and fired bullets en masse into their temples.") Soon I had moved into a very deep sleep of the sort celebrated by Heinrich Heine in Morphine:

    Sleep is good: and Death is better, yet
    Surely never to have been born is best.
    --Aus Der Matratzengruft

    With a name like Heine, he's gotta be good.
    uring the course of this nap, which was indeed restorative--who knows how many obstructionists cheerfully immolated themselves in my happy dreams?--a storm front moved through our area. I was awakened by thunder and hail, realized that the likelihood of my tennis match being canceled two hours hence was exceedingly high, then immediately nodded off for more sleep and more promise of GOP slaughter and blood bathery.

    I awoke again, so deep in sleep inertia I could barely move. I contemplated the rest of my day, for there was much remaining: it was, after all, only 4:20 p.m., a good eight hours before my bedtime. Perhaps, I thought, I could go to the Y and do some weight lifting to keep the exercise streak going.

    Or I could hit the On Demand button on my Comcast remote control and watch 14 consecutive episodes of True Blood.

    Then my tennis opponent called up and told me it hadn't rained at all where he lived, about 5 miles away. So I dragged my carcass down to the surprisingly dry high school courts--puddles at my house deep enough for sustaining koi or at the very least snakeheads--and played, remarkably well, for the next 2.5 hours, keeping the streak robustly alive.

    Did He who made the Newt make thee?

    I don't know why I played well, but it was altogether unexpected.

    Is it possible John and I are actually identical triplets?

    Anyhow, the streak as of now includes:

    1. 3150 yards
    2. 500 & weights
    3. 3200
    4. weights
    5. tennis
    6. 4500
    7. weights
    8. 3800
    9. weights
    10. 5000
    11. weights
    12. tennis
    13. 5300
    14. tennis
    15. 4900
    16. weights
    17. 4500
    18. weights
    19. tennis
    20. 4600
    21. weights
    22. 4100
    23. tennis

    I stayed up late last night, relishing my tennis triumph, slept late this morning, my throat raw with a sore throat that has materialized out of the night. Who knows what has brought this new round of sickness upon me? Perhaps in the sleep world, the self-imolated obstructionists all rose from the dead, their bullet wounds and copious amounts of blood still in place, but now plodding about hither and yon with a zombie-like determination to obstruct all hope for the solvency of the likes of me.

    Could this have caused a sore throat?

    I need to buy some kind of sleep firearms to take with me to the other side the next time I visit the land of nod. I need to protect myself there from the Omega Men that are out to get me.

    Zombie Youth Spawn: the future of Republicanism?

    Practice tonight at the University of Pittsburgh, perhaps with the pool set up for long course. Sickness: you will not keep me from my practice! You are nothing compared to the fiends I face in the other world.

  2. Germis (TM) for the Dermis

    by , June 2nd, 2009 at 01:14 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    First, a quick recap of the attempt to exercise every day without a break for a month. The numbers refer to yards in the pool; weight and tennis refer to Nautilus circuits and either doubles or singles or both, for a minimum of 2 hours (though it's usually 3 hours 15 minutes, and on Sunday it was 4 hours).

    Here are where we are so far. If it doesn't rain, and I play tennis today, I will have technically satisfied my self-imposed challenge, having made a continuous month without a break, the month being a non-leap year February's 28 days.

    1. 3150 sickish
    2. 500 weights
    3. 3200
    4. weights
    5. tennis
    6. 4500
    7. weights
    8. 3800
    9. weights
    10. 5000
    11. weights
    12. tennis
    13. 5300
    14. tennis
    15. 4900
    16. weights
    17. 4500
    18. weights
    19. tennis
    20. 4600
    21. weights
    22. 4100
    23. tennis
    24. 3850
    25. weights
    26. 525 tennis
    27. 4400
    28. tennis if it doesn't rain?

    I began this quest by accident. After Colony Zones, I came home, swam the Monday practice, but by Wednesday was too sick too move. I didn't return to any form of exercise whatsoever until the following Wed., May 6th (note the adjective "sickish" above.)

    Leslie had by then convinced me to try weight lifting, plus tennis season was upon us, and my self-disgust was so high after 9 days of being a lallygagging layabout slugabed that I decided to try to catch up by exercising everyday for a while. After 11 days, I recognized I was on a streak.

    I continued onwards, almost like when I quit drinking: each new day of sobriety (or, in this case, abstinence from slugabedding) only inspiring me to keep it up.

    All went well until last week. On Thursday, my throat was sore, my lungs filled with sputum, and my muscles achy. I'd arranged to play singles at the high school with my friend John Delaney at 4:30. At 3, I fell asleep on the couch. At 3:30, I woke briefly to the sound of thunder, realized tennis would be canceled, told myself I could weight lift instead, fell back asleep.

    John called me at 4:15, waking me again, and asking if we were still on for tennis. I told him it had rained and the courts were drenched. He told me it hadn't rained where he lived, five miles away, and the high school courts were bone dry.

    I met him at the courts and played for 3 hours 15 minutes, and actually played the best I had all year, despite sickness.

    The next day, I felt much, much worse, and was ready to skip practice, but the streak wouldn't permit it.

    I went and swam slow. But Bill got me to race him on the fast push-off 100 (he'd just done a 1:57 on the fast push-off 200). I did a 59; he did a 52.9.

    Then, on the fast push-off 50, he did butterfly, which forced me to try. He did a 27 flat. I did a high 26 for freestyle.

    Saturday, I woke up at noon, feeling awful. I forced myself to go do Nautilus, came home, went back to sleep, spent the rest of the day watching True Blood reruns and the French Open.

    Sunday, I played tennis for four hours, which was very fun, though my shoulder is a bit sore now. Yesterday, I swam our "distance" practice:

    600 warm up
    8 x 100 on 1:20
    6 x 50 kick
    4 x 500 descend
    200 warm down
    4400 total

    I am a wreck today, and it's threatening to rain, but I am absolutely committed to playing tennis or doing Nautilus to keep the streak alive.


    Could this be my cure?

    Regular readers of this vlog may have noticed that I am sickly.

    Some have suggested hypochondria, the "some" here being pretty much everybody I have ever met since sliding out the abdominal C-section of my beloved mother in 1952.

    Finally, the reason for my regular bouts of illness have become clear. I refer your attention to a recent AP story, some of which I shall excerpt here for your edification:

    Scientists find bacterial zoo thrives in our skin

    May 28, 4:25 PM (ET)


    WASHINGTON (AP) - Eeeww. There's a zoo full of critters living on your skin - a bacterial zoo, that is. Consider your underarm a rain forest. Healthy skin is home to a much wider variety of bacteria than scientists ever knew, says the first big census of our co-inhabitants. And that's not a bad thing, said genetics specialist Julia Segre of the National Institutes of Health, who led the research.

    Sure they make your sneakers stinky, "but they also keep your skin moist and make sure if you get a wound that (dangerous) bacteria don't enter your bloodstream," she said. "We take a lot for granted in terms of how much they contribute to our health."

    The skin research, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, is part of that project. Scientists decoded the genes of 112,000 bacteria in samples taken from a mere 20 spots on the skin of 10 people. Those numbers translated into roughly 1,000 strains, or species, of bacteria, Segre said, hundreds more than ever have been found on skin largely because the project used newer genetic techniques to locate them.

    Topography matters, a lot, the researchers reported. If a moist, hairy underarm is like a rain forest, the dry inside of the forearm is a desert. They harbor distinctly different bacteria suited to those distinctly different environments. In fact, the bacteria under two unrelated people's underarms are more similar than the bacteria that lives on one person's underarm and forearm.

    Mom's advice to wash behind your ears notwithstanding, that spot contained the least diverse bacteria - 19 species on average. The most diverse spot: the forearm, which averaged 44 species....

    ... Segre hopes knowing there are so many bacteria alters how people think about the relationship.

    "I'm a mother of two small children; I believe very strongly in sanitation, washing your hands," Segre said. But, "we have to understand that we live in harmony with bacteria and they are part of us as super-organisms ... and not just conceive of bacteria as bad and germs and smelly."


    You may suspect I am joking here, but I am not: swimming, I am convinced, is what is making me sick. (It's also making me healthy, and I don't plan to stop, but the sick-inducement part of it needs some sort of remedy. More on this in a moment.)

    Actually, it isn't swimming per se that makes me sick, but regular immersion in the chlorinated water. The delicate ecosystem of my germ-riddled skin is being thrown out of whack by the germ-killing powers of chlorine, allowing evil flora and fauna to attack me once the protective flora and fauna have been felled.

    For years, I have not "needed" to use soap or deodorant provided I swim every other day. To me, it seems impossible to believe that any dirt can survive on a body that thrashes about in water for 1.5 hours at a time. At this point, soap only dries out the skin and makes me itch. Good riddance.

    (Note: I have also avoided brushing my teeth for decades, fearing I might tamper with the delicate ecology of my mouth, but that's a different story and the topic of a future vlog.)

    But it looks like a complete lack of hygiene is not enough to keep me healthy. I need some way to re-infect myself with skin germs post-practice.

    You know those new types of yogurts that supposedly add "probiotics" to your digestive tract? Probiotics is a code word for health germs.

    I need a skin moisturizer containing all sorts of probiotics--a witch's brew of thriving bacteria evolved to live on my skin and protect me after practice. Perhaps I could trademark such a product myself:

    Germis (TM) --for whenever you are too clean for your own good: Germis for the Dermis!

    Alas, I will need seed money to pioneer Germis for the Dermis, which I imagine at this point will be a dirt-covered slathering salve filled with all manner of healthful E. coli and other strains we need to feel our best and smell our worst!

    Until then, I must come up with another solution.

    Along these lines, are there any filthy women out there that would be willing to give me a full body rub down apres workout to restore to my skin the pestilence I need to stay healthy?

    It's 1 o'clock--only three and a half hours to tennis...

    If there's one good thing about land sports in the summer, they do keep your skin nice and germ-riddled, provided, that is, you can resist the urge to shower afterward.

    Alas, if you can't resist such an urge, I urge you to slather yourself dun-colored with Germis for the Dermis (when it becomes available)--and until then, find a filthy member of the sex you are oriented towards and try to coax a germ exchange pronto.
  3. Streak Ends

    by , June 5th, 2009 at 01:29 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Greatest athletic streak since Joe DiMaggio ends with a migraine whimper

    Jun 5, 11:28 AM (ET)

    by Jim Thornton

    SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS, PA (AP) Not since Joltin' Joe's 56-game hitting streak in 1941, which the New York Times called "perhaps the most enduring record in sports", has so a serious contender for a new record emerged as Jim Thornton's "continuous daily exercise regimen."

    Thornton, a nondescript balding 56-year-old (FINA 57) swimmer from suburban Pittsburgh, was finally forced to end his amazing run yesterday, June 4, 2009, at 3 p.m.

    The cause: the first migraine he had suffered in years.

    [ame=""]YouTube - migraine art[/ame]

    Medical disorder or involuntary trip to an "outsider art" museum?

    "At least it indicates I must be in pretty good shape," said the ever jocular Thornton from his fainting couch the next day. "A headache specialist once explained to me that migraine frequency decreases with advancing years because the arteries supplying the brain tend to harden with atherosclerosis. To have a healthy headbanging migraine headache, you need flexible, youthful arteries that have the elasticity to spasm.

    "I guess all this exercise I've been doing recently has restored some flexibility to my carotids," Thornton concluded.

    His streak ended after 29 days of continuous daily exercise--arguably enough to meet his goal of a full month. Thornton technically achieved his own self-imposed goal a day earlier with a "normal February's 28 days worth of exercise." By making it to the 29th day, he guaranteed he'd exercised all permutations that February can throw at a person, both it's non Leap and Leap Year quantities of days.

    "It would have been nice to make it one more day to cover September, April, May, and November," says Thornton. "Two more days and I would have covered all the rest, including February."

    Ironically, Thornton had just recently made tentative arrangements to travel to Mexico to pick up medicinal drugs without a prescription and reimport these, hopefully legally and without any kind of bureaucratic rigmarole at the border. He was about to ride his Honda Metropolitan motor scooter to the YMCA and do weight lifting when the telltale "scintillating crescents" and tunnel blindness of a migraneur's early stage symptomatology began overtaking his visual field.

    As always, he hoped he was deluding himself and that these visual anomalies would pass. When they didn't, and he found himself unable to read, he knew what was coming.

    [ame=""]YouTube - Optical Migraine[/ame]

    The above might help you simulate what these scintillating crescents look like.

    He quickly went upstairs to his bedchamber, located a bottle of Roxicets, took a leak, dimmed the lights, turned on the radio to a very low volume to distract himself from woeful imaginings and other dire verbigeration that tends to run through the head of an active migraineur, popped a Roxicet, and launched into a body posture he'd developed as a much younger man as a way of coping with the intense one-sided agony of head pain to come.

    Thornton's technique, which he is trying to trademark under the name Body BloodLock (TM), is simple and may well provide relief to millions of other self-treating migraneurs across the country whose health insurance is inadequate (do not get him started!) to pay for actual treatment.

    Directions for Body BloodLock (TM):

    1. Lie down with head elevated (i.e., use several pillows)
    2. Do not move, not even the slightest twitch imaginable. Do not flex a toe nor point of finger.
    3. The only motion allowable is blood engorgement of the urogenital tract, if such can be facilitated by un-exciting thought alone (virtually impossible--Thornton, for his part, did not even try.)
    4. Once you have entered into the Body BloodLock (TM) posture of absolute muscular immobility (though movement through penile or vaginal blood engorgement, again, is allowable but only if achieved without any physical or mental stimulation whatsover), remain this way for the next four hours minimum, eight hours is preferable.

    • Explanation for the efficacy ofBody BloodLock (TM) migraine-ameliorating efficacy: As most of you will recall from high school biology, the venous blood system depends, in part, on the contraction of skeletal muscles to propel blood through veins back to the heart. Veins, of course, have one-way valves that prevent blood from moving backwards. There is usually enough blood pressure alone to ensure that circulation continues without muscular contractions, however, as fainting soldiers forced to stand for hours at attention will attest, immobility does cause a certain stagnation of blood in the circulatory system. TheBody BloodLock (TM) maneuver operates similarly. By remaining absolutely still, more of your total blood pools in the lower body and extremities, which means there is less available to be pumped to your brain where the crimson pressure would otherwise make the migraine pain even more unendurable that it already is.
    • That and the roxicet seem an excellent one-two punch.

    Despite his setback, Thornton hopes to start building a new streak soon, beginning as early as today.

    "I hope to swim at Trees Pool tonight," he says, massaging the eggplant colored blood clots that have appeared in his calves after 16 continuous hours of Body BloodLock (TM). "I'm not sure I can drive, and I know I can't walk. I will keep you posted."
  4. Running and HDL levels

    by , June 12th, 2009 at 04:31 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    A year ago, I was just swimming, lifting weights, and doing a little bit of cycling. I had a physical done and my cholesterol counts were not optimal. My doc suggested that I cut the saturated fats out of my diet. I did so as much as possible and in October had another cholesterol test. My LDL level (the bad cholesterol) had dropped, but so had my HDL level (the good cholesterol). The HDL level had dropped to 50. At the beginning of 2009, I decided to start running on a consistent basis. I had a physical a little over two weeks ago, but before I started my new nutrition plan. My good cholesterol had skyrocketed to 66. Apparently, anything over 60 is supposed to be protective against heart disease and only 10% of the population over 40 has an HDL over 60.

    My bad cholesterol level is better than a year ago, but still not quite optimal. This is why having an outstanding good cholesterol level is so important for me. So, because of this, I have decided to keep my running up during the horrid heat and humidity. I'm convinced that running is the cause of the HDL boost.

    Today, I went out and ran 6 miles. I have decided that since I am running in less than optimal conditions, I will not worry about my time or pace this summer. Today I ran the first 3 miles at what felt like a pretty steady pace, but the last 3 miles I had to throw a little bit of walking in there.

    Updated June 12th, 2009 at 05:03 PM by elise526

  5. 13 ways of looking at catastrophe

    by , June 15th, 2009 at 09:20 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    1. I can keep paying 33.16 percent of my pretax income for health insurance premiums until I have exhausted our home equity credit line, or I can go naked--no health insurance at all, since what I have is all I can get. In the case of the latter, I will be one medical catastrophe in the future away from bankruptcy. In the case of the former, I will undergo bankruptcy on the installment plan.

    2. Come and listen to a story about a man named Jim
    A one-time bourgeoisie, easily kept his family fed,
    Then one day he was shootin at some peasants,
    And up through the ground came a bubblin crude.

    Toxins, that is, black sludge, DDT.

    Well the first thing you know ol Jim's a thousandaire,
    Kinfolk said "Jim move away from there"
    Said "Mumbai is the place you ought to be"
    So they loaded up the boat and moved to India.

    Slums, that is. Dupont spills, slumdogs.

    Well now it's time to say good by to Jim and all his kin.
    And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly piling on.
    You're all invited back again to this locality
    To have a heapin helpin of their organs bodily.

    Livers, that is. Kidneys, too, Take your pick. It's all there's left to sell!

    Y'all come back now, y'hear?.

    A change to the living will of James S. Thornton:

    In case of medical catastrophe, I hereby decree that I want to be kept alive with every possible expensive high-tech gadget and drug now known and invented in the future, until the entire $25 million coverage I have paid for to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has been completely and utterly exhausted down to the final penny, at which point, I authorize plug-pulling from my exhausted remains. Moreover, I demand that even in the event that there is zero brain activity whatsoever measurable inside my ruined corpus during the decades that I am, quasi-posthumously, exerting my revenge, er, I mean, getting my financially obligated healthcare paid for by my usurious insurer, that I want the maximum sub lethal dose of morphine, Xanax, and (if legal) cocaine dripped intravenously through my system 24/7/365 till the $25 million is exhausted. (I want my estate to be provided with an exact accounting of every penny spent, too; no $4 aspirin tablets without justification for same in triplicate.) And finally, I would request that an ever-rotating squadron of Bible Thumping Palin-Supporter Abortion Clinic Bombing Evangelists be given access to my bed side during visiting hours to pray over me and do their best to stimulate my resurrection via the literal rhythmic thumping of their Bibles, not to mention a constant sneer of menace towards any doctor, nurse, orderly, or candy striper who even thinks of ending my so-called life before the $25 million is spent.

    4. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, of the estimated 50 million Americans currently without health insurance, only 1-2 percent are in the state voluntarily--i.e, they make enough money to pay for it, but just cavalierly choose not to pay for it

    5. Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University told me that the current system is "cruel" and that the propagandists at the Wall Street Journal and the Murdoch Media Empire are reminiscent of infamous propagandists from his former country of Germany, but when I suggested the name Goebbels, he said, "You can't say that I said that."

    6. The little old lady that swallowed the fly is extremely familiar to me. Similarly, the sled dog that falls before its rapacious pack mates is a creature that I feel an almost Shirley McClain-like previous-life identification with. Between a hornet buzzing in my lungs, and scars on my jugulars, I am left to wonder: how many more incarnations before I get out of this hell hole?

    7. 13 ways is an awful lot of ways to look at something this revolting

    8. Who knows what combination of depression and sleep disorder throws cognition for a ringer? Who knows what causes these disorders? To make enough money to pay for their treatment, I asked my doctor about Provigil, a "wakefulness promoting agent" that is used by the military to keep our combat pilots awake and at peak mental functioning for days at a time. To prescribe it, he needed an FDA approved condition--take your pick, shift work disorder or narcolepsy. Alas, there was nothing on the form for "getting old, hard to think intensely hour after hour after hour, in the hope of eking out enough of a so-called living to pay for taxes and health insurance and social security I will never see, all the while crippled with sleepiness induced as a likely side effect of antidepressants." So he picked narcolepsy. Which I don't technically have, but nevertheless appears now to make me utterly uninsurable if I try to change health plans.

    9.As kids, my brother and I were once playing in a sewer pipe. I went in and got stuck. I could not back out. The only way out was forwards. But the more I tried to wriggle in this direction, the tighter the grip of the inside diameter. I can still remember that feeling of suffocation, a rat stuck, no exit. Somehow, miraculously, my brother managed to stick his legs in and push me out. I don't think I will get out this time.

    10. Most people, myself included, have felt some sympathy for the underclass--those who are stuck in horrible situations, in places where the nearest fresh vegetable, for instance, is three bus transfers away in the suburbs, and meanwhile they get criticized for eating junk food. I know my current situation is nothing like this. But I also suspect we are hardwired to feel worse about change for the worse than something bad that has been that way so long we are used to it. All I am saying is that when you feel things are rigged for the benefit of others, and when you furthermore feel that these other "beneficiaries" are cloaking their greed in virtue, wrapping themselves in platitudes like Freedom and The Unseen Hand of the Market, when in fact it is nothing but a license to grab for themselves not just an extra spot at the trough, but THE ENTIRE TROUGH, well it just makes you think how satisfying it might be to rise up and go berserk.

    O thin men of Haddam,
    Why do you imagine golden birds?
    Do you not see how the blackbird
    Walks around the feet
    Of the women about you?

    12. Prediction: depression, plague, World War, halcyon aftermath; repeat.

    13. Tonight's practice: 5000 yards.
    My fastest of our 14 x 200s was a mediocre 2:10. Must work and try harder. It is, I think, important that I keep my body in as close to age-adjusted superb shape as possible so that when the inevitable medical catastrophy strikes, the body will be able to survive long enough to exhaust the entire $25 million in lifetime benefits that my health insurer has promised is coming to me, and which I hope--with my last dying, brain-dead breath--to use to the final penny, out of nothing more than spite.
  6. Swim n Lift

    by , June 19th, 2009 at 09:49 PM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    5 x 100 w/u Snork, snork, paddles, paddles, swim.
    5 x 200 build by 50's each 200 3:30
    200 EZ
    12 x 25 K no fins :45 Mx3, Fx1
    4 thru did about :10-15 RI (clocks sucked)
    50Kick fins
    25Swim 1 & 2 FR 3&4 FL. Did a very zippy 25 FLY felt like I nailed the stroke.

    500 EZ

    Lifted at about 85% today.
  7. Femme, Freestyle, Flu, and Flip

    by , July 2nd, 2009 at 07:24 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)

    It has been seemingly forever since one of my Vlogs has attracted 850+ hits (Spatulizaton Surgery) or 2000+ hits (my feature on swimming teammate, Meera "Will Swim For Polish Vodka" Ramsooksingh).

    I thought that perhaps the fault was in my recent propensity for depressive ruminations, so it seemed reasonable that throwing a CreamPuff swim in might counter the trend towards melancholia and downerville descent. However, the recent posting that featured the velocitudinous maiden generated not much more, if any more, vlog traffic than the preceding entry, which compared modern life to the urge to vomit and the hope you can avoid vomiting but can't.

    Neither extreme seems to have captured much of an audience. Thus today's entry will be my attempt to appeal to many, many different volg-experiencing constituencies.

    1. Femme. As you can see, I am leading this vlog with a picture of our favorite Mermaid, a former Miss Junior Teenager Pennslvania who is clutching in her very dainty mitts in the picture above the official paper documenting that she has finally managed to ditch her slave name and re-adopt her maiden name in its place. Congratulations to our cheerful teammate who is no longer the linguistic chattel of what some have described as a living "devil." Today is also her birthday. Mermaid, this vlog--and the extreme free publicity it is likely to generate for any of your future money-making schemes and/or attempts to get a greater number of Facebook friends than me--well, this is your birthday gift from me.

    What's that I hear?

    Nonsense, you must keep this present! I know it's expensive, but I wouldn't think of accepting it back.

    Okay, so much for the lecherous subset of the vlogging viewership.

    2. Freestyle After last Sunday's 4 hour tennis beating, during which the combination of exhaustion and defeat conspired to drive me into the ground, I went to swimming practice on Monday and was unable to make the intervals! I ended up doing the whole practice and then some, however, I was slow, exhausted, achy, chilled (despite the chronically high temperatures of our Y septic tank), and riddled with stomach pains (though this could have been the fault of a training meal of french fries, a chocolate milkshake, and chicken wings.) Anyhow, I didn't do anything on Tuesday save lie around and ache in a fluish way. On Wednesday, I forced myself to go to practice but gave myself permission to go extremely slow, swim nothing but freestyle, and leave at any time. I ended up feeling okay, provided I did not swim hard. Of 3400 yards, only two 50s were swum out of my comfort zone.

    Audience for above: swimmers looking for excuses to take it easy during practice when they imagine they might be sick.

    3. Flu. I've been reading about the 1918 Pandemic and trying to arrange some interviews for what looks to be my next article--i.e., what the worried epidemiological world is doing now in the hopes of preventing a mass casuatly tag-team scenario or bird and swine flu strains, coming back with a vengeance. In the process of preliminary research, i came across the theories of one Paul Ewald, Ph.D., one of the founders of evolutionary medicine. I had assumed that he subscribed to the notion that viruses, for the most part, evolve in the direction of less virulence (rather than more of it) over time, under the theory that it does a rider little good to kill the horse upon which he is speedily galloping. It turns out the evolutionary biology of pathogens is infinitely more complex, and the "lesser virulence" scenario holds mainly when transmission from host to host becomes more difficult. I don't want to bore you with concepts I myself have not yet mastered, but suffice it to say, and you heard it first here, I predict a relative paucity of deaths come this winter, though a reasonably high infection rate. If you are lucky enough to have already caught flu, but the case was so mild that you wrote it off as a cold, then you, madam or sir, are almost certainly sitting in the catbird's seat.

    Audience: me. I am really hoping that the last few days of achiness will be the only price I have to pay for not dying in November.

    4. Flip. In the regular threads, Anna Lea Matysek, blushing bride of our web master nonpareil, AKA, MR. Anna Lea Matysek, or "Jim" Matysek as he was known before he married Anna Lea, recently posed a question about cheap video equipment. I answered her question in words there on the thread itself. Then, desirous of a break in reading about virulence evolution, I decided to do a video review of my recommended cheap camera, the Flip Ultra.

    Here 'tis.

    [ame=""]YouTube - Untitled[/ame]
  8. Sat on my ass all day, Saturday, June 3

    by , July 3rd, 2009 at 08:42 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Although I have no desire whatsoever to be a so-called "weekend warrior," I felt compelled to sit on my ass all day to rest the sore hammies. Well, I did technically stand for 3 hours (and, sadly, was forced to issue a couple backstroke turn DQs), but I did not seek to exercise in any way, shape or form. I went to a movie (Public Enemies -- not very good), drank beer and ate pizza with friends and failed to stretch.

    I was chatting with my sometime workout buddy Wally today at our local relay meet (he was exerting himself with a 25 breast). He informed me that we, in a lapse into the "it's just masters" mentality no doubt, had both missed the entry deadline for junior and senior champs. We were both sending out emails today to see if we could sneak into these meets.

    As I was doing this, I received the following email from my coach about all the events in the area:

    One local swim meet and lots of open water swims coming up. Feel free to enter:

    July 19 - DCRP LCM Meet - (outdoors!) Hains Point -Washington DC - (meetentries postmarked by July 10)

    July 11 - Swim for Life (1,2,3,4, or 5 miles) - Chestertown
    MD (hosted by DCAC)

    Jul 11 Captain Craig 1 mile swim - Ocean City, MD
    More info:

    Jul 11 1-3 Mile Open Water Championships (2 miles) -
    Canandaigua Lake, Canandaigua, NY

    Jul 11 Chris Greene Lake Cable Swim, Charlottesville VA -

    Jul 11 Swim for the Dolphins Wildwood Crs, NJ

    Jul 11 1st Annual East Hampton Ocean Rescue Ocean Swim -
    $35.00 day-of
    registration Registration begins at 7:00 A.M. at Kirk Park
    beach (next
    to IGA as one comes in to Montauk) Race time 8:00 A.M.
    Distances 2 mile, 1 mile, 1/2 mile swimming west to east
    along the
    bluffs of Montauk and ending at Ditch Plains Beach Shirts,
    caps provided
    All proceeds are going to the Montauk Playhouse Foundation
    and East
    Hampton Ocean Rescue Questions...e-mail John Ryan @ or call @ 631 324-2787

    Jul 18 Ocean City Masters Swim Ocean City, NJ

    Jul 18 Aquathlon: Stars & Stripes Swim 1.5 K / Run 5 K
    Riverside Park Tune Up Swim 1.5 K New York NY

    Jul 18 Greenwich Point 1 mile Swim; Greenwich, CT

    Jul 25 Swim Barnegat 1 Mile Swim Barnegat, NJ

    Aug 1 USMS 6+ Mile Open Water Championships (10 km) -
    Little Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, Harbor Springs, MI

    Aug 8 - 2 mile Island Beach Swim - Greenwich, VA

    Aug 9 Grimaldo's Mile - Coney Island, NY -

    Aug 15 USMS 2009 2-Mile Cable Championships - Mirror Lake,
    Lake Placid, NY

    Aug 15 Against the Tide 1 Mile Swim Brewster, MA

    Aug 15 Save the Bay 1.7 mile Swim Newport, RI

    Aug 16 Pennock Island Challenge 8 miles Ketchikan Alaska

    Oct 18 - Bermuda Round the Sound 10K, 7.25K, 4K, 2K, or .8K
    Swim -

    Aug 22 Clean Harbor Swim Gloucester MA

    Sep 12 USMS 2009 3-6 Mile Open Water Championships (5 km) -
    Lake Michigan, Chicago, IL

    Sep 12 Brooklyn Bridge Swim 1K New York NY

    Sep 12 Swim for Life - Provincetown MA

    Sep 26 Little Red Lighthouse Swim 5.85 Mile New York NY

    Oct 18 - St. Croix 5 mile swim - St. Croix VI

    Seems a tad bit lopsided, no? I guess, if I don't get into my preferred meet, I could attend Hains Point. I just am not a fan of this pool or swimming backstroke outdoors.

    Someday, if I don't have a taper meet in the summer and am actually running more regularly (is that allowed for masters or did I just dream up the neurotic runners I know who wirelessly download their Garmin 405 workout stats?), I'd like to do the Stars & Stripes Aquathlon purely for fun. I guess this kind of low key fun is permissible, right?

    Updated July 4th, 2009 at 02:04 PM by The Fortress

  9. Why am I broken down?

    by , July 10th, 2009 at 09:50 PM (Elise's Fitness Fun)
    Got in a quick weight workout at the Y. Had to cut it short in a few areas to get to dinner on time.

    Bench press: 2 sets of 95 x 8
    Lat pull-downs: 110 x 10, 130 x 8, 150 x 6
    Military press: 2 sets of 50 x 10
    Triceps press: 2 sets of 40 x 10
    Alt. hammer curls: 2 sets of 15 x 10

    Pull-up/push-up set:
    3 pull-ups
    20 push-ups with bosu ball
    2 pull-ups
    10 push-ups with bosu ball

    Core work:
    25 crunches with Swiss ball
    25 bicycles
    25 good morning darlings
    25 back extension

    Toe raises: 10 front, 10 outward, 10 inward

    Question: I'm only swimming around 10,000 to 11,000 yards a week (still have to get in my workout tomorrow - am at 7500 for this week) and lifting twice a week. Yesterday, I could tell when I was swimming that I had that broken down feeling in my arms. How could this be? I'm not doing that much. Or am I? I've been lifting heavy weights, but surely I wouldn't feel that broken down with only doing it twice a week. I'd love to hear any thoughts on this.

    Updated July 10th, 2009 at 10:04 PM by elise526

  10. Sat & Sun, July 19-20

    by , July 19th, 2009 at 09:46 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)

    Feeling a bit jinxed about meets. On Saturday, Mr. Fort left to take the girls to the summer league meet an hour or so from our house for warm up. (I was supposed to follow with my Mom later, as they were both swimming in the second half of the meet.) Unfortunately, he left with both sets of car keys. So I missed both their meet and my own meet. I couldn't get there in time for warm up and positive check in. I was a bit bummed, as I was looking forward to the 100 back. No matter, I'll just see how it goes in Indy.

    Did 30 minutes on the indoor cycle and 15-20 minutes of Rc exercises



    explosive lifting:
    HS bench press, 50 x 3 x 10
    HS hi row, 90 x 3 x 10
    tricep press, 45 x 3 x 10
    total ab machine, 90 x 3 x 15

    external and internal rotators, 10 x 3 x 15, each arm
    seated straight arm dips, 60 x 2 x 25
    elevated crunches w/12.5 lb weights, 2 x 25
    windshield wipers, 2 x 20
    iron monkey, 1 x 25
    back extensions, 2 x 25



    700 warm up

    8 x (4 x 50) @ :55-1:00
    #1 = backstroke kick
    #2 = backstroke
    #3 = flutter kick w/board
    #4 = fly or br drill

    #1 & #2 = 10/8 SDK (like Chris, I'm a fan of hypoxic work during taper)
    50 EZ

    20 x 25 w/fins
    odds = alternate AFAP free, AFAP flutter kick shooter
    evens = EZ

    150 C/D

    Total: 3000


    Funny note: My son asked for the Hopper Deck for his birthday. Seems like the coach at his rowing camp is a fan of Cross Fit.
  11. Tue Jul 28th, 2009

    by , July 28th, 2009 at 11:13 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Tue Jul 28th, 2009

    Swimming Bans High-Tech Suits, Ending an Era

    13th FINA World Championships 2009 - Roma (Italy) are going on
    Day 3 finals begin at noon EST / 11 central
    Watch it on Universal Sports


    6:00 - 7:30
    whiteny Coached
    Garrison pool

    400 fr
    100 k
    400 fr
    100 k

    Main Set

    4 x 200 on 2:45
    4 x 150 on 2:20 breathe 6, 5, 4, 3 times per length
    4 x 100 on 1:20
    4 x 050 on 0:50 breathe 6, 5, 4, 3 times per length
    100 IM

    repeat above set again
    todd did the 200's on 2:40, had trouble with em, skipped a 100
    felt a little out of shape from missing work outs last week and sore from my long walk


    looking for a couple SCM Meets in Oct Nov or Dec, we'll see, want a fast pool & a big meet to provide more rest between events
    Swim Workouts
  12. FINA's Body Suit Ban: Unintended Consequences

    by , August 4th, 2009 at 02:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    First of all, I apologize to my multitudinous vlog fans for the past several weeks (months?) of summer sabbatical. As is often the case with my vlogging schedule, it periodically needs to take a backseat to my actual job of writing for money. If USMS would simply agree to pay me the same $3.37 per word that I have been getting from my employer, I would be able to buy beers for all my alcoholic competitors at Indy the night before we race.

    In any event, I have been so busy trying to answer a topical question that I have neglected my vlog entirely, and for this, I apologize.

    BTW, the topical question is fairly straightforward:

    What does the public thinks is more likely to kill them: novel H1N1 adding virulence factors, H5N1 adding more efficient human to human transmission, a hellish recombined chimera of H1N1/H5N1, seasonal flu, or some other as yet off-the-radar "ethereal liquid from the heavens"?

    Stay tuned for the answer to the above.

    For now, as I prepare to embark in the Honda Conestoga Prairie Schooner to cross the Great Plains and amber fields of grain smothered in buffalo herds, the skies blackened by flocks of passenger pigeons from one end of the horizon to the next, stopping only to refuel the Civic and repel Indians, all the way from Pittsburgh to Indiana, my left arm exhibiting strange tingling numb sensations, my weight--despite gluttony--plummeting from stress and occult infections, all of this to reach what is surely to be my final LCM Ragnarok wearing a high tech body suit of water repelling armor---

    it has occurred to me that FINA may just possibly be making a mistake in its insistence that men return to the yesteryear of briefs.

    Oh, this may be fine for your Popov's and your Lochte's, your Phelps's and your Spitz's.

    But for many an aging hirsute flabbmeister of a male masters swimmer, the last thing that is likely to encourage meet participation is MORE REVEALING SWIMSUITS...

    Bad enough that our loved ones and proctologists must see such nightmares. But the innocent public?

    The truth is that human males, like silver back gorillas, become more disgustingly hairy (and paradoxically attractive to the young female gorillas, but that's beyond the scope of today's vlog) with every passing year.

    Despite the best efforts of Bruno and the Gillette Shaving Co., body depilation remains the province of the metrosexually insecure and the porn star, both of which apparently subscribe to Gillette's latest slogan: The Tree Looks Taller When Its Base Has Been Cleared Of Underbrush.

    For those of us who have long ago made peace with the fact that our saplings will never be mistaken for sequoias, this bandillaro stuck deep into the insecurity lobe draws no blood.

    We are of the generation who will go to our graves believing with all our hearts a central tenant of masculinity:

    Real Men Do Not Bikini Wax.

    Hence the dilemma posed by the back-to-the-future return to the Spitz brief era.

    Trying to cheer myself up for this prospect, I recently had an occasion to don an old pair of Speedo briefs. On the private grounds of my estate, I arranged a private photo sesssion of myself so garbed and simulating a variety of swimming poses likely to be seen by thousands of fellow swimmers and gawking spectators at future national masters meets where I shall have no choice but to swim thusly equipped.

    I had very much hoped that the subsequent photos would prove my reservations laughable, that I would look perfectly fine, no cause whatsoever for concern.

    But when the prints came back from Helmut Newton's Professional Photo Lab, and I saw for the first time just what these suits do to the body of a 56-year-old man who will, starting Thursday, be swimming as a FINA-57-year-old Master, I must say I fear this new rule could literally kill our sport.

    Kill it, bury it, dig it up from the grave, kill it again, bury it again, then spray accelerants on the grave site and burn the whole Mother ****er down.

    But that's just my fear. Perhaps I am just being paranoid.

    Perhaps you should decide if you want to see me, and guys like me, in these outfits at a pool near you as early as Jan. 2010!

    And thus I herewith present a photo gallery of a typical man's man at 56, wearing a Speedo brief:

    I have chopped off my head for this first image so that you can use your imagination to stick the head of a teammate of your choice upon a very typical aging male swimmer's body.

    Here, I add my head but do so in a way, admittedly, intended to flatter me. But does a victory pose become me? I can't decide.

    Here I am, showing off my sinewy physique in the hopes of distracting the viewer's eyes from dipping towards my nether regions. For some odd reason, I am having trouble getting the Joseph Conrad quote out of my mind: "The horror!" he wrote. "The horror!"

    I prefer the traditional start, and in this pose, I mimic what legions of masters swimming fans will be seeing soon at meets near you when I, and guys like me, mount. The blocks, that is.

    Probably best that the track start came too late for me to master. Of all my various action poses, this may be the least flattering.
  13. Thursday Aug 6th, 2009

    by , August 6th, 2009 at 12:27 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Thursday Aug 6th, 2009

    arrived on time

    2009 USMS LCM Nats started today


    6:00 - 7:30
    whitney Coached
    Garrison pool
    swam with tyler, todd, doug & nned
    beside larry mary katie & paul
    dove in on time

    200 swim
    200 pull
    200 kick
    200 drill
    (all 150 free/50 NO free)

    Main Set
    3 rounds of: descend each round rest :30 after each swim
    400 free
    200 IM
    100 best

    assigned: 20 x 50 with fins @ :50
    1-5 kick 6-10 fly/free 11-15 kick 16-20 back/free
    did: no fins, on kick I kicked a 25 swam a 25

    10 x 100 free pull
    1 - 4 free strong interval on 1:20, 1:15 2nd round
    #5 easy

    here's what we're doing tomorrow for

    Fri 8/7
    free swim until 6:25 am; stretch it out, good head position, good body position; get ready to swim FAST

    Main Set
    10 x 200 @ 5:00
    1-5 descend 1-5
    6-10 Hold pace of #5

    100 easy

    5 x 100 @ 2:30
    1-3 descend 1-3
    4-5 Hold pace of #3

    100 easy

    2,700 plus 25 minute warm-up


    looking for a couple SCM Meets in Oct Nov or Dec, we'll see, want a fast pool & a big meet to provide more rest between events


    Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic
    Orlando, FL
    10/17 & 18

    Ron Johnson Invitational in
    Tempe, AZ
    11/21/2009 - 11/22/2009

    SPMA Short Course Meters Championships in
    Long Beach, CA
    Friday December 4 - Sunday 6, 2009
    Swim Workouts
  14. Friday Aug 7th, 2009 Fast Friday

    by , August 7th, 2009 at 10:18 AM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Friday Aug 7th, 2009

    World gym in San Marcos
    lat press 8 x 35 8 x 40 8 x 45 6 x 50
    lat pull 10 x 150 8 x 160 8 x 175
    bench press 10 x 135 10 x 155 8 x 165
    leg press 10 x 180 10 x 270

    arrived on time

    2009 USMS LCM Nats


    6:00 - 7:30
    whitney Coached
    Garrison pool
    swam with amy, tyler, todd, chris, doug, chris & brandon
    dove in on time

    choice swim till 6:25

    Main Set

    10 x 200 @ 5:00
    1-5 descend 1-5
    6-10 Hold pace of #5
    2:33, 2:25, 2:27, 2:25, 2:23
    2:23, 2:27, 2:24, 2:23, 2:19

    100 easy

    5 x 100 @ 2:30
    1-3 descend 1-3
    went 1:19, 1:14, 1:09
    4-5 Hold pace of #3
    went 1:07, 1:03

    100 easy

    2,700 plus 25 minute warm-up


    looking for a couple SCM Meets in Oct Nov or Dec, we'll see, want a fast pool & a big meet to provide more rest between events


    Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic
    Orlando, FL
    10/17 & 18

    Ron Johnson Invitational in
    Tempe, AZ
    11/21/2009 - 11/22/2009

    SPMA Short Course Meters Championships in
    Long Beach, CA
    Friday December 4 - Sunday 6, 2009
  15. Sports Nutrition Findings

    by , August 13th, 2009 at 05:32 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    No exercise to report. However, I did expend a tremendous amount of mental energy reading an article in the latest Rowing News magazine. It set forth highlights from the meeting of the ACSM last May. I'm sure many of you have seen them, but if you haven't, here are some that caught my eye:

    1. Many athletes believe they need protein to build muscle. Yet a study showed that taking recovery protein (from Endurox or whatever) had no performance or muscle building advantages. I guess this is distinguishable, however, from its possible muscle recovery properties. This could be some of the research Jazz was alluding to when he announced that protein may not help build strength and changed his diet to exclude most protein, or at least meat.

    2. Fruits, berries and black currants have antioxidant and anti-inflammantory properties. Real shocker there.

    3. Actual food is more health protective than supplements. Q and Jazz say this all the time!

    4. Almonds are awesome, particularly pre-exercise. Must be why Quicksilver munches them at his desk while sipping green tea ...

    5. Athletes who exercise in the heat should hyper-hydrate, but make sure their sport drink contains a substantial amount of sodium.

    6. Man athletic trainers use pickle juice to treat cramps. SwimmerGirlKT mentioned this on her blog awhile ago. Some report that 1-2 ounces can relieve cramping in seconds. The actual mechanism for this is illusive and indeterminate.

    7. Chocolate milk is a good recovery drink. Wow, who'd a thunk?

    8. Glutamine reportedly enhances recovery, yet a study comparing beverages with and without glutamine during and after exercise did not confirm this.

    9. During exercise, an energy bar, sport drink or gel are all pretty much equally effective.

    10. Exercise apparently improves learning based on studies done with younger children.

    11. And check this out:

    "Many youth swimmers spend hours training for relatively short competitive events. A six-week study with 9-12 year olds suggests high intensity/low volume training offers the same benefits as lower intensity/high volume training."

    So don't burn young kids out! Wonder how this applies going forward as the pre-teens age?

    Updated August 13th, 2009 at 05:58 PM by The Fortress

  16. The pool is being cleaned until Monday...

    but that is just an excuse for not swimming a hard work out. There are other place I could go. I really can't say what the problem is except like a pouty child I am stubbornly crossing my arms and saying "I don't want to!" "So there!". The only thing I know left to do that might break the spell is to set a goal and tell me, myself and you that "I pomise to go to the pool on Monday when it reopens." I hope this breaks the spell. I do know that in the past when I wrote it down in this here blog/ made it happen... Hope it works...

    What I have been doing is

    whitewater kayaking at the whitewater center. I gotta get ready for the Gualey River that runs with a big festival in West Virginia the months of Sept. and Oct. It is a beauty of a place up there, but if I don't prepare it could swallow me up.
    I have been studying and training to become an Advanced Open Water Diver. Even though I have now recieved this certificate I still have mucho to learn.
    Been diving off wrecks in the North Carolina Coast. This was awesome... and diving oysters in the Quarry! The Oyster Dive is an event where about two hundred divers showed up and we went treasure hunting for orange painted oyster that were worth nice prizes like dive trips, regulators, BCD's and other neat stuff.
    This weekend if the weather allows we are off to the coast to see another wreck on the botton of the sea.

    But my biggest regret is my swimming seems to be slipping so...
    So with a hand shake I say to you...
    "I flippergirl promise to swim a good work out on Monday."
  17. Saturday's Bobs

    by , August 29th, 2009 at 06:23 PM (Swimming, Life, and Other Stuff!)
    A.M. swim at FPAC. It was COLD and cloudy this morning. I know this is a good thing w/ Big Shoulders coming up but sometimes it just takes me awhile to jump in.
    I had a good swim today. I felt strong and smooth the whole workout. I have been feeling snarky since nationals and even considered not doing Big Shoulders. It's looking like the water will be cold. I've done a 5k in 68 degrees (that was fine), but when I hear it could be in the 50's I feel weak and scared.
    It's times like this when my best advice to myself is "just shut up and swim!."
    Here's my LCM workout today:

    I'll call this "sets of 500's" (each 500 set on 9:30 interval)
    *500 Free swim
    *2 X 250 Free swim
    *500 Free swim
    *5 X 100 Free on 1:45 (pushing it lcm!)
    *500 Free swim
    *10 X 50 Free (cheated and did on 1:00 interval)
    *500 Free Swim
    3,500 LCM (all free, no fins or paddles)

    My shoulder/neck is feeling much better. I selected 3 exercises off u-tube a week or so ago and have been doing them A.M. and P.M. Good results.
    I had lunch out with Sarah W. We went shopping this afternoon for teacher clothes. She is doing a semester of cadet teaching with 5th graders and needed a couple outfits that were not jeans. She is unable to run (due to knee issues) so I didn't go to the XC meet today.
    I was glad to get the workout in, but I really missed my weekly fix of watching her run!!!
  18. World Premier

    by , September 3rd, 2009 at 05:14 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    [ame=""]YouTube - Ocean City Selkie[/ame]
  19. Another dover day

    We (Terry Laughlin, Willie Miller, Steve Shtab, Lance Ogren, Mike from near chicago, but i can't remember his last name, and I) planned to meet up for a 10:30 AM swim. Lots of swimmers were already there including 2 soloists from the channel islands, a 6 person double relay from Iceland and a few others that were already in the water. Its a beautiful day, but damn windy with 2-3 foot waves in the harbor. The talk is about weather anyone will have a chance to go out before tuesday (zoiks! tuesday!). We go for a swim... a standard loop with an exra out and back parallel to the north seawall where the waves are the highest... its a washing machine but lots of fun. I know I wouldn't hesitate to go out in these conditions, though the perods on the boat between swims would be less than pleasant.

    At lunch, Terry and I decide to swim again at 5:30.

    We are all hoping for a break in the weather so some of those soloists can get a shot at their crossing.
  20. Bobinator, Wet and Dry: an Introduction

    by , September 10th, 2009 at 04:39 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    1. Preamble to Introduction

    A couple years back, I used to write a column for National Geographic Adventure magazine that I called "Oddventures." The idea was for me to go out and experience various eccentric activities--from powered paragliding to jet-skiing to Siberia, swimming through a feeding frenzy of sharks to blowgun monkey hunting in the jungles of Equador.

    Your standard kind of participatory journalistic fare.

    One time they sent me to set my own personal land-speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats during the annual summer "Speed Week."

    When I was checking into my hotel in Elko, Nevada, home of Floyd "Poolrat" Fisk (who is rumored to be very fond of his tomahawk, but that is an entirely different story), there was this somewhat seedy road person sitting on one of the lobby couches, looking weary and in need of a shower.

    After I checked in, the fellow asked me if there was any spare room in my room. He was pushing 60, had weather-beaten skin, wore glasses and was smaller than me but appeared wiry in a way that signaled sans doute he could beat me up. He spoke with a very pronounced New Zealand accent, something that had not yet been popularized domestically by the arrival of The Flight of the Conchords. If anything, he seemed the sort who might shoot Mauris for fun.

    Anyhow, I let him stay.

    The next morning, when we woke up on our respective twin beds, I said, "Thank god I'm still alive. Don't take this the wrong way, but I was a little worried you might be a serial killer."

    He chortled New Zealandly and replied, "I was a little worried you might be a serial rapist."

    Tony Jones turned out to be an extremely nice guy and lifelong race car aficionado who helped me in innumerable ways with the story itself and later when I had to put the fear of bodily harm into a fraudulent stock broker in Salt Lake City who had stolen a bunch of money from my recently dead aunt.

    Over the years, Tony has managed to track me down several times in various parts of the US and freeload in an utterly charming way, what the New Zealanders might themselves call "brilliant."

    I have patterned myself after him.

    2. Introduction to Today's Film

    In the world of masters swimming, a generally (but not always) affluent sport, the very first freeloadee that I had to convince I was not a serial rapist is everybody's favorite FAF sister, Leslie the Fortress Livingston.

    As some of you may know, Leslie has let me stay at her guest house--I use the "her" here in jest, for I have stayed so often that laws applying to squator's tenancy are by now so much in play that calling the guest house "ours" is even risible. Virtually every legal scholar I've hired conclude that I now own the guest house outright. Of course, given the generosity that Leslie expressed to me in the past when I was propertyless myself, now that I am landed, I would not think of turning her away unless I really, really have need for some solitude!

    Enough tortious technicality.

    This arrangement has actually worked very well, at least for me. There are virtually no USMS meets in the Sewickley area, so if I want to try to make the Top 10, the closest opportunities are in the D.C. area, many held in the George Mason University pool. That's why owning a guest house within a few miles of this facility has been such a boon.

    Leslie gets a lot out of this arrangement, too. I don't mean to be putting words into her mouth, but one example I know she will agree with is that she is much less tempted into overeating during my frequent homecomings. The reason: I take way more than my fair share of the community food. Ah, let's not mince words here. I eat like a rutting swine.

    A win-win.

    Which, alas, brings us to the problem of last summer's Long Course Nationals in Indianapolis. This is a drivable distance for me, but the prospect of having to actually pay for a room when I got there made any chance of attending pretty much impossible. I desperately needed to find a Leslie the Fortress Livingston Midwest.

    The thought that there might be, in all of Christendom, another woman a fraction as saintly in her generosity as Leslie seemed, at first glance, so ludicrous as to make me ignore even trying to find one.

    Most women in USMS, being toned babes with very high gorgeosity , or G Factor, already have husbands or boyfriends who are able to provide them with the one other extraordinary athletic talent that I am gifted with beyond swimming with an almost preternatural slow grace: yes, you guessed my other talent, that.

    I suppose it is possible that some lingerie model, miserably lonely because she isignored by men who consider themselves way below her league, might need the likes of me to remedy her loneliness. But in Indianapolis?

    As luck would have it, I found the best of all possible worlds in the person of today's film subject: Robin "The Bobinator" Walker, a former 2:47 marathoner, mother of a professional skateboarder, kindergarten teacher with more G Factor than you can shake at thick stick at, and a very likable boyfriend who appears to suffer fools gladly.

    Many of you know Bobinator from her posts and blog. In today's film, I attempt to alternate between the swimming and the general living Bobinator in her domestic element.

    3. Dramatis Personae
    in order of appearance:

    Bobinator.......Robin Walker
    Disembodied Voice......Jim Thornton
    Emma, Mayor of the Bobinator's Household.....Emma
    Silver Medalist....Bill White assortment of USMS swimmers and functionaries

    4. Final Note

    This is the first of a planned series of short films from LCM Nats. Please check back for more soon, including the highly titillating Stephanie, Megan, and Jim Sandwich (snippets of which appeared in Ocean City Selkie.)

    Note: I just noticed that I spelled Bobinator wrong on YouTube. Sorry, Bob. Think of Bobintor as a shortened endearative, and thanks once again for a spectacular degree of generosity that has you in the running for this year's Jimmy Award.

    Leslie, if you are reading/watching this vlog, you best be on your toes come Sprint Classic Time if you hope to hoist another Jimmy atop "our" mantelpiecein 2009!

    [ame=""]YouTube - Bobintor: Wet and Dry[/ame]
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